Asked by GordonGeneral 🏛

“Israel is the most important part of Jewish life." Do you agree? How do I answer this?

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Yahya Abu Seido

UCL 5th Year Medical Student.

I would disagree but you’d have to be very careful with how you word yourself. The Jewish identity existed long before Israel has. Israel was founded on the ideals of Zionism and not Judaism. So whilst many Jews today may feel Israel to be important, there are also huge numbers of Jews who disagree with the the creation of Israel as its foundations are not based on Judaism but rather Zionism. Zionism is the ideology which pushes forth an agenda for Jews to be entitled to have their own country/sovereignty over a land. For Zionism to succeed Jews must be a majority in whichever land they reside in, and so the state they create must have an ethnic jewish majority. You’ll find that Zionism was actually rejected by most rabbis when Theodore Herzl proposed this idea to them in the early 1900’s, however, when Theodore tried to use Jerusalem and its link to Judaism as a main persuasive factor in his negotiations with them, some finally agreed and rallied Jews to move to the area they now call Israel (previously called Palestine under the British Mandate). Many Jews today do not identify Israel as being part of their life, or even being associated to it in any way. Some Jews would in fact deem it anti-semitic to assume that just because they are Jewish you would then assume they have a loyalty to Israel. Its important in your answer to focus on the differences between Judaism, a religion, and Zionism, a political movement.

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