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  • Статья: Израиль
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  • Аннотация:
    If we examine what is happening to the Jewish state we will be amazed not so much by the actual events taking place but perhaps more so, by the remarkable gap between the world"s expectations of Israel - the state of the Jewish people and the visible results. Why are there no more leaders left in Israel? With every election, people continue to lose hope that a leader will eventually emerge who will be able to extricate the society from crisis. All the potential leaders have already been tested in the capacity of acting prime ministers, but the persona everyone is waiting for has not even appeared on the horizon.The mystics are quick to argue that this absence of leaders has been brought down upon the Jewish nation to punish it for some kind of sins.Yet the situation is perfectly clear even without resorting to mysticism. One must simply grasp the influence of replacing Aliyah with immigration and repatriation on the formation of the Jewish elite.

  •   Diagnosis
      (What Is Hidden Behind Terminology - Immigrants, Repatriates and Olim?)
      How Words Define and Shape Israeli Realities
       If we examine what is happening to the Jewish state we will be amazed not so much by the actual events taking place but perhaps more so, by the remarkable gap between the world"s expectations of Israel - the state of the Jewish people -
      and the visible results.
       Even Israel"s greatest supporters shrug their shoulders in bewilderment, trying their best to understand Israeli realities.
       In fact, it is possible to understand "the riddle" of Israel - one need only examine more closely the terminology used to define different aspects of those realities.
       On the Significance of Definitions
       In the early 1990 when large waves of former Soviet citizens arrived to different countries around world, nobody in Israel was paying any special attention to the more or less natural terminological confusion in designating this event as it was taking place within the Jewish state.
       New Israelis sometimes called themselves immigrants, at other times repatriates or olim. Interestingly, in conversations on the subject, they frequently used this special Hebrew word - olim - to describe their former compatriots who were now new Americans.
       This seemed to make total sense. On the whole, no matter where they found refuge, people faced very similar problems - they needed a roof over their heads; they had to try and find a job, organize their children"s lives and immerse themselves into a new world - master a new language and enter a new environment, absorbing its customs.
       These real-life problems were more important for ordinary, rank-and-file people than the words they used as newcomers in referring to themselves and others like them.
       That was not really the case with academics because people in academic circles know the importance of selecting the right words very well, particularly in regards to choice of terminology. The chosen terminology expresses the essence of a phenomenon, and this determines how we perceive it. If the term we use to express the essence of a phenomenon reflects this essence precisely, the world around us acquires order in our eyes. We begin to understand surrounding reality, and this enables us to act effectively and productively in our environment.
       If, on the contrary, we use a term, which fails to express the essence of a phenomenon, we lose our ability to understand what is happening around us. We begin to see the world as a chaotic collection of random events, and, as the result, we are likely to make irrational and senseless choices, destroying the very life we are trying to build.
       But there is also a third scenario - an arrogant choice that can only be made by someone who has the insolence to believe that he is capable of forcibly and purposefully changing the very essence of a phenomenon. All one needs to do is to give this phenomenon a different name.
       Those who fled from the former Soviet Union are more familiar with this than anyone else, since they actually participated in such an experiment when Marxist-Leninist "scholars" used specially devised terminology to create their model for a new society and a new man.
       It appears that the Israeli academic circles have set themselves a similar goal. The unique word "olim", a name always used to describe Jews who had returned to the land of their ancestors, almost entirely disappeared from the vocabulary of local "scholarly minds" in recent years, replaced by the word "immigrants". More than that, they have retroactively renamed into "immigrants" even those Jews from Eastern countries who arrived in Israel in the late 1940s - early 1950s. So what are Israeli academics implying by this change of terminology?
       What Do These Different Terms Express?
       To find an answer to this question, it is important to specify exactly what the words - immigrants, repatriates and olim - designating phenomena with many similar characteristics, imply.
       "Immigrants" are people who have made a personal decision to leave their country of birth and settle among a nation to which they do not belong. Considering the complex and frequently painful experiences associated with entering a new society, i.e., immigration, there is no doubt that only those people who are disillusioned about their own nation and somewhat distrustful of it are likely to make the decision to immigrate.
       Of course, someone may question this fact and come up with various proofs testifying to the contrary. Still, the very choice he has made expresses the immigrant"s unwillingness to remain in the midst of his own nation. This explains the psychology of an immigrant, his attitude to the new society he has entered and the new society"s attitude to him.
       An immigrant tries to understand and accept the new rules, to change when necessary, to adapt to his new environment and become a part of his new nation so that he has the right to use the word "we", including himself in the nation he has joined.
       This makes total sense, because if the immigrant fails to do those things, but, instead, decided to preserve and cultivate the way of life characteristic of the nation from which he escaped, he will soon recreate his previous environment and once again find himself immersed in it.
       As for the society, which accepts him, it also has the right to demand that he conforms to its rules. As the saying goes, "when in Rome do as the Romans do". Every society is the result of the cultural and historical experience of a specific nation, and this nation cannot allow anything to undermine this experience, because it shapes the foundation of the state. If this foundation is destroyed, nobody will be able to claim ownership of the state.
       It is noteworthy that even in such a country as the United States, created by immigrants and for immigrants, there is a growing recognition that reality does not always correspond to the use of this legitimate term. The reason is quite clear: the founding fathers of the United States were bearers of the cultural and historical experience of European Protestants, and they established the state based on this experience.
       It is in "their" America that everyone wants to make their home, and those who would like it to remain the country it is should always bear this in mind.
       "Repatriates" - is another term used to designate people who have resettled in a new environment. True enough, this environment is not entirely new to them, but, rather, one that has been forgotten, because the repatriate is returning to the land of his ancestors. Repatriation has its specific characteristic that determines the relationship between the repatriate and his own nation. The nation to which the repatriate belongs lived in the lands of their common ancestors, preserved its unique identity, created its history and developed its culture.
       The nation"s destiny embodied the set of laws that determine its entire organization of life - the life of a single person as well as the life of everyone in the nation. A nation is like a tree: the roots grip the native land and get their nourishment from it.
       For many years (and frequently for several generations) a repatriate lived in foreign lands and assimilated himself to a foreign environment. While they were adjusting to that environment, repatriates were distancing themselves more and more from their own nation. Still, a repatriate always preserves ties with his own nation - genetic, cultural and historical ones. That is why a repatriate can be compared to a tree branch - no matter how far from the tree trunk the branch may find itself, it is still connected to it, which is why all the branches coming from one tree are similar to each other. The tree trunk has determined what the branch should look like. But the branch does not determine the life of the tree trunk. The same is true of a repatriate who returns to his "nourishing mother" - the land of his ancestors. His relationship with his own nation is similar to that between the branch and the tree trunk. The nation has already determined what the repatriate should be like, if he truly intends to become part of his nation. Just as the branch, he has two choices - to become acclimated or to wither. Germans from the former Soviet Union who are returning to Germany are a typical example of repatriates.
