Viewpoints on Zionism: Israel as a Zionist State
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מאגר מידע » ציונות » Zionism General
כותב המאמר: Eliezer Schweid

What does it mean that Israel is a Zionist state? Read on...

Any discussion of the State of Israel's Zionist character is based on the apparently commonplace assumption that the aforementioned State would not have been created had it not been for the initiative and activity of the Zionist Movement. However, those familiar with the subject might argue that it was not only the organized Zionist Movement that built the State of Israel. Other factors played a part in its creation, some of them by making possible political and economic developments, others assisted in the actual construction. They might claim, for example, that anti-Semitism caused more immigration than organized Zionist education; or that the interests of certain Powers in the Middle East promoted more Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel than the diplomatic alacrity of either Herzl or Weizmann.
Moreover, it can be claimed that the non-Zionist-and even anti-Zionist-movements existing among the Jewish People, cooperated politically and economically and even in settlement activities, in the building and strengthening of the State. There are those who maintain that had it not been for the Balfour Declaration, the Holocaust in Europe, the U.N. debate in which the Soviet Union had a specific interest in the establishment of a Jewish State, and the persecution of Jews in Arab countries the State of Israel would never have been established nor would it have become strong enough to stand up to the ever increasing resistance of the Arabs.
On the other hand, one can point to factors which operated in the opposite direction. Anti-Semitism was indeed the cause of immigration; but the attractions of European and American society led to a movement of assimilation whose dimensions exceeded by far those of immigration to Israel. Considerations of the interests of certain Powers in the Middle East did no doubt lead to the promotion of Zionism, but these considerations were always of a temporary nature and therefore did not last for long; their encouragement of Zionism was never given whole-heartedly and quickly lapsed. In most cases, the Zionist Movement was compelled to make its way while fighting a continuous battle against its adamant foes and even against its friends. Last but not least, the factor of oppression which led to the large-scale migration of Jews did not automatically cause all those Jews to migrate to the Land of Israel. On the contrary, migrants streamed to countries which held out more promising prospects and possibilities of mass absorption. Russian Jews, for instance, at the beginning of the century, migrated in their masses to the United States. After the establishment of the State of Israel, masses of North African Jews migrated to France. The mass immigration of Yemenite Jewry to the State of Israel, on the other hand, was organized by the State's institutions and it was thus not the result of a spontaneous movement which aroused the desire to migrate...
We may conclude, therefore, that the background factors operated in opposing directions. Moreover, if the force of these motivations can be measured, then it may be said that the restraining pressure was greater than the incentive pressure. In other words, the outcome of these pressures was not simply the result of a rather "parallelogram of forces" but of the energy of an organized minority which made a conscious choice and fought a vigorous battle for the realization of its aim. It was due to the struggle of this minority alone that England, in the Balfour Declaration, and the United Nations, in its famous 1947 Resolution, recognized the right of the Jewish People to a national home in its historical homeland; it was only because of the struggle of this minority that many Jews, who had already taken to the road of assimilation, found anew their national Jewish identity; and it was only because of the struggle of this minority that a part of the stream of mass Jewish immigration was directed to the Land of Israel in order to rebuild it. In this sense, the State of Israel is undoubtedly the product of the Zionist Movement.
In passing, it may be noted that the ideology of pioneering Zionism expressed this state of affairs with the utmost clarity and it is typical that it was precisely the Borochovist ideology which sought to rely on natural forces in Jewish society, defining the operational and idealistic nature of Zionism in more discerning and exact terms. According to Borochov, the Jewish State would indeed be built by the masses after undergoing a proletarization process and would attain a Socialist regime by force of a natural socioeconomic process; but mass migration to the Land of Israel would be possible only if a number of individuals would precede the people as pioneers and direct it there. In this sense, Zionism is a movement expressing a conscious will and having, as such, its own logic of structure and ways of operation.
When we interpret our basic assumption concerning the Zionist character of the State of Israel in this manner, it is no longer a commonplace. Beyond mention of the historical fact, which may be contended to be irrelevant today, there seems to be one principal thing which has implications for the present too: the State of Israel is a "project," the State of Israel is a product of a conscious and free decision. It is not a "natural" phenomenon created as the result of compelling circumstances and continuing to survive by virtue of those same circumstances. The State of Israel did not evolve by a natural process and it does not continue to survive through inertia. It is a "supra-natural" phenomenon which came into being by force of consciousness and will and it can exist only as long as the consciousness and will that led to its creation continue to exist. In other words, the same process by which the State was built also determined the dynamics of its development and the conditions under which it can survive.
