Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kiruv is In; Settlements are Out!

NRG reports about a Shabbaton of Maayanei Hayeshua - a religious Zionist kiruv movement - that took place this week in Ofra. There, three leading figures in the Religious Zionist right wing: Rav Aviner, Effi Eitam, and also Rav Shmuel Eliyahu all stated a rather surprising shift, or about-turn in the priorities of the community. They stated pretty clearly that now Kiruv has to become the major priority of the Rel-Zionist community over and above settlement of the land of Israel. "The central struggle is the fight for the identity of the State of Israel, and the mindset and identity of its citizens" said the director of the organisation.

Once again, we are seeing new thinking in the Religious Zionist community. This is partly in the wake of the Disengagement, and partly the internalisation of the growing post-Zionist thinking in secular echelons of Israeli. The feeling is that unless there is a sea-change in Israeli identity, the future of the land, and much more, is in jeapordy. However many settlers will go populate the West Bank, if the secular leadership loses touch with Israel as a Jewish State, then not only the land but the entire raison d'etre and reality of Medinat Yisrael is in danger of being lost.

Already we have seen many graduates of Mercaz Harav and Beit El and similar Yeshivot prefering to join "Torah Garinim" in Lod, Akko, Tel Aviv and many other cities. This is the first time that figures on teh religious Zionist Right have stated these things as a policy shift. Let's see how these statement will translate into further action.

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