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Jewish Idealism vs. Zionist Realism

Ha’aretz’s Yair Sheleg gives a smart and succinct summation of what Israel’s disgruntled far-rightists, far-leftists and ultra-Orthodox fundamentally have in common:

The Zionist revolution had many different enemies from the start – a coalition of ultra-Orthodox and Reform Jews and socialist revolutionaries, who had difficulty relinquishing the devotion to spiritual matters for a state like all other states. The problem is that this attitude still characterizes Zionism and Israel to this day. People on the left, right and even the ultra-Orthodox community are finding it hard to give up the unique Jewish devotion to ideal and spiritual considerations and deal with the difficult, compromising decisions required of a nation state.

The right wing wants us to stick to the land’s holiness and ignore every realistic demographic or foreign policy consideration. The left wants to adhere to “Jewish morality” and ignore every realistic consideration of protecting Israeli citizens. The ultra-Orthodox see the Zionist revolution itself as a desecration of the proper Jewish pyramid.

They all, however, want to share the fruits of Zionism – having Israel as their national home – without paying the price, which would mean compromising their values.

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