Having stressed the "project-like" nature of the State of Israel it should be stressed that in a project the principle of free choice is presupposed. The State of Israel cannot in fact continue to exist unless it remains a Zionist State. An attempt to explain the reasoning behind this statement will be made later. But this does not mean that the State of Israel is forced to follow a Zionist policy. Were we to pretend that it was a matter of compulsion we would be negating the voluntary character of the State of Israel. The opposite is true: the State of Israel is confronted by a real choice between two ways; it must always choose between them and in retrospect it can be shown that it did not always follow the Zionist way, but at times took into account limited political interests which were not consistent with it.
It must be admitted, however, that the establishment of the State in itself created conditions which impel it to carry on the realization of the Zionist vision. In other words, an "inertia" was created which finds its expression in the political, economic and social interests of the State of Israel to follow a Zionist policy. For instance, the hostility of the Arab states "forces" the Jewish community in Israel to recognize the vitality of immigration and the necessity for strong ties with Diaspora Jewry. On the other hand, the support of the Arabs by certain states, out of considerations of vested interests, is also reflected directly or indirectly in the attitude of the governments and citizens of those countries towards their Jewish citizens, thus increasing the identification of the Jews in the Diaspora with the State of Israel. These are some of the more blatant factors, but there are many others. Yet, once again, these factors do not operate alone. Other factors operating in the opposite direction can be indicated. For instance: the characteristic tendency of Western societies, in the wake of scientific-technological development, towards a "cosmopolitan" outlook which belittles the importance of national differences, facilitates the flow of highly qualified professionals to the leading centres of industry and research where the chances of raising one's standard of living and advancing professionally are incomparably greater than in small countries.
On the other hand, the desire to attenuate the tension between Israel and the Arab states strengthens the theory that if Zionist policy were only abandoned, peace would come sooner and this would make integration within the region easier. The policy followed by the Great Powers in the Middle East in no way encourages a Zionist policy. Even those powers who do not desire Israel's destruction are apparently interested in restricting its strength. In this connection one should consider in particular the situation of Soviet Jewry; even if the Soviet authorities were to come to the conclusion that the only solution to the Jewish problem is migration, they would not permit mass immigration to Israel so as not to strengthen the State and thus annoy the Arabs. In other words, even after the establishment of the State, restraining forces are still in operation, and at present too they are stronger than the accelerating forces. It may be noted that in the period between the War of Liberation and the Six Day War there was a marked process of abandoning the Zionist ideal and its obligations.
This process threatened the State of Israel and consequently the whole Jewish people with tile danger of disintegration. Yet, although the danger was discerned by many, this did not necessarily eliminate the possibility of a non-Zionist policy. If it so desires, a State can choose a way that leads to its own destruction...
Even today, after the Six Day War, a Zionist policy will not therefore be the mechanical result of a "parallelogram of forces". It will be the expression of a decision. The uniqueness of the State of Israel lies in the fact that from the start it has actually faced a dilemma of this kind.
The essence of Zionist policy can be learnt from a knowledge of the free will character of the State of Israel. As a Zionist State, the State of Israel, contrary to other states, must regard itself as the State of a people the majority of which is not concentrated within its borders. As a Zionist State, it must bear the responsibility for the security, well-being, unity and continuous cultural identity of the Jewish people; it must rely on the latter's loyalty without there being any correspondence between the range of its responsibility and sources of power on the one hand and the range within which its sovereignty applies on the other. Needless to say, this is a most complicated situation, with numerous conflicting interests and theoretical and practical problems. But it must be emphasized that such a state of affairs is possible only as long as a dynamic relationship exists between those living in the State and those in the Diaspora. The strong ties between the State of Israel and the Jewish people will continue to exist as long as Diaspora Jewry regards itself as a source of strength for Israel to rely upon, as long as it regards Israel as a basis for its own identity and continuous cultural creativity, and as long as Israel finds in the Diaspora a source from which to draw and in turn becomes a support for the Diaspora. The moment this dynamic process ceases the connection will be broken. Again it should be emphasized that the continuation of the process or its termination is not the result of inertia either in Israel or abroad. It requires a free and constantly renewed choice on the part of both sides.
