For this we yearned?
by Jonathan Rosenblum
April 15, 1998
No matter how alienated from his religion, it was a rare Eastern European Jew who would ever publicly repudiate his religion in front of gentiles. Our history is replete with stories of those who passed all their lives as non-Jews and yet, when the Jews of their town were rounded up for the slaughter, stepped forward to declare that they too were Jewish.
Today we who so pride ourselves on our independence abase ourselves in front of the rest of the world. We publicly spit on the religion of our fathers and gleefully declare our contempt. Homosexual activists boast on TV, 'We are the generation of the flood,' the generation that broke all barriers of perversity.
In our first military confrontation, shortly after the exodus from Egypt, Amalek, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people, the supreme denier of God in history, cut off the sign of the covenant of Abraham from slain Jews and flung it toward heaven as
proof that there is no covenant and no God.
Today Amalek is within, and it is Jews themselves who proclaim to the world that we have put behind us the old superstitious religion. They declare that all barriers to unbridled freedom have fallen.
The nation has lost its head. Yossi Sarid and Yitzhak Levy join hands in celebrating Dana International's victory and the honor it has brought to Israel and Israeli song.
Levy, stung by the suggestion, after the Batsheva Dance Troupe fiasco, that a rabbi can't be with-it enough, progressive enough, to serve as minister of culture, hurries to show how hip he is, how unfazed by transvestites and transsexuals.
He still dreams of currying secular favor by distancing himself from the haredim, and imagines that the new paganism is not as contemptuous of his kind as of the haredim. And thus does the leader of the party of Land of Israel worship celebrate the descent into abomination in a land that spits out abomination.
Rather that being buoyed by the affection of Europe, we should ask ourselves precisely what honor has been conferred upon us and why. Consciously or unconsciously, Europeans honor us for having refuted Jewish claims of moral superiority and chosenness.
Christian and pagan antisemites have always hated the Jew as bearer of God's moral message to humanity: Christians because they believe themselves to have supplanted Jews as God's chosen; pagans because they despise morality. Church-sanctioned pogroms and the civic degradation of Jews throughout the ages were designed to demonstrate to us that we had lost divine favor. Our continued existence and obstinate retention of our faith in the face of such proofs only testified in the eyes of the gentile world to our exceptional perverseness.
Nietzsche recognized the Jews as the source of morality, and condemned us for having drained the pagan world of its Dionysian power. Hitler, the arch pagan, followed Nietzsche. He ranted that the Jews had inflicted two wounds on the world: mercy for the downtrodden and circumcision. Nazi propaganda films portrayed Jews as a horde of rats transformed into hassidim. Hitler's Jew hatred was synonymous with hatred of a religion that charged its adherents to be holy because 'I, the Lord, your God, am holy."
Today, however, neither pagans nor Christians need trouble themselves any longer with the Jews. We have declared ourselves pagans, celebrants of any form of sexual license and chic adrogyny; we have turned those among us who continue to believe in God into objects of scorn and ridicule.
Once antisemites portrayed us as sexual libertines and perverts to undermine our moral authority. Today we cheerfully admit the charge and imagine ourselves beloved by the world for it.
Are we and our culture similarly honored when a CNN documentary claims that we have the highest rate of prostitution in the world? Is it homage that Newsweek offers in photographs depicting well-heeled matrons watching male strippers in posh north Tel Aviv living rooms? Will the prostitutes and strippers also be invited to perform in the Knesset for having brought us favor in the eyes of the nations?
For 2,000 years, Jews prayed to return to this land. For what? So that we could fill it with every rite practiced by the pagans who inhabited it before us? So that we could express our hatred of God as loudly as possible and pat ourselves on the back that the nations have noticed?
Is this the new definition Israel has given to Jewish pride?
Related Topics: Israeli Society
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