Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Questionable Organization

I have just heard of a group called Tzionut Datit Realit (Realistic Religious Zionism) and I just took a few minutes to read up on them.

Two major issues bother me about this organization.
Their mission statement includes the following (from their website):

“We hereby call upon the Religious Zionist public to recognize the necessity of relinquishing our rule over the Territories and to turn its efforts to dealing with the urgent problems affecting Israeli society in general, and the religious public in particular."

"We hereby call upon every Religious Zionist Jew, who is touched by our words, who desires the renewal of the authentic spirit of Religious Zionism, who is anxious for the future of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth, and who holds dear the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people – to join us in a shared effort for the reshaping of Religious Zionism”

First of all, I don't understand why they have the need to take a stand on relinquishing our control over YESHA in the same breath as the need to refocus the communal discourse and attention on essential Jewish values to improve Israeli society? One is not connected to the other! The need to refocus communal discourse to include other extremely important issues is a totally seperate issue, one that I totally agree with, but it does not mean that our community must distance itself from our right to live in all of Eretz Yisrael.

If the communal discourse is the burning issue for them they could have stated as follows:
“We hereby call upon the Religious Zionist public to increase its efforts to dealing with the urgent problems affecting Israeli society in general, and the religious public in particular.”

But they don’t state that.

The fact that they believe in this connection is a huge red flag for me.

As I mentioned in my last email, the mistake of the dati leumi community is not the attention it has given to the Land of Israel issue, but the neglect of all other issues.

Without this stand of theirs I would be a supporter of their organization.

Once I saw that this is an essential part of their plaform I was interested in looking up what groups financially support their activities and I visited the New Israel Fund website. This leads me to the second issue that bothers me - that this organization gets funds from the New Israel Fund - a problematic philanthropy with regards to Israel.

New Israel Fund website on Tzionut Datit Realit

Problems with the New Israel Fund and it's philanthropy vis a vis Israel:

An article on the Ford foundation and it's recipient groups including the NIF

An article on the partnership between the Ford foundation and the NIF

I wholeheartedly agree with the dire need to reintroduce other Jewish values into the daily communal discourse in order for the Dati Leumi community to influence Israeli society on these issues, not instead of, but in addition to the Land of Israel issue. I do not believe in dividing one Jewish value from all the others. That is why I support Manhigut Yehudit which is for stregthening all Jewish values in Israeli society and not just the ones that the New Israel Fund supports.


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