Zionism: A Dichotomy

Zionism today faces a deep schism, stemming from its roots in both the secular and religious worlds. After it succeeded and Israel came to be, however, the religious and secular each wanted their own direction for our new home. The Zionists of today are the manifestation of that schism.

Some want a state for Jews, others want a Jewish state – two inherently different agendas.

Let’s first take a look at the religious approach to Zionism. Geopolitical advancement and the resulting policies in the name of religion need no justification outside of holy text. It says it, so it shall be. Hence why the right tends to be more religious; they believe with all of their heart that Jews are meant to inherit the land in and around the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Concessions are not even considered, for G_d has and will protect the people of the Book. All of Jerusalem is mandated to us by the Holiest of Holies, not half of it, not most of it. Religious Zionists justify their ideologies on the assertion that they do not endanger Israel and the Jewish people, even in their unwillingness to give up Jerusalem; they are acting out the will of G_d, the strongest protection the Jews have.

Secular Zionism erects its pillars from a moral agenda originating in the struggles of the Jewish people through an anthropological lens, attracting liberals and progressives – groups grounded in moral equality. Why should the Jewish people be subject to homelessness? After the Inquisition. After the pogroms. After the Holocaust. We shouldn’t be.

Secular Zionism’s tie is not to the land, but to the ideals of a free and independent people. Jerusalem is symbolic of the historical religious crusade against us that drove us to become unified, unique of any nation or religion.

Concessions on the liberal side of the spectrum are made out of morality, derived from the honed culture of equality the Jews have yearned for throughout history. They are also derived, ironically, out of a need for protection. If we give up some land, maybe even some of Jerusalem, we will have peace, security, and a Jewish state. Given the first two conditions are met, a smaller home is still a home.

Israel’s purpose – lying at the nexus of the religious and secular spectrums – is predicated on the protection of Jews.

The essence of Zionism is not in a left or a right, but a mix of both. Having two parties working toward the same overall goal is the basis of any bicameral legislature; it is a balance of powers, a filter for unchecked unilateral decisions.

This balance enables Israel to be what it is today: a secular capital for a religious people – a compromise. It is the home for the Jewish people, as well as a Jewish home. Although many disagree with either half of that sentence, Israel is the only, and best home we have.

About the Author
Gefen was born in Los Angeles, California. He is currently attending UC Santa Barbara, where he is completing a double major in Political Science and Economics.
Related Topics
Related Posts