Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"I pledge allegiance to ..."

I was raised in the United States of America, and I remember saying the following on a regular, frequent basis in school:


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


And in order for my grandparents and their peers to become United States citizens, not only did they have to pledge allegiance to their new country, they had to pass a history/citizenship test.


So, I don't see why anyone could protest something similar being demanded of Israeli citizens and potential citizens.

In all honesty, I would doubt the loyalty, the patriotism of anyone who finds such a demand, expectation, offensive.  And those in public office who oppose an Israeli "pledge of allegiance to Israel as  a Jewish State, I consider as subversive.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about pledging to uphold Israel as a "democratic" state?

goyisherebbe said...

I certainly agree that Israel is and should be a Jewish state, but the parallel with the American Pledge of Allegiance is not appropriate. The United States is the classic "state of all its citizens". There is no established religion or ethnicity. Almost everyone in the US except for the Native Americans, who used to be Indians (just like African Americans used to be Negroes), came (or their ancestors did) from somewhere else. We also all came to Eretz Yisrael from somewhere else, but the difference is that we are all Jews. Then there are Arabs and various small numbers of non-Jewish naturalized citizens. They all have the right to vote, but they can only marry a member of their own religious group, unlike in America. One nation under G-d doesn't say anything about which G-d or whose interpretation of it. Religious holidays here are national holidays. Minorities have no problem observing their holidays, but they are minorities. This was once the case in Europe and America, but with a difference. Stores were closed on Sunday. If you wanted to refrain from work on Shabbat, you had difficulties. The similarity in allegiance to the physical integrity of the nation only goes so far.
Let us imagine that the majority of Israel were to become non-Jewish. This will never happen, but for the sake of argument let's imagine it. We as Jews would lose our reason for having this state. It would be exactly like being under the rule of a foreign power. The majority non-Jews would see no reason for the entire Army to be kosher, the government offices to be closed on Shabbat, etc. What would remain would be that we would have an army that would protect us from physical harm -- or would it? How does the Lebanese Army protect Lebanese? Everything depends on what group you belong to. This is not Europe or America. This is the Middle East.
It is actually to the advantage of the Arabs in Israel to be under Jewish rule. They have everything they need. Their mosques are funded by the government and they are protected from crazy Islamic fanatics to some degree -- probably not enough, but much more than in any Arab country. Arabs who hold Israeli documents consider themselves fortunate and would never want to live under a Palestinian state. They might say they would like there to be one, but they certainly don't want to live there. In short, there are plenty of reasons to argue for requiring loyalty of non-Jewish citizens to a Jewish state, but it is no way parallel to America.

goyisherebbe said...

Democratic means whatever you want it to be. Communist East Germany was called the German Democratic Republic.

Batya said...

Shy, I don't worship democracy. Sin of the Spies...
goyish, good points

Anonymous said...

Sin of the spies?

More like Chet Ha'egel (sin of the golden calf).

Think about it.

Batya said...

shy, whenever the majority makes a big mistake. Sin of the spies, 10/12 and then the people voted with their tribal leaders.

goyisherebbe said...

When the people asked Shmuel HaNavi (the prophet Samuel) for a king so they could be like all the nations, Shmuel was incensed. They could have just asked for a king to provide leadership, but they asked to be like all the nations. He warned them of the pitfalls of having a king even though all the things he warned them about were the legitimate halachic powers of a king. Today it is the opposite. There are people today who want us to have a democratic state so we can be like all the nations. In the same way, a counterpart of Shmuel today could warn the people of the pitfalls of democracy, lack of leadership, pandering to the masses, the dangers of strict adherence to majority rule. Majority rule is a halachic principle, too. So is listening to the will of the people. It's just a matter of how it is applied and to what purpose. If people want a democratic government for reasons of justice under the Torah, fine. But if they want it in order to be a state of all its citizens just like all the other supposedly enlightened nations of Europe and America, not good. Anyway, enlightened Europe is about to be swallowed up by Islam, so don't get too excited.

Batya said...

True, it's a "technique" not an ideal.

Anonymous said...

Batya, whenever Jews worship something other than Hashem - in this case, democracy - it is the sin of the golden calf.

Case in point: this Jewish golem.

Batya said...

You mentioned democracy, not me.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you read the 1st paragraph of the JPost article you originally linked to.

Batya said...

Sorry Shy, forgot that...

yoni said...

batya, your grandparants wouldn't have had to make that declaration, which in any case is not a legal "loyalty oath": the part about "under god" was only added in the 50's.

Batya said...

There was an oath and history and other things to learn and pass.