Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts
Volume 15, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5763/2003)
TORAH IS THEIR TRADE
David J. Schnall
In Israel today, the haredi world continues to condemn any recommendations to integrate into the army or the workforce and thus leave their religious studies. The non-haredi community, on the other hand, bears the brunt of military and reserve duty. This essay attempts to show that a balance between study and work values stands at the core of classic Jewish thought, and that it would be to the benefit of the haridim to become integrated into the broader Israeli society through military duty and assimilation into the workforce.
WAS THE JEWISH LABOR BUND
IN CZARIST RUSSIA
A "NATIONAL MOVEMENT"?
Studies on nineteenth and early twentieth-century nationalism have focused on state-seeking movements for the attainment of territorial sovereignty. While often referring to Herzlean Zionism as a typical example of nineteenth-century secular nationalism, the recent literature on nationalism makes no mention of the Jewish Labor Bund. By omission, these theoretical works reflect a consensus that the political program of the Bund, its own definition as a socialist party committed to class struggle, as well as the absence of territorial aspiration, places it outside the group of movements in Europe commonly known as "national." This essay examines the program and ideology of the Bund in light of the recent literature on nationalism and argues that the organization's demands for the Jews of Imperial Russia were consistent with the aims of other ethnic nationalism movements in fin-de-siecle eastern Europe.
ZIONISM AND ITS CRITIQUES
This essay demonstrates the factual shortcomings and ideological bias of political theories that attempt to delegitimize nationalism in general and Jewish nationalism in particular. Although nationalism does not need to be militaristic, romantic or fascist, it is generally vilified as such by prominent scholars, who try to show that nationalism is both an artificial and dangerous ideology - and thus an illegitimate phenomenon. Like other national movements, Zionism emerges from such an academic endeavor as an undesirable imposture. It is not surprising that "deconstructionist" theories of nationalism are exploited by the ideological enemies of the Jewish state but it is also ironical that the same people who make use of these theories to advance their political agenda are themselves declared nationalists.
INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY, NATIONALISM AND UNIVERSALISM IN THE RELIGIOUS-ZIONIST THOUGHT OF RABBI MOSHE AVIGDOR AMIEL
AND RABBI BEN-ZION MEIR HAI UZIEL
Rabbi Amiel and Rabbi Uziel were outstanding Torah scholars of the twentieth century identified with religious Zionism. Both were universalistic thinkers. Yet while Rabbi Uziel emphasized humanistic Jewish nationalism as a part of the universalistic whole, Rabbi Amiel saw the combination between spiritual individualism and universalism as the core identity, according to the Torah. Rabbi Amiel was a strong critic of all the ideological trends of his day: capitalism and socialism, secular Zionism, and anti-Zionism. Even his own movement fell under his harsh judgment. In contrast, Rabbi Uziel's important contribution was his positive outlook on issues such as the status of women, the authority of the Israeli secular parliament, and the like. Their vision was of a religious Zionism that sees deep commitment to Torah as a basis for creating a just society for everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike.
JEWISH AND CONTEMPORARY ORIGINS OF ISRAELI HASBARA
Their negative image has become a major concern for Jews and Israelis. Standard arguments such as "reversal image of David and Goliath," Israeli democracy as a news gathering heaven, and split in freely expressed political views as opposed to Arab/Palestinian monolithic control, cannot explain properly the extent of Israeli helplessness in terms of image management. This article argues that the roots of Israeli "hasbara" [a positive sounding synonym for "propaganda"] lay deep in Jewish history and the Zionist stage of Jewish history was not able to make a fundamental change. This article analyzes the various attitudes towards hasbara and outlines the deeper changes that Israel should internalize as a vital preliminary step towards utilization of effective propaganda.
THE SACRIFICE OF THE SONS:
FRAMING A MEDIA PSEUDO-EVENT
Mira Moshe and Ruth Amir
The 2003 election campaign was highlighted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's press conference in response to a leak regarding an ongoing police investigation. The live broadcast was cut off by the chairman of the Central Election Committee, Judge Mishael Cheshin. The judge's argument was that the speech was unlawful since it contained political propaganda. This brought to the fore the symbolic relationships between fathers and their offspring in politics.
This essay analyzes the political interaction between Ariel Sharon and his sons since his election as head of Likud in 1999 and through his premiership in 2001 and during the 2003 campaign. We offer an interpretive analysis based on the biblical text and on Shoham's mytho-empirical model of the Akedah - the sacrifice of the sons. According to this model there is a symbiotic relationship between the authoritative father and the metaphysical source of absolute authority. Paternal victimization of sons leads to the separation inherent in the integration of the maturing child into the accepted normative framework of society. In our case, the issue at stake is the sacrifice of the son's future political career for that of their father's, or perhaps the father and sons sacrificing one another.
IS JERUSALEM BEING "JUDAIZED"?
Justus Reid Weiner
The Palestinian leadership, various non-governmental organizations and even foreign governments frequently confront the municipality of Jerusalem (as well as Israel's national government) over its purported policy of "Judaizing" Jerusalem. The allegation leveled is that an unacknowledged policy is in place to change the holy city's demographic balance to the detriment of the Arabs. There is, however, no clear historical evidence to support these claims. Moreover, although the Jewish population has roughly doubled since 1967, when the then-divided city was reunited under Israeli sovereignty, the number of Arab residents has nearly tripled. Despite complaints of discrimination, every year thousands of Arab from the Palestinian areas choose to make Jerusalem their home. Thus is it reasonable to ask - why the constant hue and cry regarding "Judaization"? Is historical ignorance so widespread as to facilitate repeated, outrageously false claims? Are these allegations simply another convenient rhetorical weapon that can be mobilized against the Jewish state? Or might it be that the demographic shift isn't taking place fast enough for Israel's critics?