Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Dead in Israel

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/2/10

Of the four Jews who were murdered in Israel last week three were members of Manhigut Yehudit, a group of deeply religious Jews who are part of a leadership group in Israel with, in their words, “authentic Jewish values.” Like most of the religious groups in Israel, the mainstream press constantly refers to them as the “extreme right wing.” They do that here as well with deeply religious groups like Southern Baptists and Mormons. But as Hillary and President Obama meet today in a re-branding exercise about Israel’s appointed role in globalization, a good number of Israelis have well moved pass Clinton-era foreign policy and are waiting for a new paradigm. And Jews are probably better at waiting than anyone on earth.

The problem with the Obama administration from the first is that he brings only himself to his administration. He is a charmed and engaging man so that is without question the best part of this administration. But unlike the Kennedy and Reagan periods, which brought change elements to our time, be brings no original ideas. And no original people. So no one expected to see any new faces when Israelis and Palestinians “resumed talks” in Washington this week. The stage for this current meeting was set when Joe Biden was announced to be vice president. Joe Biden? Didn’t I already not vote for him 20 years ago?

The Obama period is a period of rest; a period of completion and contemplation. After this, the Bidens and the Clintons and the Netanyahus and Mahmoud Abbas can all go together wherever they go to retire. Oak Bluffs, maybe. Unlike Siddhartha, they have never left their castles to see the world awaken around them. They bring their castles with them. But what a stark contrast the Israel of past generations presents to the Israel of today.

Since the rebirth of Israel there have been at least three generational levels of identification. But a new generation is awakening and the Jews murdered on the road to Beit Hagai speak to it. Netanyahu, with what he calls “my partner in peace” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, probably does not.

But what legitimate purpose can there be in returning from exile to Israel if not to pray at Temple Mount? Where did the British Foreign Office get legitimate authority to will the region over to Jews? Where the UN? Where Bill Clinton? (Bono? Elvis Costello? Lady Gaga?) Where indeed. From this perspective legitimacy can only come from here: “That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” Deuteronomy 30:3.

“The Torah does not explain how we will reach the conclusion that we must return to Jewish political life that will fulfill the promise ‘And all the nations of the world will see that God's Name is called upon you,’” writes Michael Fuah, who speaks for Manhigut Yehudit. “On this Rosh Hashanah, let us all pray that we will find the way to return to God on a national level with our own free will and joy in our hearts.”

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