Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5760 - May 24, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Just Another Day?

by N. Ze'evi

The secular aura of "sanctity" that in the past has been foisted upon the Israeli public on Independence Day, is beginning to show signs of waning. In recent years, increasing numbers of secular writers and spokesmen are publicly declaring that they are not willing to accept this "cultural coercion."

For the most part, the writers are concerned with the attempt to force Israel's Arabs to participate in the celebrations. But the chareidi sector, lehavdil, has benefited indirectly from this newfound cynicisim as well.

On the eve of Independence day, an article entitled "Another Weekday" appeared in Ha'aretz:

The writer reminds its readers of the "raging hostility during the 1950s and 1960s displayed toward all those who did not identity with the symbols of independence. In those days, thugs beat the residents of Meah Shearim on Independence Day."

But since then, many Israeli citizens have learned to reconcile with the fact that a large sector refuses to celebrate that day and defer to the national symbols that are alien to its belief and lifestyle.

As we said, this apparently liberal and forgiving approach toward the chareidi camp stems, among other things, from the readiness of the Israeli left to recognize the right of the Arab citizens of the state not to note the day which in their eyes has negative and tragic implications.

This year, Israeli Arab leaders openly declared that they regard the establishment of the State as a catastrophe and their reasoning lies in the fact that Jews now have political and military control of the state. They blame Israel for the "expulsion and the separation from their families," that accompanied the War of Independence.

But what are we to make of 52 years of active attack on the foundations of Jewish religion and emunah? What of the tens of thousands of immigrant Torah-observant children who were torn away by the state from the traditions and legacies in the name of Zionism?

Ha'aretz notes that the only group that still ardently adheres to the anachronistic Independence Day symbols are the settlers, who have taken up the mantle of the former socialist leaning original pioneers. In both cases, the article notes, "these are the chalutizm lifnei ha'machaneh, who don't take heed that there is no one following them. These are the only two groups who relate with seriousness to the old symbols of Independence Day."

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