The History of Zionism & JudaismThis text is from an article called "An Open Letter" published in the Jewish magazine, "Hachoma". We think it provides a good historical overview of the history of Zionism and why the Zionist ideology is opposed by religious Orthodox Jews. The Jewish people, from its inception, has been unique by its identity as a religious entity.
Through the centuries its religious character had been a premise agreed upon by Jews and non-Jews alike. Our faith demands as the fundamental condition for recognition as a Jew, belief and adherence to the word of G-d, as was revealed to our forefathers on Mount Sinai. This is in itself, according to the tenets of the Jewish religion, sufficient to fulfill the definition of a Jew. Our religious and traditional history bears no aspect of racism. Hence, one of non-Jewish origin is capable of being proselytized and attaining the same status as a born Jew. Conversely, one of Jewish birth who does not recognize his being bound to the Jewish Torah, is by Jewish law a heretic, and therefore forfeits his spiritual birthrights as a Jew.
The purpose of the Jew is to bear witness to the existence of G-d, through his adherence to the Torah. The Al-mighty granted the Jews the land of Israel as the particular setting which would serve as the most conducive atmosphere to their performance of their duties to G-d.
The Jews in ancient times were banished from the land of Israel because they had failed to fulfill their obligations to the Al-mighty. Every Jew acknowledges this in his prayers (Umipnei Chatoeinu Golinu Meiartzeinu). They accepted the penalty of exile and were at that time expressed sworn by the Al-mighty not to accelerate their redemption on their own, and especially not to rebel against the nations under whose rule they were found. To the contrary, every Jew is commanded to pray for the peace and well being of the government of which he is the subject.
Through all the years of exile, pious Jews as individuals were attracted to reside in the Holy Land because of its innate holy character and the opportunity it offered for the observance of various precepts bound in the land.
Jews as a whole continue to pray that the Al-mighty return his Divine presence to the Land of Israel, by the coming of the Messiah, who will build His Temple, from whence will emanate Divine Wisdom and ultimate spiritual fulfillment of the entire human race.
Through the many years that Jews resided in the Holy Land for this purpose, they enjoyed tranquil and cordial relations with the non-Jewish population there.
The Zionist movement which was formed at the latter part of the last century, sought to endow the Jews with a nationalistic character which was heretofore strange to them. It sought to deprive them of their historically religious character and offered in substitution of faith in G-d and adherence to the Torah, and belief in their ultimate redemption by the coming of the Messiah, a nationalistic ideology and the possibility of establishing through political media, a Jewish national homeland.
During the period of the British Mandate, the Balfour Declaration
, which recognized the eventual possibility of founding a Jewish national homeland, in Palestine, was affirmed to be the British government. The Jewish Agency, who then was the Chief representative of Zionist interests in the Holy Land, was entrusted with the issuance of visas to the Holy Land, thus resulting in an increased Zionist immigration from various parts of the world, which ultimately succeeded in superceding in numbers, the veteran Orthodox dwellers.
Orthodox Jewry all over the world and the Orthodox Community in the Holy Land in particular, immediately sensed in this stage of Zionist success, the threat of grave danger for the religious future of Jews. The Arab inhabitants began to exhibit open hostility to their Jewish neighbors. The British government failed to distinguish between the Orthodox community, who for generations in habited the Holy Land, and the newly arrived Zionist immigrants.
With the acquisition by the Zionist nationalists of the power to organize communities in Palestine, they formed the Vaad Haleumi Leknesset Yisroel (National Jewish Council Committee). This committee ignored the rights of the Orthodox veteran dwellers who did not recognize this validity of Jewish nationality, and whose identification as Jews was solely with their loyalty to their religious heritage.
The religious inhabitants, on the other hand, shuddered at the prospects of spiritual disintegration of World Jewry, with the new rise to power of the Zionist nationalists.
The Orthodox inhabitants actively objected to being subject to the authority of the secularists. They appealed their cause to the League of Nations
, who consequently granted them a "Right of exclusion" to the subjugation to the Vaad Haleumi, which rights provided that any Jew wishing not to be incorporated into the Vaad Haleumi, may remain lawfully independent if he so stated his wish in writing. Thousands of Jews did so.
Such was the case until November 1948, when the United Nations
finally sanctioned the establishment of a Zionist State. We do not doubt that their success in finally realizing their goal was due in great measure to their having misled the world into viewing the Zionist cause as the Jewish cause
. The formation of the Zionist state resulted in the automatic deprivation of the autonomy heretofore possessed by the Orthodox inhabitants of the Holy Land.
The Zionists grasped in the acquisition of their new powers, the opportunity to openly disassociate themselves from any identification with Jews as a religion. They systematically began to orient the minds of their generations according to the tenets of Zionist nationalism. Through the Ministry of Religions they employed part of the Rabbinate
to assist them in their aims.
The religious Jews who by virtue of their faith, clearly contradicted Zionist nationalism, and who had lived peacefully with their Arab neighbors for generations, became unwillingly identified with the Zionist cause and their struggle with the Arabs.
They requested the United Nations that Jerusalem be designated as a defacto international city. They appealed to the diplocatic corps assigned to Jerusalem -- but to no avail. They were hence confronted with the choice of either becoming a part of the Zionist State, which diametrically opposed the interests of Jews as a religion, or abandoning the land of which their forefathers were the first Jewish settlers.
We find it of supreme importance to emphasize that we are fearful of the consequences of the Zionist rebellion against the Creator, as stated expressly in Jeremich, "For it is bad and bitter your renunciation of G-d..." We wish not to be affected by the behavior of this government who in the name of Israel, persist in their renunciation and utter disregard of religious Judaism
such as is clearly attested by their laws expressly permitting wanton autopsies (Law of Anatomy and Pathology, 1953), forcible desecration of the Sabbath (Law of Emergency Labor Draft 1967: PPS 1, 19; 27, 36), profanation of Holy Sites by retaining non-religious custodians, desecration of Holy Cemetaries by Safed, Beth Shearim and elsewhere, and countless more examples, proof of which is readily available.
Insofar as all human being find necessary the protection of their rights as human beings, we hereby request all those that find it within their power, to aid us in reacquiring the rights we possessed prior to the formation of the Zionist State*, to remain lawfully independent of the Zionist authority.
from the Jews against zionism website