       "Olim" - is a term expressing the essence of a phenomenon that does not and cannot have an analogue.
       An oleh (m. singular) or olah (f. singular) is a Jewish person returning to the land of his/her ancestors. "Oleh" means "to ascend" in Hebrew, because one can only ascend to the Promised Land. On the contrary, someone who emigrates from Israel, is called a "yored" - a Jew who goes down, comes down, descends, because one cannot leave, one can only "descend" from the Promised Land.
       An oleh returns to his national home from which the entire Jewish people has been absent for 2,000 years. Therefore, there is not and cannot be any group that considers itself to be the native people in this national home and that could legitimately claim that while the oleh was absent for the past 2,000 years, it - this group - remained in the ancestral land, preserved the people"s national identity, created national history and developed national culture.
       The Jewish people preserved, created and developed all this in the Diaspora, living parallel lives among other nations and not in the land of their ancestors.
       It was only a 100 years ago that the Jewish people have gradually begun their return to their homeland. The goal of their return was to once again take root in their native land and turn into that independent nation which is capable of preserving, creating and developing the land and itself, without trying to blend in or adjust to anyone.
       This unique process of the renewed formation of an eternal people has a unique name: it is called "kibbutz galuyot" - the ingathering of exiles. That is why in our case there is nobody and could not be anybody who could say: "I represent the tree trunk and you, oleh, are only a tiny branch." In our case, every person returns to the homeland to become a part of the tree trunk, claiming a portion of the commonly shared land where he too could grow roots.
       And there is nobody who could assume that an oleh, like a branch, has only two choices - to become acclimated or to wither - and refuse him his rights.
       True Olim
       As we can see, the uniqueness of the Jewish destiny is expressed by appropriate terminology.
       There is no analogue to the terms "oleh" (plural "olim") and "kibbutz galuyot" (the ingathering of the dispersed people in the land of their ancestors). And this circumstance presupposes a unique process for the formation of a new society and the creation of a unique state, without an analogue in the world.
       But we, Jews, did not burden ourselves with thoughts about the kind of state we would like Israel to be. We simply imitated our national state from the Europeans. This expressed itself in the total confusion of used terminology.
       At the initial stage of rebuilding the state this was not obvious. Every builder of the state felt that he was a true oleh, since there was no group in the land of his ancestors that alleged to belong to the native people (the dispersed Jewish communities that already existed there could not lay claims to such a role).
       The oleh tilled the land and built new schools and settlements, creating the foundations for government institutions and the system of self-defense. After 2000 years of being restricted by others, the oleh finally breathed the air of freedom. "Productivity and creativity" became his motto, and no matter what kind of work he engaged in - he always acted according to this motto.
       In spite of all the difficulties the first olim encountered, circumstances were favorable to them. The Zionist authorities who were collecting funds from the Diaspora Jews for the needs of the builders of the new state had their headquarters in Europe. Only those representatives of the authorities who were invested in seeing the halutsim (pioneers) productive and creative acted in the land of ancestors.
       That is why this generation of true olim gave birth to so many outstanding personalities, who assured the success of the initial efforts and to this day remain in the memory of descendants as the founders of the state and bearers of its ideals.
       True Israelis
       The trend, which showed the olim turning into repatriates, became increasingly more apparent with every new generation. Now living in the land of their ancestors, later generations of olim soon discovered the existence of another group of Jews, no different from them, but laying claim to the role of "the native people". Assuming the role of the main preservers and identifiers of holy national symbols and places, they took it upon themselves to develop the set of rules, which all newcomers were supposed to abide by as repatriates.
       No one paid any special attention to this transformation of olim into repatriates, since the situation was taken more or less for granted. This, however, was the beginning of the process that is responsible for the current condition of the Jewish state and its society.
       The gradual transformation of the new olim into repatriates is linked directly to another, this time unofficial term - "true Israelis". The very appearance of this expression reflects the established conviction that the formation of the native people in Israel has already been completed.
       True Israelis have a number of main characteristics: they were born in Israel; Hebrew is their native language; they share different memories, starting with their first childhood games in the backyard; they share family friendships, which began at a time when their grandmothers and grandfathers were building Tel Aviv and other settlements...
       This is quite a lot, considering the importance of everything the founding fathers of Israel accomplished when they laid down the foundations of the state.
       But this is clearly not sufficient for their descendants to assume themselves to be the native people, bearers of the national identity, creators of the nation"s history and culture. It is clearly not enough for them to receive repatriates in that capacity, and to take over the process of their absorption, something officially endorsed in Israel.
       This allocation of roles is the result of the nation"s illusory vision of reality.
       Who Built the Jewish State?
       Let us imagine for a moment that the founding fathers and their descendants stayed in the settlements they created, on their fields and plantations, with their factories, learning institutions, etc.!
       Let us imagine that the people did not show any support for their undertaking!
       What kind of state would we be talking about then?
       Everything that they started would have deteriorated before it had a chance to grow and strengthen, and, sooner or later, it would have wasted away altogether.
       Precisely because this was clear form the beginning, the founding fathers of the state fought with such determination for the Aliyah already far back then, while opponents of the state fought with equal determination against the Aliyah. Later, after Israel became a sovereign state, true Israelis always urged Jews to make Aliyah, because they needed and still need to ensure the continued participation of all the Jewish people in the destiny of the Jewish state.
       The reason behind such interest in the Aliyah is that true Israelis never were, not could they be the tree trunk, compared to which all other Jews arriving to Israel are merely branches - repatriates without whom the tree trunk could easily exist.
       In reality, a true Israeli has always been only a seedling, which was supposed to strengthen and nurture the whole nation.
       The state was rebuilt by the collective efforts of the entire people. It is important to emphasize that the diversity of the experience amassed by the people in the Diaspora was essential for the success of these efforts.
       What Jews from Western Europe could do for the state, particularly the emancipated German Jews and later Jews from the United States, Jews from Eastern Europe could not have done without them, because they had no experience of functioning within the framework of a modern state. At the same time, one could not expect from the well-off Western Jews (who were urged to leave their homes and a familiar lifestyle by Hitler"s rise to power) the same kind of personal enthusiasm and readiness for self-sacrifice that was demonstrated by Jews from Eastern Europe.
       The powerful wave of Aliyah from Germany- the most elite segment of the Jewish people - completely changed the situation in the 1930s. This influx of German Jews not only resolved the acute demographic crisis but also brought with it essential cultural experience which was previously missing. Without such experience, the state would have been unable to move forward and get on its feet even if it faced no opposition.
