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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 31, 2003

The Secular state of Israel?

With Shinui's big win (third place largest party) there is momentum to implement many secular ideas into the Jewish country.

The long-term question is "are you sure a secular Israel is a good idea?"

Isn't Israel a Jewish state and isn't Judaism a religion?

I fear turning Israel into a secular state falls right into the hands of their enemies.

Israel without a Jewish character to it would be like the lion with no heart, meaningless.

Many non-religious respect religious people and understand its vital importance within Israel, and I do think compromise and unity over such issues are more cogent than 'our way or the highway' on either side.

There is a old myth that religious people do not serve in the IDF. This is of course false and harmful to spread. Religous men do serve in the army and in a wide spectrum of services. Many provide support services specifically in the emergency aid field such as ambulances.

Last year during the raid on Jenin I read a first hand account diary of the assault from a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic soldier. Jenin War Diary of a Chabad Chassid By Sergeant Major Rami Meir.

Secular states always remind me of communism and Israel is already a heavily european style left-wing country, I don't see a secular state turning out in the best interests of Israel as Israel being the Jewish homeland.

If Israel does become secularized what will differentiate it from other countries? I know that is the goal of the secularists, they want Israel to be similar to other countries but they must understand that is not a wise goal for Israel. The reason being that Israel as a non-religious Jewish country similar to most other secular countries will devoid itself of its original intent and purpose, the Jewish homeland for Jewish people and a world-wide refuge and safe-haven for oppressed Jews the world over.

There has been and is great debate within Israel and elswhere to "who is a Jew?" A low standard for this helps no one. Secularists will bring a low standard to this test.

The secularists growth is due to Israel's growth as a technology leader and oftimes prosperous nation. Secularists from a American perspective can be seen as yuppies. These are not the middle Americans once a year to church types these are the anti-religious center types who care more about their immediate futures and wealth than any greater purpose more like American celebrities or the Left-wing anti-religious.

What distinguishes Israel as the Jewish homeland is what makes it great. Judaism is a living religion that permeates all aspects of one's life. People should not be forced to comply, but respect for other's observance is just as equally important.

Just as Israel houses and accomodates many religions so too should the secular learn to accept and accomodate the religious Jews who only add to the strength of their country.

Hopefully it will never come to the point where the Israeli soldiers will be fighting to retain secular values. Instead the Israeli soldiers fighting to retain Jewish values for all Israelis is a much greater, important, and real long-term rallying cry.

Whether you are religious or not retaining the religious nature of Israel is worth fighting for to maintain the original intent, purpose, authenticity, and quality of Israel for its long future.