The foregoing seems to contain the whole theory of Zionist policy "in a nutshell". But a number of implications require special emphasis. First of all, Zionist policy is in practice one of attracting and absorbing immigrants, and a Zionist state is a state whose political, economic, social and cultural image is that of an immigration absorbing state. The importance of immigration as the expression in practice of the Zionist policy should be stressed in particular because the early pioneering Zionist conception that Diaspora Jewry had no other alternative but to immigrate or to be assimilated, did not prove to be unequivocally true. After the establishment of the State of Israel it turned out that the majority of the people would continue to live in the Diaspora for a long time either because it could not immigrate to Israel or because it did not want to do so. Nevertheless those who remain in the Diaspora desire to preserve their Jewish identity and are able to do so in spite of the assimilatory processes taking place in the environment. Aliya will thus not bring about the concentration of all or even of the majority of the people in the State of Israel in the foreseeable future. But just for this reason it would seem that the State of Israel, as a Zionist state, should concentrate its energies on the absorption of immigration. Why is this so important? Because Aliya should be not a one time but rather a continuous phenomenon expressing the dynamic development of Israel-Diaspora relationship. It should also be a channel through which Diaspora Jews can contribute in various ways to the upbuilding of the State and draw upon it at the same time. As a continuous phenomenon in the life of the Jewish people, Aliya-even on a small scale -will create, first and foremost, a concrete living human link between all sections of the Jewish people. It will guarantee that the State of Israel will continue to be a corporate image of the entire Jewish People, that the link between the people in the Diaspora and the people in

Israel and, through it, between all sections of the people will consist in personal ties of family, friends and acquaintances so that the feeling of unity and mutual responsibility will not become a matter of mere "abstraction" but of real experience. Furthermore, Aliya will give a clear orientation to Jewish education and Jewish socio-cultural activities, being construed as the real fulfillment of their goal. In all these senses, Aliya constitutes the essence of the dynamic contact between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. It is clear, therefore, that the State of Israel as a Zionist State must prepare itself for Aliya. Israel should encourage education towards Aliya and readiness to absorb the immigrants. This should be emphasized in particular: an immigrant-absorbing state is not only a state ready to receive immigrants, but a state that is prepared to attract them and to organize its economy and patterns of social life, particularly in the field of education, in a manner which will make possible their absorption in the most effective way. Needless to say, this readiness has implications in all spheres of life; it is therefore a mistake to claim that Zionism is a matter for immigrants or potential immigrants only, while for Israelis, their Zionism has already been realized by the fact of their Israeli citizenship. On the contrary, whoever lives in Israel out of Zionist consciousness will attach particular value to his living there and show this attitude in practice by his willingness to take part in the efforts to attract and absorb the Aliya.

Secondly, a Zionist policy must be one of fostering the Jewish identity of the State as such and of the people living in it. The Jewish identity of the State as such means on the external front that the Jewish State should not agree in any way to a solution of the Israel-Arab conflict which would entail jeopardizing its Jewish majority and undermining its sovereignty. Moreover, the State of Israel, even though it contains national minorities whose rights as citizens of a democratic state should not be affected in the slightest degree, must define itself as a Jewish state. That is to say, as a state that embodies Jewish nationalism and serves the national interest of the Jewish people. On the internal front, this means that the State of Israel should concern itself with educating its younger generations in the cultural legacy of the Jewish people and fostering its ties with the Jewish people and its history; its Jewish character should also find expression in its legislation and ceremonies. Obviously this principle requires a more detailed explanation and this raises a long list of practical and theoretical problems. But we cannot go into this kind of specification here.
Thirdly, a Zionist policy means a direct concern on the part of Israel for the fate of those Diaspora communities which are in distress; the State of Israel must act in every possible way to prevent or alleviate Jewish suffering and must consider every step it takes in both the sphere of foreign policy and the sphere of internal policy not only in the light of the predicted consequences from the standpoint of its own limited interest, but also in the light of the consequences for the fate of Diaspora Jews and their relationship to the State.
Finally, a Zionist policy means a project oriented policy: the State of Israel, insofar as it remains loyal to its mission, should not regard its existence and present achievements as an end in themselves but rather as a means to fulfilling its role which lies mainly in the future. This is not mere rhetoric nor a demand for general awareness. It has to do with the everyday life of Israel's citizens, since it determines the basic orientation of Israeli society and every single member of it. A state which is responsible for its inhabitants alone, can adopt a policy of raising the standard of living, so as to become an "affluent society". But a state which is responsible for a people, the majority of which does not live within its borders, cannot afford to adopt such a policy as its only goal. Its activity is not focused in the present but in the future. This conception has far reaching implications, affecting the social, educational and cultural life of the State of Israel. But, again, we cannot go into detail here.
