Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Monday, January 29, 2007

The next Zionist revolution -- Steinberg, Jerusalem Post (as published)

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/next-zionist-revolution-steinberg.html

The next Zionist revolution
Gerald Steinberg, THE JERUSALEM POST  Jan. 29, 2007
 
 
The first Zionist revolution, led by Theodor Herzl and his colleagues, was hugely successful. The reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was and continues to be necessary for the survival of the Jewish people and culture in the modern world.

But there is no denying the obvious failures: Ahad Ha'am's call for a spiritual and moral renaissance has not been heeded, and the State of Israel is far from being the model of moral behavior or the "light unto the nations" that was envisioned. The scandals involving the president and other public figures are absurd, traumatic and embarrassing.

There are many explanations for the numerous incidents of corruption and immorality among Israeli leaders and public officials. No one and no sector is immune - secular humanists or ultra-orthodox rabbis; Ashkenazi or Sephardi; veteran sabras or new immigrants; men or women.

One undeniable contributing factor is stress from the constant wars and terror that devour much of our society's energy. It is difficult to turn your attention to internal reform when you are struggling for physical survival. But bad and corrupt leadership can lead to disaster on that front as well, as the recent war with Hizbullah demonstrated.

In addition, an antiquated electoral system encourages corruption and mediocrity among public officials, driving away the best and the brightest. And it is important not to underestimate the challenge of instilling norms of ethical government in a population of refugees. For many the Western liberal concept of separating the private realm from the public one, though long part of the Jewish code of ethics, is foreign.

The Second Zionist Revolution will have to reverse this situation and  invest far more in promoting the moral and ethical principles of the Jewish prophetic tradition - in contrast to the kings and priests of the First and Second Temples, whose behavior was no better than that of the current group.

THIS PROCESS must take place from both the top down: from the religious and secular political leadership, and from the bottom up - in the family (which remains largely intact in Israel) and the school system.

It will not be easy or quick, requiring the creation of new institutions based on transparency, due process and mutual respect, including an end to sexual harassment and other forms of exploitation. On this basis an entirely new generation of leaders must be encouraged to enter public service.

The responsibility for leading the process falls on all dimensions of society. While many Israeli journalists, academics, writers, artists, film makers and other public figures have claimed the mantle of the Prophets and imitate the fiery biblical rhetoric, it is often wasted on false prophecies, including "solutions" to the Palestinian conflict or baseless attacks against religious or secular groups.

In parallel, much of the religious leadership has focused on divisive and political causes and false messiahs. In order to play a leading role in the Second Zionist Revolution these public figures will need to focus their attention on the crucial, internal, societal issues that cut across all sectors and groups.

IN THIS process, Diaspora Jewry, a partner in so many aspects of Israeli life, can play an important supporting role. Unfortunately, for many years, Jewish donors based in North America and Europe have also selected the wrong objectives, providing huge amounts of money to support their own agendas rather than core Israeli needs.

For example, many confuse the conflict between Israeli Arabs and Jews with the Civil Rights movement in the US during the 1950s and 60s, in which they participated. Many of the fringe groups they fund promote radical causes and the replacement of Israel by a "state of all of its people" - in other words, the dismantling of the accomplishments of the first Zionist movement. This money should instead be provided to workable programs that promote the real needs of Israeli civil society, including public ethics, transparency in government, a revamped police force based on due process and similar principles.

The funds provided by generous Diaspora Jews to religious institutions and education in Israel should also be used to support programs promoting ethical standards. In Israel, the mix of religion, politics and public funding is highly corrupting, while the moral authority of the religious leadership is essentially non-existent. Foreign donations made "off the books" to avoid taxes reinforces the norms of illegality. (The corruption and harassment that characterize government tax offices do not encourage altruistic behavior.)

By supporting programs that encourage moral leadership among rabbis and educators, world Jewry can help Israeli society to a much-needed new beginning.

But, as Israeli citizens, we are responsible for the heavy lifting in the Second Zionist Revolution. As in our army service, the war against corruption and immorality in public life will require personal involvement and sacrifice across the board in all sectors of society.

In contrast to Herzl and the leaders of the first Zionist revolution, we are already here and do not need to meet in foreign capitals, or plead for the assistance of potentates in the Ottoman or British empires.

Our fate and future are now entirely our own responsibility.

(The writer is director of the program on conflict management and negotiation at Bar-Ilan University.)


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/next-zionist-revolution-steinberg.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory