Why Jews Are Losing Their Birthright

[Prof. Paul Eidelberg]

Summary ... The Torah demands more than Torah learning; it demands unity of thought and action. This unity will require a complete overhaul of Israel's governing institutions guided by Torah principles and values.

Why are Jews losing their birthright? The most fundamental reason will be found in Israel's Declaration of Independence of 1948.

The first sentence states: "Eretz Yisrael was the birthplace of the Jewish people." This suggests that the Jews did not become a people until the conquest of the land of Canaan by Joshua, and therefore, only after the Law-Giving at Mount Sinai. Yet the children of Israel are repeatedly referred to as a people even before their exodus from Egypt, as well as during their wanderings in the Great Wilderness. In fact, they are also called a "nation." Thus: "What great nation has laws and social rules so righteous as this Torah?" (Deuteronomy 4:8)

Underlying the statement "Eretz Yisrael was the birthplace of the Jewish people" is the notion of "territorial nationalism." This means that possession of a distinct area of land is a precondition of nationhood. What made the Jews a nation, however, was not land so much as the Torah. It was only the Torah that preserved the Jews as a nation despite their having been without a land (and without a state) for almost 2,000 years.

Viewed in this light, the opening sentence of Israel's Declaration of Independence suggests that the secular Zionists who founded the State of Israel sought to diminish the Torah as the ultimate source of Jewish national identity, that source from which the Jewish People derive their exclusive title to the Land of Israel.

The document continues: "Here they ... created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books." To contend that the Jews "created" cultural values of national and universal significance is tacitly to deny the divine origin of the Torah. Consistent therewith, the document makes no explicit reference to G-d.

Having tacitly denied the Torah's divine origin, and having omitted G-d from Israel's Declaration of Independence, on what grounds did its authors justify the establishment of the Jewish State? They appealed to "historic right," "natural right," and international law (the League of Nation's Mandate, which affirmed the Balfour Declaration, and UN Resolution of November 1947.) I have elsewhere shown that each of these grounds is problematic. Surely the G-d of Israel is the most powerful justification for Jewish (and non-negotiable) possession of the Land of Israel!

Now we can understand the fundamental cause of the policy of "land for peace" — of Oslo and the Road Map to a Palestinian state — i.e., the truncation of the Land of Israel! All the criticism of that policy will have no effect whatever on events unless those who utter such criticism affirm and speak in terms of the Torah!

Territorial nationalism was the motif of secular Zionists. Jews, they said, must have their own territory and their own state if they are to achieve security as well as dignity. Yet what do we see? A "territory" they have, a "state" they have, but where is their security, and where is their dignity! Indeed, the more Jews focus on security (or on peace) the more it will elude them. Their only true security is with G-d, whose Name was omitted from the document that proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish State. And so they are losing their G-d given land to those who worship Allah.

Lacking Torah statesmen, Israel today is governed by fools and scoundrels whose power is perpetuated by an utterly corrupt political system. It matters very little which party or party leader is at the helm. Ineptitude and self-aggrandizement will continue, sanctified by the false god of democracy.

The Torah demands more than Torah learning; it demands unity of thought and action. This unity will require a complete overhaul of Israel's governing institutions guided by Torah principles and values. This should be the primary concern of Jews who reject the Road Map to a Palestinian state.

[ Published: August 8, 2003 ]

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