There is no doubt that a Zionist policy involves the undertaking of heavy obligations. It causes both external conflicts (between Israel and the Arabs and between Israel and the Powers supporting the Arabs), and internal conflicts (between the different sections of the Jewish people) and it demands a willingness to make concessions on the part of the State as a whole as well as of every individual in it. Why, then, should the State of Israel choose this way? Why should it not decide to content itself with what it has already achieved within its borders and rest on its laurels? Well, it should be pointed out that these questions are not theoretical ones. They are being asked seriously and incessantly both inside and outside Israel.
Outside Israel, one often hears the claim that the State of Israel's insistence on absorbing immigration and creating close ties with Diaspora Jewry lends it the image of a colonialist "bridgehead". A Zionist policy does not it mean continual expansionary aspirations and the settlement of an Euro-American people in another people's land? Does not this justify the Arab claim that Israel is bent on conquest and that it threatens Arab nationalism in general? If only Israel would give up its Zionist policy it would enable the Arabs to recognize that its present Jewish population lives there by right and perhaps even to recognize its right to a separate national definition. 
Such claims are often made even by Arab statesmen as a political tactic and perhaps here and there out of sincerity. They meet a response among Jewish intellectuals and an expression of their arguments is to be found in Uri Avneri's book "Israel Without Zionism".
But the question in all its severity is raised from within, and in most of the cases in an indirect manner: how long can the people bear the terrible tension of the struggle for its survival? Is it worth the price of the blood shed? Would it not be better for Israel to give up the nobility of its national, spiritual and cultural uniqueness if this means an eternal altar on which each generation sacrifices its sons? Would it not be better to become reconciled to the situation, even at the price of assimilation, and save the lives of individuals at the price of the people's survival as a nation? Such questions, by their very nature. are not asked aloud. They are murmured in a hesitant voice. But there is no thinking person who does not have moments of weakness during which he is afflicted by such desperate thoughts. For this reason it is imperative to face up to them with a clear mind.
Why, then, should the State of Israel continue to act as a Zionist State? The answer is simple: because it has not yet achieved its goal. The State was established in order to solve the problems of the Jewish people's existence.
These problems have not yet been solved. Some parts of the Jewish People (Soviet Jewry, the Jews in the Communist countries and Jews in Arab states) are still in danger of persecution and physical destruction. Another part of it (Western Jewry) is in danger of assimilation and annulment of its unique cultural creativity. The Jewish people as a whole is in danger of disintegration in various centres and, in each centre, finds itself drawn to opposite poles of attraction. The State of Israel alone holds out the chance of a solution for the Diaspora communities endangered by physical destruction and it alone is capable of focusing the feeling of loyalty of those Jews confronted by the temptations of assimilation. Moreover, the State of Israel can solve the problem of the Jewish people's existence only if and insofar as it adheres to its Zionist policy. Once Aliya ceases and the organizational, economic and cultural ties between Israel and the Diaspora are severed, Israel will no longer play any role in the life of the Jewish people. And this would mean that Israel no longer exists, at least from Diaspora Jewry's point of view.
It can be asked whether the State of Israel or its citizens really must undertake responsibility for the entire Jewish people. Certainly it must! First of all because the State of Israel was not achieved by the efforts of those who live in it only; generation after generation gave its strength and energy to it; it was demanded as a solution for the entire people and was built under the pressure of the whole people's suffering and by the joint forces of all sections of the people. Israel's denial of its overall national responsibility for the Jewish people would be almost betrayal. Secondly, because responsibility for the whole Jewish people is the main reason for the State's existence and the only justification for making efforts to strengthen it and maintain it.
True, the argument is often heard that historical factors do not obligate those living in the present. The pioneers who came from the Diaspora to build their homes in the Land of Israel did so in order to find a solution to the problems of the Jewish people and that was their justification. Very well. But in the meantime they have borne children whose right to live here is a direct consequence of the fact of their living here. This is their natural homeland and since they are different both from the Arabs in the region and from the Jews in the Diaspora, they are entitled to demand the political right of a separate "national entity". This seems like a very reasonable argument.
