I overheard a comment in a conversation last week that really riled me.
The person said that the occurrence of unnecessary deaths like that of Dafna Meir (the woman who was murdered in her home by a teen terrorist a few weeks ago) “are
part of the reason I am anti-Zionist.
part of the reason I am anti-Zionist.
You pretend to honor her sacrifice, but really you revel in her death. I would prefer she were still alive, and I’d sacrifice some piece of dirt for her life any day.”
In the ensuing conversation, the person said that “the Holocaust was caused by Zionism”; that the State of Israel may very well be the cause of the “next Holocaust”; and that “the safest thing for Jews to do is to live inconspicuously among the nations and to focus their lives around service of G‑d,” adding, “Galus is the life support of Klal Yisrael until Mashiach. Zionism is like prematurely taking the patient off life support. There is this momentary flailing around that seems like the patient is vibrant and alive, but that’s really just a bit of adrenaline rushing through the veins of a body in its death throes.”
Every once in a while, I write an article about which all my connections who live in Israel shout “Right on!” or “Exactly!” while many of my “galus” connections call me out for being overly Zionistic and acting like a reformed smoker in a cigar shop.
I am astounded that a thinking human with even a rudimentary background in history would think this way. Zionism caused the Holocaust? How dare you!
We should live inconspicuously among the nations? Really?
Our history for the last couple thousand years says otherwise!
Massacre after massacre of Jewish communities doing exactly what you suggest. Greeks. Romans. Crusaders. Inquisitors. Cossacks. Arabs. The world has been wading in our blood for millennia—and most (if not all) of those massacred were simply living inconspicuously among their neighbors with lives focused on serving G‑d.
You think anti-Jewish sentiment (Arabs are also a Semitic people, so the term anti-Semitism is inaccurate) is a result of Zionism?
Are you kidding me?
Anti-Jewish sentiment has been around almost as long as we have been around as a people, not just the last 120 years since the beginning of Zionist thought, or even the 250 years since the advent of the Haskalah movement.
Galus is the life support of Klal Yisrael until Mashiach?
So our many ancestors who wrote about and personally strove to make aliyah and live in EretzYisrael were simply wrong?
Rishonim and Acharonim who wrote about the importance of living here, several of whom sacrificed everything for the chance to come to Israel and have the z’chus of living here, were wrong?
There is no special holiness to the land itself?
There is no reason to do your utmost to follow their example and endure hardship in an effort to attain the merit of YishuvHaAretz?
I have said this before, but it bears repeating.
The State of Israel is the single largest sponsor of Torah education in all of Jewish history, outside of G‑d Himself. Not only that, but there are currently more people “focusing their lives on service of G‑d” in Israel than at any other time since the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. Think about that for a second.
And back to the original thought that brought up the entire discussion:
the assertion that Dafna Meir’s murder is something that we “revel in” and that you would trade her life for any piece of “dirt.”
Where is your emunah?
Where is your understanding that we have to do our best and put our fate in the hand of G‑d?
Almost 10 years ago, I wrote about the fears I had in bringing my family to Israel. I wrote about my concerns for their welfare and safety. And I wrote about how the death of my friend Jay (an attorney who was tragically killed in a one-car crash on his way home from work, leaving his wife and children behind) helped me overcome those fears, fears which I still carry with me to this day.
My friend Jay died a tragic death. Why?
Because G‑d decided it was Jay’s time to go. We are all destined to die. And while we must do everything in our power to limit risk to ourselves and secure our safety, it is ultimately in G‑d’s hands whether or not we make it through the day and year. It is one of the main themes of the Yamim Nora’im, the fact that G‑d determines what will happen to us.
Dafna Meir was not killed by Zionism.
She was not killed because our existence in a neighborhood where all our neighbors despise us incited murderous plots.
She was killed because those who hate us will always hate us and seek our blood. Period.
And you, the person, living in the Five Towns, who prompted my ire, you are a self-deriding, self-justifying, apologetic “Diaspora Jew” who must criticize those who strive to achieve the Kedushah of EretzYisrael rather than face the truth in the mirror.
And that truth is simply this:
You revel in hating the State of Israel and the people who are Zionists because you are comfortable in your little cocoon of galus there in America.
While I understand that aliyah is not a practical possibility for everyone, I also know that it is a dream that we should all have. It should be painful for those who are in galus to celebrate the second day of chag on the yamim tovim.
It should be painful for those in galus to know that they are missing out on mitzvot of EretzYisrael (even if they are at this time not Torah obligations, but rabbinic).
It should be painful for you to only have Birkat Kohanim on chagim.
It should be painful not to be able to observe Shemittah, terumah, etc.
Your assertion that we have brought this upon ourselves is an affront to the memories of our ancestors and the thousands of people who volunteered to give their lives so that Jews could have a place where they could attempt to live free from persecution.
We may still be short of that goal, but at least we are trying. And I would rather do that than be like you and bury my head in the sand.
Shmuel Katz is the executive director of Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah (www.migdalhatorah.org), a new gap-year yeshiva. Shmuel, his wife Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July of 2006. Before making aliyah, he was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.