Once again, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has angered American Orthodox Jews by drawing on Biblical themes to support his Zionist ideology, and by blurring the boundaries between the Jewish people and the Zionist state.
In front of the oval office on Friday, he said to President Obama, “It’s the ancient nation of Israel. And, you know, we've been around for almost 4,000 years. We've experienced struggle and suffering like no other people. We've gone through expulsions and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions. But I can say that even at the nadir of the valley of death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of reestablishing a sovereign state in our ancient homeland, the land of Israel.”
We, as Torah Jews, object strongly to Netanyahu’s identification of his modern Zionist nation with the Jewish people. The true Jewish people has been around for almost 4,000 years and has never lost hope – but that hope was never the hope of reestablishing a sovereign state on our own as the Zionist movement has done. Indeed, religious Jews throughout the ages never even considered such an option, since it is forbidden by the Torah. Our hope was and is only for G-d’s final redemption with the coming of the messiah.
Netanyahu further stated, “A peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality…the only peace that will endure is one that is based on reality, on unshakeable facts.” Actually, the entire Zionist project is based on illusions and was doomed to failure from day one. Over a hundred years ago, when Herzl convened the first Zionist congress, the greatest rabbis warned that his plans would only bring danger and destruction for the Jewish people.
Netanyahu went so far as to openly deny the Jewish people’s age-old hope when he said regarding the peace process, “We don't have a lot of margin for error…Mr. President, history will not give the Jewish people another chance.” To his heretical mind, the false Zionist redemption is the only redemption the Jewish people will ever have.
In a speech to Congress on Tuesday, he said, “I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers…This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.”
Ironically, this statement itself is the real distortion of history. Netanyahu has conveniently skipped the millennia of exile that separate Abraham, David and Isaiah from the present day. He denies the fundamental Jewish belief that our exile was a Heavenly decree, which will end with the final redemption of the world, when there will be peace among all of humanity. During exile, Jews may live all over the world, including the Holy Land, but only without Jewish sovereignty.
“Netanyahu does not trust in G-d; he uses G-d for his agenda,” said Rabbi Leopold Klein, a spokesman for True Torah Jews. “He doesn’t believe in the Torah or the Prophets either. He takes all that is holy to us and uses it whenever it’s convenient for him.
“As American Jews, we declare that the State of Israel cannot – and should not – claim to represent worldwide Jewry, nor should it be identified as a Jewish State, because confusion between Judaism and Zionism jeopardizes the safety of Jews living all over the world,” Rabbi Klein concluded.