Professor Paul Eidelberg
June 20, 2009
Israel is rotting in politics. So must it be before Israel’s eventual ascendancy as a light unto the nations. The seed must rot before the flower emerges.
One does not have to be a political scientist to smell the odor of politics. Political scientists merely affirm the commonplace when they define politics as a struggle for power, a lust for self-aggrandizement. We all know that this lust is couched in honorific terms, like “democracy” or “peace” or the “common good.” We know that politicians manipulate the unwary, mislead them by spin or misleading language—even outright mendacity. We see this in America, we see this in Israel.
Although democracy doesn’t have a monopoly of disinformation, money and the mass media have trashed Jeffersonian democracy, which was supposed to foster reason and rational debate. America has lost its bearings. What about Israel?
Unlike America, founded on Judeo-Christian ideas and values, Israel was founded on a truncated form of Zionism—“secular” Zionism. But Zionism can’t be secular without eviscerating original “Zion,” which involves three interrelated ideas: (1) the People of Israel, (2) the Land of Israel, and, most emphatically (3) the Torah of Israel. This third idea had no role in the reestablishment of the State of Israel. It may well be argued that the founders of the state, who wanted to create a “new Jew,” wanted to relegate Judaism not merely to the home and the synagogue, but to the dust heap of history.
Indeed, if Israel had as its leaders, when the Second Temple was destroyed, secular Zionists like David Ben-Gurion, Shimon Peres, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Jewish people would have become as extinct as the dodo. No serious person will dispute the fact—affirmed even by Ben-Gurion—that it was the Torah that preserved the Jewish people during two thousand years of dispersion, torture, and decimation.
Nevertheless, the secularists Zionists—mostly socialists—who founded the State of Israel thought they could dispense with the Torah. We see the results: their political descendants—not only the “post-Zionists”—are willing to abandon Israel’s heartland, Judea and Samaria, as well as the 300,000 Jews who live on this land. Hence, they are willing to amputate the first and second ideas of “Zion”!
Still, one sometimes hears voices from the “Right,” including the Likud Party, that deplore the abandonment of Zionism, without realizing that this began with the abandonment of the Torah. It’s important to recognize that secular Zionism died some sixteen years before Prime Minister Netanyahu buried it at Bar-Ilan University, once a stronghold of religious Zionism.
Politics in Israel is therefore devoid of any ideology, of any distinctively Jewish national goal. This can be most promising, provided Israel awakens to the fact that the death of Zionism is a logical consequence of the flawed foundations of the State. As mentioned on previous occasions, and as may be seen in the first sentence of its Declaration of Independence, Israel’s reestablishment was based on the territorial nationalism of nineteenth-century Europe—Europe, where the nation-state is succumbing to the multiculturalism and internationalism also manifested by post-Zionism! Irony of ironies, this is why a secularist like Netanyahu supports the territorial surrender involved in the “two-state solution” initiated by post-Zionist Shimon Peres.
Let us not despair. Israel is shedding what was at best a make-shift ideology—the secular Zionism that contributed to Israel’s physical redemption. Needed is Israel’s spiritual redemption, and this is coming. Never has there been so many Jews returning to the Torah; never so many yeshivas. A veritable renascence is taking place in the study of Jewish law, revealing its great rationality and relevance.
Meanwhile, a convergence of science and Torah has been taking place with every advance in astronomy, physics, and molecular biology. “The Science of God” is the title of two books; “God and the new cosmology” the title of another; “God and the new physics” still another. Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis refuted Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion twenty years before that tract of Darwinian fundamentalism was published. But this is not all.
Consider what is happening in the United States. At last the U.S. has a president that dispels the stultifying illusion that Israel’s salvation depends on America. This will prompt more Jews to turn to God.
But what about that bizarre pro-Muslim president? That a man long associated with anti-American malcontents and scoundrels, a man who, according to Islamic law is a Muslim—and, so far as we know, he may not even be an American—that this man was elected president of the United States signifies that democratic politics is intellectually and morally bankrupt and that America—short of a spiritual revolution—is approaching its nadir as a Judeo-Christian nation.
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America was the model of mankind. Its decline is a precondition for the eventual ascendancy of Israel. This will be hastened by Islamism, whose spearhead is Iran. Iran’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map” should be understood not simplistically as a manifestation of Jew-hatred but as a dim foreboding—now of universal scope—that the future belongs to Israel.
© 2009 Paul Eidelberg - All Rights Reserved
Internationally known political scientist, author and lecturer, Eidelberg is the founder and president of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy with offices in Jerusalem.
Prof. Eidelberg served in the United States Air Force where he held the rank of first lieutenant. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago. He designed the electronic equipment for the first brain scanner at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.
Before immigrating to Israel in 1976, Prof. Eidelberg wrote a trilogy on America’s founding fathers: The Philosophy of the American Constitution, On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence, and a Discourse on Statesmanship.
In 1976 he joined the faculty of Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He has written several books on the Arab-Israel conflict and on Judaism. Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy analyses the mentality of Israel’s ruling elites. Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall, which has been translated into Hebrew and Russian, reveals the flaws inherent in Israel’s system of governance and how they may be remedied. A Jewish Philosophy of History investigates the world-historical events leading to the rebirth of Israel in 1948.
His latest publication, The Myth of Israeli Democracy, provides an abbreviated version of a Constitution which shows how to make Israel a genuine democracy based on a Jewish conception of freedom and equality.
is on the Advisory Council of the Ariel Center for Policy Research,
which has published many of his policy papers. In addition to writing
more than 1,000 articles for newspapers and scholarly journals in the
U.S. and Israel, he has a weekly program on Israel
Prof. Eidelberg has been lecturing throughout Israel and the United States. He conducts seminars on constitutions, diverse parliamentary electoral systems, Jewish law, and related topics at the Jerusalem center of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.
Web site: Foundation for Constitutional Democracy