But apart from the fact that the majority of Israel's population are immigrants "ingathered from all exiles", thus representing the entire people scattered in the Diaspora, we must reexamine what constitutes the uniqueness of the Israeli "national entity". What can its will to maintain its distinct identity be based on? How can it be justified in view of the claim of the Palestinian Arabs that they have a prior national right to this land which they regard as their homeland? To these questions there are only two possible answers: one is to assign the uniqueness of Israel nationalism to its culturally Western nature, so different from its neighbours, but this only confirms the Arab claim that Israel is a foreign European "colony", the most recent outcome of Western imperialism and that its very existence is a gross injustice done to the Palestinian Arabs. The other is to present Israel nationalism as a unique product of the lingual, literary, philosophical and historical legacy of Judaism. But he, who demands independence and claims his historical rights to the Land of Israel in the name of the Jewish people, is no longer entitled to cast off the burden of responsibility for that people. In other words, by accepting the proposals of the moderate Arab politicians to give up its connection with the Jewish people, Israel would justify the Arab claim that it is only a "bridgehead" of Western colonialism...
Finally, commitment to the whole Jewish people is entailed by the very faithfulness of the Israeli Jew to himself. For in disavowing his people he rejects his national identity and distorts all his cultural and moral relations. We are not saying that there is no possibility of such a rejection. In retrospect we may point out the fact that the Jewish community in Israel underwent and is still undergoing a process of assimilation no less intensive than its counterpart in the Diaspora, even though its nature and results have been different. The small minority which advocates the renunciation of a Zionist policy is in fact one manifestation of this process, whose real dimensions are greater than its overt manifestations. We do say, however, that the "Israeli" type of assimilation means nothing but the renunciation of Israel's existence, in the future, if not right now...
We can now show the other side of this answer-coin of ours: the State of Israel, by the very nature of its national identity, is morally bound to follow a Zionist policy. If it does not do so, it will not survive for long. Sooner or later it will be annihilated, if not by military destruction, then because of economic, social and cultural deterioration. It is no exaggeration to say that the choice between maintaining or abandoning the Zionist policy is for Israel, in fact, a choice between survival or liquidation. As stated above, a state may sometimes choose the way of national destruction either consciously or because of some illusion. In any case, he who chooses the way of destruction should realize what kind of a choice he has made.
Why is the abandonment of a Zionist policy tantamount to destruction for the State of Israel? First of all, if there is no moral justification for its existence, a state tends to lose its moral strength to stand up to the pressures of its surrounding. He who has not had to struggle for a very long time for his survival can take this argument as mere abstraction which does not count in real life. He who has had to stand in such a struggle knows very well that moral strength is the basis of physical strength. Israel would not have come into being, nor survived up to now, were it not for the awareness of the significance of its existence of its mission, and of its just goals. Israel will not be able to persist even for a short time without this moral conviction. Even a direct observation at the sources of Israel's physical, economic, political and military strength can prove it. It is so obvious and plain: Israel is relying to this very day on the persistent and affluent aid-economic, political and moral aid-of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Once this aid is taken away, it will be impossible for Israel to surmount its economic, political and military difficulties.
No doubt those who claim that Israel should break its ties with Diaspora Jewry believe that such an act would bring about the Arabs' willingness to reconcile themselves to Israel's existence, so that there would be no need of such aid. Is this a sound assumption? In fact, we may very well doubt it. For the leaders of the Arab states, even if it is not so with the anti-Zionists in Israel, Israel has a unique Jewish identity, and they would not reconcile themselves to its existence, even if it were to give up Zionism. At the most, they will reconcile themselves to the fact that they have to wait for a while for its destruction. But even with no threat of military intervention Israel cannot survive without maintaining its relations with the Jewish people. It would undergo a rapid process of degeneration and disintegration.
Theoretically, it is possible, of course, to assume that the State of Israel can preserve its uniqueness as an island of advanced Western culture in the region and, through its achievements, influence its surroundings. It is also possible, theoretically, to assume that the population of Israel can cope with the demographic race forced upon it through its internal resources alone.
But it seems that one needs a great amount of illusion in order to believe that these assumptions are realistic ones. Israel's political and cultural ties are the result of its unique connections with those parts of the Jewish people which are deeply rooted in the life of the great cultural centres of the West. Once these unique connections are abandoned, the West would have no interest in so willingly and energetically promoting a small state in the heart of the Middle East. On the contrary, Israel's scientific elite would be attracted to the great centres in the United States and Europe. The State would first become a spiritual ghetto and then rapidly degenerate to the cultural level of its environment. In such circumstances it is also not plausible to believe that the population of Israel would be able to cope with the demographic race in which it will find itself. The Arabs would become the majority and would overwhelm the Jews in Israel, at first socially and then politically too. In fact, this view is not a matter of theoretical conjecture. Marked processes within Israeli society during the period between the War of Liberation and the Six Day War confirm it. Jews born in Israel who presumably should feel themselves bound to it, being their "natural homeland", have not hesitated to emigrate in order to seek their fortune in distant lands. The Arab demographic pressure grew and the danger of Israel gradually becoming part of the Levant seemed very real.
