Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
What are some differences between Zionism and the 'True Torah Jews' group?
The 'True Torah Jews' group are outcasts of Satmar Hasidim. They were considered too extreme and unruly.
They are de facto allies of Extreme Secular Zionism.
On the whole, Satmar Hasidim see Zionism and the State of Israel as negative phenomenon.
The Satmar Hasidim are a minority element among the Hareidi population but reflect a trend of thought that has influence on the others.
Satmar sometimes behaves as Extreme Secular Zionists wish to depict all Religious Zionists as being in order to continue discrimination against them.
Different Types of Zionism
Before continuing let us consider different types of Zionism.
We have (A) Secular Zionism and (B) Religious Zionism.
(A) Secular Zionism
Within (A) Secular Zionism one has (1) Extreme Secular and (2) Plain Secular.
(1) Extreme Secular Zionists are Enlightenment Jews who became Zionists and have had a major influence in the State of Israel.
Originally the Enlightenment Jews wanted the Jews to assimilate altogether. Failing complete assimilation they said the Jews should make themselves as similar as possible to their Gentile neighbors.
They usually had the backing of Gentile governments and participated in the persecution of Religious Jews and the Jewish Religion.
Finally, realizing that the Gentiles would never accept them as equals no matter what they then said the Jews should have their own state and that this state should be as similar to Gentile states as possible.
Since most of the Jews would only accept a state of their own in what was then Palestine they decided that was where the State should be.
(2) Plain Secular Zionists are Jews who are not religious but are not opposed to some degree of Jewish consciousness.
Due to historical processes in the course of establishing the State of Israel the Plain Secular and Extreme Secular took over.
The Extreme Secular seized centers of influence and became very influential in academia, the bureaucracy, judiciary, media, and army.
The Plain Secular were also important in ruling circles and on some issues came to accommodation with the Religious Zionists.
A Cultural War was however in process throughout the Jewish World between the Secular and Religious Jews in general.
This is still continuing.
(B) Religious Zionism
The Religious Jews are divided into Religious Zionists and Hareidim.
Religious Zionism sees an independent entity in the Land of Israel as a religious imperative and the logical outcome of Judaism as a religion.
Before the Secular Zionists had come into being a Zionist Movement already existed among Religious Jews.
They had established settlements in the Land of Israel and organized a movement.
[A Zionist Movement (known as "Restoration") had also existed among Gentiles, mainly in Britain, working for a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. This was one of the influences leading to the Balfour Declaration]
The Religious Zionists have sought to influence Zionism from within through co-operation with the Secular.
Today more than 40% of the front-line troops and officers in the IDF emerge from the Religious Zionists.
Religious Zionists are also important in all aspects of Israeli life and contribute well relatively beyond their numbers.
They have however paid a price in so far as many of their children leave the Religion.
They have large families and attract new adherents from the Secular and so maintain their demographic weight.
Unfortunately they themselves are sometimes lax and comparatively ignorant though there are numerous exceptions.
The Religious Zionists also do not always receive the respect, co-operation, and tolerance that should be due to them from their Secular allies.
Army service is to a degree used as a tool by the Secular to weaken Religion.
The Religious Zionists therefore suffer for their dedication.
The Hareidi (Ultra-Orthodox) comprises about 12% of the Jewish Population in Israel and about a third of the Religious.
After the Holocaust not many Hareidi Jews remained.
Survival was difficult, life in the Modern World posed a challenge, and the Secular were waging Cultural Warfare against them
Their attitude has been to concentrate on stronger religious observance, intensified study, and separation as much as possible from the mainstream.
This includes avoiding army service but serving in other ways.
In practice the Hareidi also contribute greatly to Zionism. About 50% of the settlers in Judah and Samaria are Hareidi.
Most Jewish cities (e.g. Beitar Ilit, Kiryat Sefer, Immanuel, Ramat Shlomoh, etc) in Judah and Samaria are entirely Hareidi.
Financially and demographically the Hareidi give much more than they take.
Without the Hariedi input the country would be in dire straits.
Indirect taxes absorb more than 50% of the income in Israel.
The Hareidim receive a pittance compared to the others. Proportionately they receive much much less though in effect giving just as much if not more.
An example of exploitation by the Secular may be seen in the use of girl soldiers.
About 40% of the Secular girls are inducted into the IDF. Many give very valuable service.
On the whole however the effect is detrimental to society and to the fighting ability of the army. It is not economically justified.
It is a sacrifice to the Ideology of Feminism and is against the Jewish Religion.
It follows that money received from the entire community goes to finance a superfluous coming of age experience for secular females whose presence in the IDF has an adverse effect.
This is just one example out of many.
The above outline is correct as far as it goes BUT it has been deliberately over-simplified.
We should add that the Plain Secular group mentioned above are the majority.
Many of them are traditionally oriented and basically religious in their own way.
They are influenced by the Religious groups (Religious Zionists and Hareidim) and also by the Extreme Secular.
Over the years the Extreme Secular have had much of their influence eroded but are still powerful. They receive financial backing from non-Jewish elements in Europe and from Reform Jews in the USA.
Both the Religious Zionists and the Hareidim have valid points. One supplements the other.
They should realize that they are fighting the same battle against the adversaries of them both but on different fronts.
The two groups need to co-operate with each other and to view one another as brothers in arms and not rivals!
The answer to the problems of the Jews in Israel and the world may lie in the unification of the two approaches and the conversion of all other Jews to them.