Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Wrong Idea

A MK has stated in writing that it is not the Israeli governments responsibility to encourage the religious practices of Jews within its’ borders. Okay, I think I understand the concept, especially coming as it is from a member of the Shinui Party, but I think it shows how Shinui is off base in the general understanding of what Israel is, or perhaps is supposed to be.

The party is a centrist, strictly secular/anti-religious, party. They believe that the Israeli Government has not business in the religion business. They also seem to believe that long standing policies, such allowing ‘ultra-orthodox’ yeshiva students to ‘avoid’ military service, are the way to improve Israel.

I am not a supporter of the Shinui Party. (Hardly a surprise I suppose if you have read the beginning of this post.) I do not necessarily disagree with all of the things that they propose, but I do have a problem with the idea that the government of Israel should not be involved in religion. The whole point of Israel, in my opinion, is to promote Judaism and to insure our survival as a people. To say that the government should not “encourage Jewish repentance and participation in Yom Kippur prayers” is showing this lack of understanding of both what Israel should/could be and what we should/could be. The problem is that so many Jews have allowed the secular world to convince us that we should be like everyone else; that many of us are thinking and behaving like we actually believe it. As I have stated in various other places, I am not the most religious person in terms of my practice, I am struggling with my level of observance and a number of issues that are complicating my situation at this time. But I firmly believe that the religiosity of our people is at a point of decision, and that statements and decisions like this one by Shinui represent the further denigration of both Israel as a refuge and homeland for our people and Judaism’s long-term health.

Arutz Sheva

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