Only the revival of Zionist consciousness within the Jewish community in Israel after the Six Day War halted this process...
In other words, the alternative we are faced with is not that of either cultivating and strengthening the Jewish character of the State of Israel, or else abiding by the status quo and the State's achievements up to now. The real choice is between the dynamism of Aliya and development and the dynamism of emigration and decadence. This, by the way, is well understood by the moderate Arab statesmen and the moderate opponents of Zionism in the West. The solution that they imagine is the peaceful liquidation of the State of Israel. That is to say, the reconciliation of the Arabs to the existence of Israel, after the latter gives up its Zionist policy, would be a wise tactical step on their part; before long, the process of emigration would weaken the Israeli society's ability to sustain the pressure of Arab demographic expansion and the State of Israel would disappear. The Arabs would thus attain in peaceful ways what they have not succeeded, and cannot succeed, to attain by military means.
This brings us back to our starting point. The State of Israel is a project based on will, and it can only survive as such. No natural force will help it to survive. If we want it to exist we must want it to develop, and if we want it to develop, we must accept the unique mission with which it has been charged as the state of the whole Jewish people.
We must now turn again to two different views mentioned above. One is that which regards the Zionist State of Israel as a colonialist state bent on continual expansion and thereby deprives the Arabs of their human and national rights. The other, sometimes heard in Israel, is that which puts forward the question of whether it is worthwhile for Israel to be the nation's altar and whether it would not be better to choose the way of assimilation consciously.
Both these arguments are extraneous to the theme of this article. We cannot therefore discuss them in detail and we will only mention in what contexts they should be examined. The first argument starts from the assumption that the Jewish people does not have a national right to the Land of Israel. Seen in the light of the history of the Jewish people, of Europe and the Middle East this argument is easy to refute. For the concept of Zionism as an unjust movement is based on the description of Israel as a state interested in unlimited colonialist expansion at the expense of its neighbours; whereas in fact Zionism only demands the implementation of the Jewish people's rights in its own land. Arab recognition of this right would lead to a clear determination of the boundaries of Israel's political and territorial expansion whilst taking into consideration the human and national right of the Palestinian Arabs. Thus it is a fact that Israel has declared again and again its willingness to accept a solution based on an agreement, whereas the Arabs' persistent refusal to recognize the national right of the Jewish people has been twice the cause of Israeli expansion by military force. In other words, the false image the Arabs have of the State of Israel has created a situation which appears to prove the correctness of their claims. Giving up the Zionist policy by the State of Israel will not change this distorted image. It will only justify it because, as said above, the only justification for the State's existence is its strong ties with the whole Jewish people. There is no doubt whether Judaism as a value overweighs the value of life for the individual. Certainly, the acceptance of Zionism-even if it stems from the feeling that there is no other choice (a person is born a Jew and the nations of the world generally do not let him forget the fact), cannot be wholehearted if one does not see Judaism as something of value for its own sake, as a way of fulfilling himself. That is to say that Zionism, as a "project-like" movement which demands free-will decisions presents contemporary Jewry with the same alternative that faced in different ways the Jews in every generation. Judaism is indeed like fate which cannot be easily evaded. But it is also a moral asset which one is born into and brought up to follow. Only when he chooses it one's Judaism and Jewish being is in its fullest. In other words, Judaism exists not by force of routine but rather by virtue of will. For this very reason, Zionism cannot base itself on natural forces. It expresses the willing commitment of the Jew to his heritage.
The answer to this second argument is thus available only to those who regard Judaism as a spiritual legacy which has formed their personal world. A discussion of such an attitude is certainly not a matter for a single article. But we would like to point out that without readiness for such deep introspection the question of the "worthwhileness" of the sacrifice is merely one of empty abstraction or an expression of a mood. He who puts his question sincerely will not expect a hasty reply. He will have to examine what Judaism means for himself and to what extent it affects his personal life. For the Jew, such willingness to ask the question in all its profundity presupposes a wish to be faithful to his heritage, and this is perhaps a hint as to where the answer is to be found.
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