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Zehut's Platform and Vision for the State of Israel
The document in your hands is not just another party platform. It is a Jewish vision and a message of national liberty of historic proportions. This is the first time that the Jewish majority of Zionism (mistakenly called "the right wing" or "the national camp") stops saying who it is not, and what it opposes – and starts saying who and what it is, and what it actually wants and proposes!
This is the first time that "Jews" are answering "Israelis." It is the start of the deconstruction of the barriers between those concepts. Without those barriers, all parts of Israeli society will easily connect to our identity, rather than constantly fleeing it.
"We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel," Ben-Gurion declared, but translating these words into a comprehensive policy actually stopped with the Law of Return. In the first 70 years of the state, we got along with religion, but we did not struggle with the challenge of Jewish identity. We preferred to replace the sense of mission and justice arising from our identity with the existence and pragmatism that supposedly do not depend upon it.
Every VIP who lands on our shores is immediately whisked off to Yad Vashem, a visit after which no one dares ask any questions. Yad Vashem has become the "Temple" of the state of the Jews. But today, when the last of the survivors and the last of the executioners are dying, Yad Vashem no longer does the job.
Israel, cut off from its very nature and purpose, is defined in the eyes of the western intelligentsia – as a mistake. The children of the survivors are now called "the new Nazis." The conquests of 1967 do not constitute the problem for them, but rather the original sin of the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of an arm of Western colonialism on the indigenous land of "Palestine."
"For me, Israel is a state of all its citizens," said Aharon Barak, Chief Justice of the High Court, explaining the policy he implemented during his tenure. In other words, the Jewish state through whose gates a Jew entered by the power of the Law of Return – ends there, at the gate. From that point on, the state of all its citizens begins.
We did not establish the "Jewish State," but rather – the "State of the Jews," sanctified by Yad Vashem. Paradoxically, in tandem with the increase in its economic and military strength, Israel continues to lose its right to exist in the eyes of the nations.
One hundred years after the Balfour Declaration, almost seventy years since the establishment of the state and fifty years since the liberation of Jerusalem – the Zehut manifesto begins to chart a direction. It shows how Israel can make peace with itself, connect to its identity and nature, and begin to conduct itself like a Jewish state of liberty. This will enable its spiritual message to develop freely – towards a universal vision of Tikkun Olam (perfecting the world).
This platform is not written in stone. Writing of the manifesto began as a document of principles, which was presented to a staff of intellectuals, members of Zehut – a staff that represented all shades of Israeli society proportionally. The dialogue that was created between "religious" and "secular" within the staff of writers produced not only compromise, but something entirely new – a type of authentic Judaism that holds the past and the future together. There are no words to adequately thank those involved in this sacred work, especially – Eliahu Ben-Asher, Tomer Rezhekovski and Uri Noy.
Such a document, by its nature – is only the beginning. It cannot and should not be error-free. In fact, it must always continue to be written and improved.
What makes it a historical document is not necessarily the solutions it brings. Instead, it is the daring to articulate them in the framework of an overall policy with well-defined strategic objectives as the platform of a political instrument. The Zehut Party is the instrument for leading the state and implementing these ideas in practice.
I invite you – dear readers – not only to read the Zehut manifesto of identity and to enrich us with your comments, but to draw inspiration from it and add chapters of your own,
From the place where it meets you – the Jewish State.
To perfect the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty,
Shevat 5777, February 2017
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