Friday, June 17, 2005

When outsiders ( journalist and others ) report on what is going on among the most active members of the religious Zionist movement today we are often shocked. When someone who is obviously an insider writes about the contempt and hatred that many young - and not so young - religious Zionists ( seem to ) feel for the secular part of Israel, for Israel's political leadership and for the state's institutions and laws, that shock is even greater. I felt some sort of shock when I read an op-ed by professor David Assaf, who heads the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University. Based on his own personal experiences ( and, I suppose, also as a historian ) he looks at the "youth in orange" in a historical perspective.
Some quotes:
" ...an entire generation of spoiled fruit has grown before our eyes - in the settlements, in the clubhouses and yeshivas of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, in the institutions of the state religious educational system. Young men and women who, along with a strong and authentic love for the Land of Israel (which always lies beyond the Green Line) and an impressive willingness to contribute to its security - military service in combat units - feel a deep contempt for its institutions and its representatives.These "youth in orange" (as Israel Harel affectionately dubbed them) are not as wonderful as they think, or as their rabbis, educators and admirers see them. They are arrogant and condescending, full of self-satisfaction and afflicted with moral blindness and distorted values - a lost generation. [...]
There is something rotten in the wonderful and efficient educational system of the kingdom of the settlers, and the roots of this rot go back to that same speech by Haetzni in the Russian Compound. This damaged generation, which is now furious at the "crime" of the disengagement, will not be stopped after the plan is implemented. It will be with us for many years to come, and do everything possible to embitter our lives and destroy any hope for change, any plan that involves concession, acceptance or reconciliation."

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