Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Hebrew Republic, In Formation

Do not miss this article, and while you are reading it, listen to this stunning song by Yehudit Ravitz--it is about a great passion--and try to figure out all of the musical idioms it encompasses.


Y. Ben-David said...

I have not read Dr Avishai's book "The Hebrew Republic" but I have read many of his articles and blog postings to realize that he believes Israel's only hope is to transform the whole country into what is described in this article... a materialistic, hedonistic consumer-oriented society that emphasizes conspicuous consumption, where as they say in the article linked here "live for today", in other words "have a good time".
The current Israel, which Dr Avishai is seeking to transform, defines itself as a Jewish state, and the religious minority does have some input on how the country is run (for example, buses don't run on Saturday as is pointed out in the article), although this influence has been declining over the years. Dr Avishai believes that if Israel will purge itself of its "Jewish" identity, it will somehow become more acceptable to its Arab neighbors. He provides two reasons for this..(1) Israeli Arabs who feel only partially accepted in Israeli society due to its self-definition of being "Jewish" would somehow feel more accepted in the secular "Hebrew" state, and
(2) Arab propaganda in both the Palestinian territories and the neighboring Arab states is infused with virulent antisemitic images. Dr Avishai apparently believes that if the state stops calling itself "Jewish", the Arabs will stop fearing its "Jewish" characteristics, and will respond positively to the secular, materialist, consumerist society he aspires to.
Unfortunately, none of this will work. Regarding integration of the Israeli Arabs into a secular "Hebrew" state is just as problematic as their current relationship with the "Jewish" state. The Middle East is Arabic in culture and largely Islamic in religion. A secular "Hebrew" state is neither and is just as alien as the present "Jewish" state. The fact is that the econonmic and cultural power structure in Israel is almost completely secular already, and if it has not as yet absorbed the Israeli Arabs (largely because of the ongoing hostility of the Arab world to Israel), arbitrarily redefining Israel's identity is not really going to change anything.

Secondly, although Dr Avishai and other Israeli "progressives" find it difficult to understand it, the fact is that the Israeli and other Arabs of the Middle East are much closer in their values to the Jewish "settlers" of Judea/Samaria than they are to the secular hedonists of "Hebrew" Tel-Aviv. This means they are much more family oriented and religious, less consumerist, emphasizing female modesty in dress and behavior, respectful to elders and "future" oriented in that there is great emphasis on teaching the younger generation values and skills for making a living rather than emphasizing "having a good time" and going to the beach to see scantily-clad girls. Their society also emphasizing on making due with what one has in a materialist sense, as opposed to the insatiabile consumerism promosted in Western culture by advertising which is always become more and more invasive in television, movies, internet, magazines, etc.

This secular Hebrew state would be perceived as MORE a threat by the bulk of the Arab world than the existing "Jewish" state because its values are much closer to theirs. The secular "Hebrew" state is seductive and professes values in direct opposition to those I listed above...disrespect for tradition (the article says how the "Hebrew" state is proud of its transvestite singers), disrespect for elders, disrespect for religion and creation of artificial frustration and unhappiness over never fulfilled, insatiable consumerist desires as I indicated.
Judaism is not a missionary religion. A truly "Jewish" state would live happily within the bounds it has. A materialist "Hebrew" state, which would emphasize constant economic aggrandizement and expansion would be a modern version of the Christian Crusader state that came to the Land of Israel in the 12th century. Christianity, unlike Judaism is a missionary religion, seeking to expand its influence and the number of its believers (or at least it was like that then), and the "Hebrew" state would likely be viewed the same way. Thus, Israel transforming itself into this "Hebrew Republic" would be a recipe for prolonging this already aged conflict, instead of reducing and ultimately ending it, as would be the case if Israel really returned to its authentic, 4000 year-old roots.

Anonymous said...

what you fail to understand in your verbiage is that the leftists and progressives are traitors and are consorting and aiding and abetting the enemy.
The book is a big failure! Fails in style and more importantly content.
Garbage in and garbage out!

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