       The situation has not changed to this day, which we can see for ourselves. We observed the state making an enormous leap forward in its development solely due to the tremendous wealth of experience the Jews acquired in former socialist countries. The Israeli economy diversified and reached new heights after a large number of highly qualified Jewish professionals arrived in Israel from the Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, and other countries, turning Israel into an economically advanced state. We must bear in mind that these olim did not become qualified professionals thanks to true Israelis and the development of their experience.
       The experience of these olim took shape independently, and this process went parallel to the experience of true Israelis.
       All this rebuffs the prevailing conviction that true Israelis were the ones who built the Jewish state. The point is that they simply could not have done it on their own, simply by developing their own experience.
       The state was built by the concerted efforts of the Jewish people.
       Nevertheless, the substitution of the term "repatriates" for the term "olim", which the nation accepted without notable dissent, indicates that it has formed a different notion and believes that true Israelis are indeed the builders of the state, something that is not in any way confirmed by reality.
       Such erroneous conclusions always have consequences.
       For a better understanding of the issue let us compare two states - Germany which is opening its doors to Germans from the former Soviet Union and accepting them as repatriates and Israel which has reinterpreted the notion of former Soviet Jews as olim by referring to them as repatriates.
       The German nation took shape long ago, and it is long been self-sufficient. Everything that has made Germany an advanced state developed gradually through the efforts of the entire nation, and the whole nation assimilated it as a commonly shared heritage.
       That is why no matter what experience the German repatriate brings with him to the land of his ancestors, he is bound to find among the native people something analogous to his own experience. As a patriot, he would probably love to be of great service to his newly found homeland, and he may have a burning desire to enrich it with his own experience. But with all this he cannot fail to understand that a country such as Germany does not really need this kind of input.
       In Israel, such an entity as the native people has yet to be formed. True Israelis cannot be considered native people because they are not self-sufficient. Everything that turned Israel into an advanced state was borrowed from the experience of other nations. The Jewish people simply adopted these elements of experience while they were living among other nations and transferred them to their own state.
       That is why the oleh who arrives in Israel strives to do more than organize his own life in the best possible way as an immigrant or repatriate. The oleh has an entirely different psychological motive - he is eager to make his own contribution to the national treasure.
       His motivation becomes even stronger when he discovers how many areas of life still need to be developed, areas where his specific experience could be valuable to the state. He assumes that the true Israeli, or the one whom the state has trusted to represent him, pursues the same goal - to use his potential for the thriving of the state they share together.
       He is mistaken in his assumption because the true Israeli, who imagines himself to be a representative of the native people, has no doubt about the self-sufficiency of his own experience.
       Proposing his own experience as a special Israeli standard, he has no idea what a narrow standard that is. He does not understand how much it misses of the tremendous experience, which the nation amassed due to its life in the Diaspora and introduced, through shared efforts, into its own state.
       The personal experience of the true Israeli is incomparably more limited compared to the tremendous experience of the entire nation.
       The incompatibility of these two types of experience is not a drawback in itself. It is only a special feature of the unique phenomenon of kibbutz galuyot - the unique process of the renewed formation of an eternal people that has no analogue in his history.
       But if this phenomenon - kibbutz galuyot - is incorrectly interpreted, moreover, if it is distorted by renaming Aliyah into repatriation and immigration, this special feature becomes something far worse than a mere drawback.
       It turns into a major flaw.
       One can understand exactly how this happens by following the line of reasoning suggested here.
      What has happened to the Jewish state?
       The problem lies right at the core, the very foundation on which the Jewish state is built.
       For the moment, it manifests itself in a host of disparate symptoms that everyone tries - out of habit - to analogize to the experiences of other peoples, hoping in this manner to find a solution for the concrete issues that seem to arise constantly.
       But whatever is happening to the Jewish state has nothing in common with the experiences of other peoples. The phenomena of Israeli life that give rise to these purportedly resolvable problems are, in fact, the symptoms of a malignant tumor. This tumor threatens all of the organs of the state"s organism, an organism that might otherwise have been a healthy and thriving one.
       Yet the nation won"t stand a chance even of diagnosing its own condition, until it recognizes the consequences of trading in the unique Aliyah for a hodge-podge immigration and repatriation copied from other nations.
       At the same time, a diagnosis must be made before it is too late.
       And to make a diagnosis, one must behave the way people do in critical situations: reject the easy labels, cast aside preconceived notions, break through the limitations, and not be afraid to ask the most piercing questions - questions that are already being asked by people who, for various reasons, manifest a heightened and not always a friendly interest in the destiny of the Jewish people.
       Question 1. Why are there no more leaders left in Israel?
       With every election, people continue to lose hope that a leader will eventually emerge who will be able to extricate the society from crisis. All the potential leaders have already been tested in the capacity of acting prime ministers, but the persona everyone is waiting for has not even appeared on the horizon.
       The mystics are quick to argue that this absence of leaders has been brought down upon the Jewish nation to punish it for some kind of sins.
       Yet the situation is perfectly clear even without resorting to mysticism. One must simply grasp the influence of replacing Aliyah with immigration and repatriation on the formation of the Jewish elite.
       Imagining themselves to be the "title nation", the true Israelis have developed the consciousness of the natural elite of Israeli society - an elite by right of birth.
       Yet a birthright is simply not reason enough for the existence of an elite. It is also critical for the elite to be able to perform the functions that are expected of it. Otherwise, an elite by right of birth slowly disappears and, consequently, cannot be the milieu that will produce leaders for the people.
       A natural elite will be the repository of those ideals that unite a given society. It represents the creative force of the society: by generating various forms of activity, it would help the society grow and develop. Finally, an elite is an organizing force in the society since its most important role is to create a system whereby all of the members of the society interact with and complement one another.
       In this sense, already the founding fathers of Israeli society constituted a fairly problematic elite.
       They were unquestionably the bearers of ideals - ideals concerning the building of a socialist society, based on individual labor.
       Yet the people as a whole did not share these ideals. The large Diaspora supported their endeavor only because the centuries-old tradition taught the people to support those Jews who decided to settle in the land of their ancestors. And the situation remains much the same to this day - the Diaspora supports the Jewish state without showing any particular interest in the ideology of its citizens.
       It was not the ideals of the founding fathers that prompted the Jews to abandon their homes and familiar lives but the acute rise in anti-Semitism during the twentieth century - the biggest Aliyah in the period before Israel became a state, the Fifth Aliyah, arrived from Germany after Hitler came to power. A massive Aliyah likewise arrived from Arab countries after the Israeli state was declared because Jews were starting to be perceived as a fifth column in those countries. The last wave of Aliyah from the former Soviet Union rose in response to the break-up of that state.
       None of this has anything to do with the ideals of the founding fathers. More than that, it has nothing to do with the "ideals" of the true Israelis, since they themselves not only rejected the ideals of their fathers and grandfathers long ago, but also laughed them out of existence to boot.
       It is clear that the true Israelis simply cannot be the bearers of those ideals that will unify the nation. They do not possess any such ideals.
       Nor can the true Israelis fulfill the functions of the elite by demonstrating their capacity to further develop the society.
       Even those Jews who belonged to the generation that built the infrastructure of the future state during the period of the British mandate were not true originators but only the carriers of the knowledge and the skills that they acquired among other nations. During the existence of the Israeli state, the situation has not changed much, as was already explained above, and the proof of this is evident in the final wave of Aliyah from the former Soviet Union. These Jews brought to the country the knowledge and the skills they acquired in their country of origin. And the true Israelis received all this readymade - they didn"t have to lift a finger for it.
       But the clearest proof of this notion comes from those Jews who never acquired in their countries of origin the knowledge and the skills necessary to life in a modern state. For this reason, they remain a difficult demographic for the state up to the present day. And it isn"t because they are incapable of learning all that is necessary but because the true Israelis - not being a creative elite - are not capable of teaching them.
       The founding fathers were also problematic as organizers of the state. The majority of them arrived in the land of their ancestors from provincial shtetls in the so-called Pale of Settlement along the periphery of the Russian empire, where they obviously could not have gained any experience as political actors.
       The state-building was instead conducted by experienced Englishmen in keeping with the mandate of the League of Nations, just as they had done in all of their colonies.
       But if these first generations of state leaders could still copy their European teachers, they certainly could not cement a tradition of ruling the state on a foundation of imitation. It is natural, therefore, that they had nothing to pass onto the true Israelis, their children and grandchildren, who, in their capacity as a natural elite, could have carried on and developed the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers, if such a tradition existed.
       That is why the true Israelis wound up in a far worse position than that of the founding fathers.
       On the one hand, they could no longer benefit from the source of the experiences of the advanced nations, which taught their fathers and grandfathers, since that experience could be obtained only while remaining inside that culture. The true Israelis, for their part, were born and raised on the land of their ancestors, where this critical experience was lacking.
       On the other hand, they could not make use of traditional Jewish experience because this was the experience of life in a closed community, and it had nothing to do with the Jewish state.
       Once we recognize the uniqueness of the situation in which the true Israelis find themselves, it becomes possible to diagnose to the two main qualities they possess that deprive the people of any hope that a true leader of the Jewish people can emerge from their midst.
       The first of these qualities is insufficient civilization development.
       This is not at all meant to be an insult. It is the diagnosis of an illness, that true Israelis had no choice but to succumb to, once the notion of Aliyah was replaced by immigration and repatriation.
       This illness is caused by the inequality in the development of Jews in the Diaspora, who continue to live among other nations, and the population of true Israelis, who created their own environment in the land of their ancestors.
       Thus, while the Jews in the Diaspora, in deciding various problems as the citizens of modern states, have formed a conception of the world befitting their citizenship, true Israelis, who have come of age in the land of their ancestors, where the core problems of survival need to be resolved, have also formed the corresponding world conception - a conception of people belonging to an "ishuv", or pre-state settlement.
       Deprived of the experience of living in a modern state, true Israelis have quite instinctually recreated the traditional shtetl on the basis of the only form of life the Jews had - the experience of living in a closed community.
       This is apparent from the way that true Israelis think and act.
       In order to become fully cognizant of this, one must remember how Jews in the shtetl thought and acted within the restrictions of traditional community life.
       The main problem for the Jewish community was the problem of procuring money. And this is natural, since a people without land could only buy its right to exist with money. The procurement of money was also the key goal for satisfying all the needs within the community: building a synagogue, a mikvah, supplying kosher food, writing a scroll of the Torah, providing for the poor and the sick, etc.
       The community did not resolve problems critical to the development of a state. It was the job of the nation, in whose midst the Jewish community existed.
       The problem is that this is the way that true Israelis think and act in trying to resolve problems at the state level, using the same methods that were used to solve problems in traditional Jewish communities. They also believe that all problems are decided with infusions of money. They continue to believe that even though the experience of many peoples who have prospered thanks to substantial natural resources proves that there are a lot of things that cannot be bought. Among these are traditions and cultural capital.
       The consequences of the government elite failing to understand such fundamental things are apparent in the crisis that has engulfed the Israeli educational system.
       True Israelis don"t recognize that the prior accomplishments of this system were made possible exclusively thanks to the achievements of individual Jews who brought with them ready knowledge and skills from developed countries. Yet tradition cannot be created on the basis of imitation, just as it is impossible to look for experience to a national educational system, consisting of heders and yeshivas, which excludes instruction in the "unholy" exact and natural sciences.
       This is exactly the kind of tradition that explains why the majority of the population lacks any motivation to educate itself in areas that are "unholy" in the Jewish tradition and why the teaching vocation is held in such low esteem by the whole society.
       There is thus nothing surprising about the fact that the true Israelis themselves - having spent the cultural capital they brought with them from the Diaspora and not having the ability to lean on their own tradition - created methods and conceptions that ensure that the much touted Jewish brains are disappearing from the Jewish state on a daily basis. Only now is it becoming clear that these brains exhibit their true potential only in the midst of a foreign culture.
       In Israel, everyone has grown tired of hearing about the great reforms of the educational system - every government has supported it. But the whole reform amounts to nothing more than financial reorganization. The "reformers" are unable to grasp the core problem - the lack of tradition. They hope that a more efficient use of funds will enable them to resolve the system-wide problems by injecting good specialists into the educational sphere.
       But all of these hopes are in vain.
       First of all, the fact that the people as a whole lack tradition means that each individual member of that group likewise lacks tradition, no matter how much you offer to pay him. That"s why there won"t be any specialists coming to the rescue - they don"t exist, and why would they? This is all the more true when we are talking about pedagogy, which is more closely tied to the tradition of the people and their psychology than any other field. It is indicative that the nation has not even been able to retain whatever arrived ready-made from the Diaspora.
       Second, the lack of tradition makes itself known not only in the educational system, but in every other sphere as well. Tradition is equally lacking in the training of the police, for instance, which is why the society can no longer count on "my police protecting me." Things have gotten so dire than even the highest levels of the officer corps lack the preparation needed to do their job, something that the last war in Lebanon made all too clear.
       But where would this preparation come from if military leaders, having barely finished a tour duty, rush into the private sector to make money instead of working within their own field to strengthen and develop the state?
       An infusion of additional funding into the system is not the answer to solving all of these state-level problems. It is the motivation of the people to create, strengthen, and develop its cultural tradition in various spheres that plays the pivotal role in resolving problems. The Jews themselves confirm the critical importance of this motivation in their attitude toward Orthodox culture.
       But true Israelis lack the motivation to maintain, strengthen, and develop the cultural capital that has been acquired through the hard work of generations living amongst other nations of the world, because they believe that they "built the state" by themselves and so have convinced themselves that everything works out just fine if they improvise.
       Third, true Israelis don"t recognize the intrinsic value of the non-monetizable cultural capital that they are used to receiving ready-made from the Diaspora. The problem lies in the fact that they don"t augment this cultural capital but deplete it, using it exclusively to enhance their own wellbeing, in the hope that it will continue to be delivered uninterrupted in the future. After all, that"s exactly what happened in the past, for instance when the Soviet Union fell apart.
       Given this kind of attitude toward this irreplaceable capital, the money will run out sooner or later.
       Finally, it is this glorification of money as a panacea that will save the society from all its ills - and not the "Arab problem" - that represents the cause of the pathological politicization of society. Vast numbers of people vie to take part in politics, not so they can benefit the state, but so they can play a role in allocating the money.
       Therein lies the definition of the political culture of true Israelis; these are political leaders who surround themselves not with likeminded leaders but with stakeholders.
       The insufficient civilization development also explains the situation that true Israelis have created within their government.
       It is not fortuitous that the people started calling it the "Tel Aviv state." The people themselves have determined the absence of vision in the people who have managed, in fact, to recreate a shtetl on the land of their ancestors.
       Without understanding this, it is impossible to grasp, for example, what is happening in the city of Sderot, which is being subjected to constant fire from the Gaza strip. This absurdity is often explained in the terms of some particularly sophisticated policy, high-minded restraint, or finally, humanitarian considerations.
       But the true explanation lies in another sphere entirely: the city of Sderot simply lies outside the boundaries of the world that true Israelis consider their own. One citizen of the "Tel Aviv state" asked a rhetorical question: "Who lives there anyway?" What she meant was that the people who live there are not "our people" - they are immigrants and repatriates, those who fled from Arab countries and the former Soviet republics. Sadly, everyone understood what she meant.
       Of course, the situation in Sderot is not the whole issue. The problem is that true Israelis won"t have control over the situation anywhere as long as they continue to live as in a shtetl: everything outside the realm of my little world has nothing to do with me.
       In the South, Bedouins are settling the Negev and engaging in racketeering at the population"s expense; in the North, more and more Arabs are turning into opponents of the state; even the Druze, who were historically loyal subjects of the state, have started to mutiny. But the true Israeli lives as though things that take place a few miles away from his house are actually happening on another planet.
       The sheer scope of the problems that national minorities face in Israel is simply beyond the true Israeli"s capacity to understand. And is it really all that surprising if he cannot understand even the problems of that part of the population that he so hurriedly wrote off as immigrants and repatriates?
       Everyone loses patience, sensing that the problems will never be resolved, because all the resolutions come down to nothing more than the distribution of money.
       The true Israelis" ability to keep cool in this sea of passions is often explained by the fact that the state has been at war for the entire duration of its existence. That is supposedly why its citizens have learned not to react to each and every incident.
       It stands to reason that a permanent state of war affects the mentality of every Jew who ties his fate with the Jewish state. But that"s not the whole story. The point is that the true Israeli"s attitude toward the future resembles the attitude of a Jew living in a shtetl.
       The traditional Jew had only a very murky vision of the future - someday the Messiah will come and everything will be good. Yet when it came to real, ordinary life, the Jew lived pretty much in the present day. And that"s understandable - the host country could shift overnight from being kindly disposed to hostile, and this would bring with it pogroms and even expulsion
       The founding fathers of the state transformed their faith in a messianic future into faith in an ideal, exemplary society that they were going to build. But reality also forced them to live exclusively in the present.
       The true Israeli completely lacks any notion of "tomorrow." He is not waiting for the Messiah; nor is he building an ideal, exemplary society. He is just living in the moment in a "post-Zionist" era of his own imagination.
       He resolves all problems in his relations with the Arabs accordingly - the true Israeli needs "peace today," so give him peace right at this moment.
       He behaved no differently when he left Lebanon and Gaza in a rush, solving the problem that stood before him that very day, without the slightest notion of what the next would bring. Consequences in the form of "Hezbollah" and HAMAS were not far behind.
       Accordingly, over the entire course of the state"s existence the true Israeli welcomed the olim: the most important thing was to bring them over and to feed them. What shape the society would take and what it would look like in the future were questions that did not concern him - somehow it would work itself out.
       He shaped the network of industrial enterprises and institutions in the same fashion: professionals and specialists were ready to take charge and help solve local problems.
       But the true Israeli never gave a moment"s thought to creating a system that would allow these specialists to interact with each other or that would be capable of generating replacements for them. That is why the specialists, who are now approaching retirement age, are sounding the alarm: who will man the ship after they"re gone? Even the business people have starting talking about the problem: they are ready to invest money, but they"re confronting a shortage of qualified workers. Even the high-tech sector is likely to require an influx of specialists from abroad, and all for the same reason - a lack of vision and perspective. And this after a massive Aliyah from the former Soviet Union.
       It should come as little surprise then that thanks to the true Israelis the domestic situation in their state has devolved into systemic crisis.
       Yet the problems of the Jewish state are not limited to what the true Israelis have wrought within its borders. Having turned the state into a shtetl, they"ve managed to drive into a dead end in the international sphere.
       One doesn"t need to be a great sage to be cognizant of how problematic the Jews" existence among various peoples of the world is. The creation of the Jewish state did not definitely resolve the "Jewish question" as Hertzl and his followers had hoped. In some sense, the problem has even grown more acute.
       Nonetheless, the creation of the Jewish state has undoubtedly changed the lay of the land. And this leads inexorably to the thought that the traditional interconnection among Jews has taken on a new shape, in the form of the connection between the Diaspora and the state of Israel.
       And this form requires new approaches, new ideas.
       Yet it is clear from the entrenched status quo that there has been no innovation at all. The relationship between the Diaspora and the state is based on two fundamentally traditional ideas.
       First: all Jews are responsible for one another. That is why, on the one hand, the state cannot exist without the Diaspora, and on the other hand, the Diaspora is interested in the state"s well-being, at least to ensure that it has a potential place of refuge. Second: Jews all over the world, in their capacity as citizens of different states, can provide Israel with support.
       And that"s it?
       One need look no farther than the situation that has taken shape in the "global village," and the ideas come to mind of their own accord.
       In the contemporary world, almost all nations find themselves in a position analogous to Jews, since today they, like Jews, have their own Diasporas. The only difference is that the Jews have always had a Diaspora but no state, whereas the nations of the world have always had states but no Diaspora dispersed all of over the world. They have Diasporas now only thanks to the advent of globalization.
       And this means that a great number of people live in the contemporary world who, just as the Jews, are viscerally interested in seeing two countries flourish: the state of their ethnic origin and the state of which they are now citizens. They are interested in seeing the latter succeed because they live in it, work in it, raise their children in it. They are interested in seeing the former succeed not only because, as a rule, their relatives live there, but also because their own personal prestige in large part depends on the prestige of that state. No one wants to carry the stigma of a failed nation.
       This situation is so unprecedented that it can"t help but change the very principles of diplomacy. Classic diplomacy was based on the interrelationships between unified communities of people who are fundamentally alien to one another - it was this dynamic that determined the particularities of the work that diplomats engaged in everywhere and always.
       The formation of vast Diasporas changes the scenario.
       Today, the people themselves are personally, and not just professionally, invested in the cooperation of different states. Possessing a hybrid mentality themselves, they recognize the possibilities such cooperation opens up and are able to be the carriers of cultural experience who can help establish mutual understanding among nations not by means of separate, preplanned events, but on the basis of constant individual contacts with people, etc.
       One need only find the broadest base for cooperation between the Diaspora and the state-metropolis for every nation to be able to organize itself from within. (Incidentally, those who plan terrorist attacks with the goal of undermining states have already understood this.)
       Here, like in no other field, Jews might have stepped up as innovators in establishing their own school of diplomacy. It is precisely in knowing how to organize a scattered Diaspora in order to achieve broad national goals that the Jews have shown unprecedented talent over the past 2000 years.
       They might have . . . if the diplomacy of the Jewish state were not in the hands of the true Israelis.
       The behavior of the Jewish state"s representatives in the international arena is just as perplexing as their actions within the country.
       Why is the prestige of the Jewish state falling in the eyes of the world? Why have the opponents of the state been so successful in erecting a malign image of Israel, and why has the diplomatic corps of the Jewish state been powerless to stop them?
       And once again, people try to explain the behavior of the diplomatic corps as the implementation of a strange, secret plans orchestrated by some intelligent Jews. Yet the real explanation is much simpler: true Israelis have failed in international relations, too, because the people have no tradition of international relations to draw upon, and the "title nation"s" false sense of self-sufficiency deprives them of the last drop of motivation to sow the seeds of a new tradition.
       We need only recall the situation surrounding the supposed death of the Arab boy, Mohammed al-Dura in order to understand what the true Israelis have to offer as representatives of the Jewish state before the international community.
       Mohammed al-Dura became the symbol of the intifada in 2000 because the mass media were trumpeting the "news" that Israeli soldiers had executed the child in cold blood. Yet the investigation of experts, and not only Israeli ones, revealed that these accusations were false: the Israeli soldiers were shooting at such an angle that the boy could not have been in the zone of fire.
       A persistent French Jewish journalist - Philippe Carsenti turned up who demanded in court for the channel France-2 to broadcast all of the footage so that the viewers could see that the scene of the boy"s death had been fabricated.
       The reaction of the court, that rejected the journalist"s complaint, is quite telling: why is the journalist so concerned, if the Jewish state itself isn"t getting involved or demanding that justice be restored.
       No one who is familiar with true Israelis from personal experience should be surprised by their handling of this affair. In all international issues, they prove themselves to be people of the "ishuv", the pre-state Jewish community. They constantly confirm the prescient words of Henry Kissinger who said that Israel has no foreign policy, just a domestic one.
       True Israelis have no concept of what the international community"s opinion might be because they are used to exchanging opinions only with one another. They grew up in an atmosphere where they knew of anti-Semitism only from stories. They do not understand the way an anti-Semite thinks, or the depth of his conviction, in the way that Jews of the Diaspora understand it. That"s why they don"t realize that a fabricated montage such as this one could be the spark that ignites a flame. And so they act accordingly.
       No one prepares true Israelis for diplomatic service. And the issue is not even that there aren"t schools of diplomacy but that the whole educational system treats as core a subject for the formation of world views as history, as a useless appendage to those subjects that will someday help the students earn money.
       Come to think of it, could a people that has lived based on legends for 2,000 years even have a different attitude toward history?
       But the provincial limitations of true Israelis are only half the problem.
       The critical piece is that true Israelis have created in their international relations a "diplomacy" of the shtetl, which is the equivalent of suicide, under the prevailing rules of state existence.
       In order to understand what is happening here, we must remember what traditional Jewish "diplomacy" in the Diaspora looked like.
       The landless Jews were dependent on the caprice of the rulers of those nations in whose midst the Jews lived. This explains why this "diplomacy" was always built on three pillars.
       A key feature of "Jewish diplomacy" in the Diaspora was the dependence on the personal attitude of the ruler toward the Jews.
       Although personal relationships with the elite have played a tremendous role always and everywhere, the Jews, who lived among other nations, had their own specific dynamic. It took no more than a new "Pharaoh who doesn"t know Joseph" and the benign attitude of the old ruler could shift, like the weather at sea, not just to dislike but to virulent hatred on the part of the new ruler.
       Examples abound.
       The relationships among states are built on a fundamentally different premise: reciprocal self-interest. That is why building foreign policy exclusively on the personal attitude of one ruler or another to a different state is categorically unacceptable.
       Yet, it is impossible, in assessing the Jewish state"s standing on the international scene, not to take into the account the problematic nature of the Jews" existence among the nations of the world.
       The return of the Jews to the land of their forefathers after 2,000 years of absence, predicted by the prophets, is an event of world magnitude. It cannot be reduced simply to a mutually beneficial trade arrangement (you can always change the partner), or even to a strategic partnership (the strategy can always change).
       Thus, in order for the nations of the world to make their peace with the existence of Israel, they need to develop a need for its existence.
       But true Israelis don"t understand this. That is why, as people of the shtetl, they view all their diplomacy as consisting of nothing more than personal interrelationships. As in the times when Jews were dispersed all over the world, they make use of the fact that there are enough rulers in the world, who for various reasons are personally sympathetic to the plight of the Jewish state.
       So what of it?
       Can that really be the basis on which the Jewish state will build long-term relationships with other states? A Jewish community that leaves any time the local moods change can build its relationships in this manner. But a state can"t be nomadic.
       True enough, President Bush, thanks to his personal religious conviction has a special attitude toward Israel. That is why true Israelis are constantly jabbering about especially close relations with the United States. They think that these relations will stay the same for the rest of their lives.
       But even today we can recognize the first signs of a "Pharaoh who doesn"t know Joseph." We need look no further than the new anti-Israeli elite being molded at American universities in order to understand how untenable it is to connect the policies of a state to interpersonal relationships with one leader or another.
       And the problem is not limited to the United States.
       The current generation of true Israelis refuses to let go of the subject of the Holocaust on which they build their policies in the hope that the whole world will continue to beg the Jews" forgiveness for the death of 6,000,000.
       But we can see the tell-tale signs of a new "Pharaoh who doesn"t know Joseph."
       The new generation of Europeans have different problems. They feel no guilt before the Jews, because they were not the ones who killed them. At the same time, they see that the Holocaust of the European Jewry has been transformed into the symbol of the struggle with the natural desire of every people to defend the territory of its forefathers from the destructive influence of immigrants. And from this Europeans draw a natural inference: we are losing control over the situation in our own country because of the Jews and their fight against "xenophobia."
       Sooner or later, they will place the blame for the chaos that has engulfed their own states on the "politics of the Holocaust."
       Today, we can see only the first signs of the future burst of indignation. For the moment, the old ruling elite is able to contain the indignation. But a new elite will come to power, an elite that will react to all talk of the Holocaust with nothing but rage.
       What then?
       True Israelis don"t sense the disaster that"s just around the bend. They enjoy that they are being coddled in the here and now, that today there are still leaders who connect the Holocaust with them, despite the fact that until recently the true Israelis were busy contrasting themselves with European Jews who, in their estimation, went to the gas chambers like sheep.
       They think that their current position will last forever. But the age of repentance is coming to an end. And with it all the "diplomacy" of the true Israelis.
       Another peculiarity of "Jewish diplomacy," defined by the dependencies of a people in exile, was the defense of the interests of fellow Jews in the countries they inhabited. And here, the reason is obvious: Jews who found themselves in more favorable situations tried to help their less fortunate brethren, if only because they could imagine finding themselves in a position where they would similarly need help.
       Yet lobbying on behalf of another state threatens the possibility of competing interests. And that means that the lobbyists could always be accused of double loyalties.
       But true Israelis earnestly depend on the Israeli lobby. And here is the result - there are already hints being spread that Jews are foisting inadvisable foreign policies on the American people in order to benefit Israel.
       Right now, we can hear only the disparate voices, just a few individuals writing articles and books. But we can already get a glimpse of future accusations that it was Jews who pulled the Americans into the wars they are waging in the Middle East.
       Finally, "Jewish diplomacy" in exile had one more peculiarity - the institute of shtadlanut (private diplomacy).
       Shtadlanut efforts played an indispensable role in the lives of the Jewish people over the course of many centuries, representing the interest of the community to the authorities. The role of these Jewish emissaries was particularly significant when the community faced various types of threats.
       A shtadlan (intercessor) was a Jew, capable of acting in the non-Jewish outside world because he had the requisite statute, connections, knowledge, and capabilities - qualities that the average member of the community not only did not have, but was not even allowed to possess.
       The ordinary Jew of the shtetl had no right to resolve his personal problems with the non-Jewish authorities. He could only do this through the intercession of a shtadlan.
       This role of liaison officers and negotiator elevated shtadlans over the masses and guaranteed them not only a higher status and money, but also the right to live according to special rules. It is natural that their attitude toward the rest of the people was shaped accordingly.
       If we look closely at how the people of Israel were sold the Oslo Accords, it is easy to see that the instigators of this ill-fated venture were acting just like the traditional shtadlans from the shtetl.
       A small group that was never elected or endowed with this level of authority, elevated itself above the people and assigned to itself the right to act according to its own rules and in violation of the laws of the state. In essence, this group took on the role of the shtadlans only because it had connections in the outside world with those who were interested in the legitimization of Arafat and "the Palestinian people."
       In all this, no one was evening denying that the work of the Israeli shtadlans on behalf of the state was being paid for from overseas.
       The citizens of the state understood perfectly well the absurdity of the grand vision propagated by the instigators of "the peace process," and their predictions of how events would turn out were fully confirmed. But the self-proclaimed shtadlans looked upon the people the way they always had in the shtetl - as a brainless herd of second class citizens that had no right to determine its own destiny.
       The nation paid for the results of their "diplomacy" with thousands of people dead and maimed. And this is only the beginning of the tragedy that will play out in the future.
       In this regard, the traditional shtadlans from the days of exile were principally different from the self-proclaimed shtadlans of the Jewish state.
       The Jews in exile truly needed the services of the traditional shtadlans, who often performed functions that were vitally necessary for the people to survive. But who needs the shtadlans of the state, people who, due to their insufficient civilization development not only pulled their own people into a vicious cycle of Death and Destruction, but also introduced chaos into international politics?
       Thus, the problems created by the true Israelis are not limited to the fact that they turned out to be completely incapable of creating a new Jewish diplomacy, using the opportunities that the nation possesses, or even giving the Jewish nation just one useful, creative idea.
       Things are actually much worse than that - the true Israelis have managed to recreate a "diplomacy" of the shtetl that is completely incompatible with the existence of a state, and thereby to endanger not only the citizens of the state but the Diaspora Jews as well.
       We can therefore see some clearly defined alarming symptoms that legitimately lead us to diagnose Israeli society as being civilizationally underdeveloped. This insufficient civilization development is the result of 2000 years of life in the Diaspora, which deprived the Jewish people of any experience needed to build a state of their own.
       Such insufficient civilization development could have been easily overcome, considering the ability of the Jewish people to self-regenerate, which was proved so many times throughout history. But this could happen only if the Jewish people took into account the specifics of their unique history while they were engaged in building Israeli society. Drawing the right conclusions from their experience would have prevented Jews from making one crucial mistake. It was the grave mistake of gradually replacing the Aliyah with immigration and repatriation.
       Regretfully, the Jewish people did not take into account the uniqueness of their history. As a result, the true Israelis developed another quality that may also warrant a diagnosis - it is called inadequacy.
       Their inadequacy also has a genetic origin. The true Israelis "inherited" this inadequacy from the Jewish people themselves who raised them to believe, first, in socialist ideals; second, in Israelis as a new population of supermen, who would embody the most positive qualities of the Jewish people and would be free of all the negative ones; and, third, in the possibility to achieve political "normality" for the Jewish state through cooperation with other countries.
       Belief in socialist ideas, which the founders of the nation saw as their analogy to the wisdom of Biblical prophets, brought the most enthusiastic and creative segment of the Jewish people to the land of their ancestors. This fact should not come as a big surprise given that in the early 20th century socialist ideas also fascinated many other nations around the world.
       The irony is that while other nations subjected to the socialist experiment were gradually getting rid of this epidemic disease, for the true Israelis building socialism in the Promised Land became the culminating point in expressing their idealism and creativity.
       This has its own reasons. Whereas all the states founded on Marxist ideology ultimately collapsed, only one was established - the state of Israel.
       This fact of major historic significance prevented the true Israelis from understanding that the pronouncements of the founding fathers made in the1930-40s, are currently, in the 21st century, perceived as obsolete mantras, which make little sense, if any.
       These pretentious diatribes come across as farcical when the true Israelis in all seriousness preach about Zionism, the rights of the working people and such like - things which had true meaning during the times of the founding fathers when the olim were indeed olim.
       In present-day Israel, this initial meaning is lost, however, because of the double standards of the true Israelis who have announced that they are living in the era of post-Zionism (which in simple terms implies that they have already built their own state the way they wanted it to be). In the meantime, it is suggested that repatriates and immigrants should continue living in the Zionist era, where they should demonstrate creative enthusiasm and their belief in the ideals of the founding fathers.
       We all know quite well what this state looks like in the "post-Zionist era": it took only a couple of decades to build a deeply divided society with a bunch of fat cats wallowing in luxury, and masses of hard working people barely making ends meet. This is a self-indulgent and vulgar society, steeped in a culture of corruption and shady deals. It is not a society where everybody enjoys equal rights. To the contrary, the privileged few benefit from the laws created specifically for them, as for ordinary law-abiding citizens, their rights are cynically violated. This is a society, which has raised a large contingent of the population as worthless, useless drains on their country"s public resources, people who do not contribute anything in return.
       If Israel were an ordinary state, we could just say: "Well, we have to accept the fact that people aren"t perfect; they are certainly far from being angels. Israel is not the only country in the world where social inequality exists, where there is embezzlement of public funds and where injustice often prevails.
       The point is that Israel is not an ordinary state.
       This state was established by the Jewish nation, which was denied the right to its own state for 2000 years. Jews returned from the Diaspora inspired by the idea that they would be united once again in the state they would built by themselves on the basis of their shared value system.
       The failure to match this ideal model with its implementation is fraught with unpleasant consequences. Anyone could arrive at the logical conclusion verbalized by Avrum Burg, a former Speaker of the Knesset and presently a French citizen. Burg said that this whole experiment with the restoration of the Jewish state did not make any sense. He said that we have made a mistake; we are not able to have a state of our own. All we have done is restore a shtetl (actually, Burg called it a ghetto).
       Burg is undoubtedly right when he applies the word ghetto to the Jewish state. However, the Jews did not make a mistake when they came back to the land of their ancestors. They made a mistake in how they chose to restore their state, in replacing Aliyah with repatriation and immigration.
       The essence of the problem becomes clear when we examine how Israeli culture took shape based on the Hebrew language.
       There is no doubt that language is the basis of any national culture and that Hebrew is the native language of the Jewish people.
       However, the culture of Hebrew in Biblical times has very little to do with modern civilization and a modern state. For that reason, the founding fathers of Israel, while restoring Hebrew, had to introduce a multitude of new words, obviously not needed by previous generations who lived within the confines of Jewish communities.
       The Jews would have never been able to lead and active, full life in their rebuilt state if not for the tremendous work the founding fathers had accomplished for them.
       The Jews have easily adopted Hebrew as their native language, which is more than a miracle. It is compelling proof of the innate connection between the Jews and the language of the Scriptures. This connection proved to be extremely strong 2000 years later.
       Nevertheless, Hebrew does not have something that other languages do -languages of those nations, which reached the level of modern civilization in a gradual and natural manner. Such languages continually accumulated cultural experience, developing their own system of cultural codes. With time, they amassed a powerful energy felt by all those who spoke the same language.
       Hebrew as a language is quite different in this respect. For 2000 years Jews were dispersed among other nations, so the Jewish people developed by adjusting and using the cultural experience of their host nations.
       Naturally, this experience was expressed in the language of these host nations.
       If modern Israel was fortunate enough to have a genuinely creative elite it would be able to process and take a broad view of the experience (that actually reflects the experience of all mankind), which the olim bring with them to the Promised Land after 2000 years of life in the Diaspora. Instead, the elite blindly copies the experience, utterly unacceptable for the Jewish people, of other nations which bring over immigrants and repatriates.
       If Israel had a genuinely creative elite, it would have realized that the founding fathers made only the first step in restoring the Jewish state. They restored Hebrew as its national language. As for the generations that came after them, they had to address another highly meaningful goal - to utilize the cultural experience accumulated while living among other nations in an appropriate way in their own land.
       This experience is quite unique, because Jews coming from different countries differ from each other as do the people of the host nations. Therefore, bringing this kind of experience into the new environment of building a state of your own - is a gradual process. It is a subtle and intimate process that requires patience, and what"s most important, everything that many generations of Jews acquired over centuries of living among other nations should be handled with care and respect. This is a formidable goal, which can only be achieved by unleashing the people"s creative energies and searching for new ways and unique ideas that were never before explored.
       A multilingual society is absolutely essential to cope with such a monumental task, provided that it was the norm for Jews even before their life in Diaspora.
       But the true Israelis, who imagine themselves to be a new breed of supermen, the only ones to represent all the people and know all the answers, chose a different path. They used Hebrew as the basis for the entire Israeli culture, claiming this culture to be self-sufficient. As the result, the culture they created has meaning for them alone but otherwise does not make much sense.
       This shift to the Hebrew language became a case of adoption in Israel. It allowed to classify everything the Jews brought with them from the Diaspora as belonging to Israeli culture.
       But this is absurd.
       The fact that highly professional scientists came to Israel and succeeded in their field, is not enough for Israel and its science to take credit for that even if all these scientists speak Hebrew. It"s not an achievement of Israeli culture that Israel now has a great symphony orchestra from Germany, with most of the musicians being graduates from the best Russian conservatories. And, finally, the athletes that made Aliyah to Israel and contributed substantially to Israel"s success at international competitions were not born and trained in Israel. Their great performance cannot, strictly speaking, be viewed as achievements of Israeli sport.
       None of these brilliant scientists, talented musicians and gifted athletes were produced on Israeli soil. All their achievements are the result of a long process of development that took place while they lived among the European nations, which created their culture independently, including the political culture of those countries that attract immigrants.
       Though the Jews were attracted by European culture earlier than any other non-Europeans, they got the opportunity to become its part considerably later, after their emancipation. Thanks to emancipation, the Jews could join this culture, acquaint themselves with its values, receive an education and acquire certain work skills, ultimately immersing themselves in the atmosphere of this particular culture.
       That is why it is so important to understand and appreciate what a great heritage we received from other nations because our own native soil did not prove to be particularly fertile in this respect.
       We must admit that even Israeli literature in Hebrew and the Israeli theater, also in Hebrew, did not fully result from the natural development of the Jewish national experience but rather from translations into Hebrew and using foreign cultural experience. This should not come as a surprise to the true Israelis. On the contrary, they are well aware that Israeli literature and the Israeli theatre would have never existed without Russian literature and the Russian theatre.
       What they don"t understand is that in view of the questionable origins of Israeli culture any substitution of Aliyah with immigration and repatriation has grave consequences. The fact that the Jews of the Diaspora were so strongly influenced and inspired by European culture that they decided to create a similar culture based on the revived Hebrew language doesn"t make it genuinely Israeli culture, which has meaning and value for the entire nation. No, only a certain part of Jews in Israel experienced this admiration for European culture.
       If Aliyah were not replaced with immigration and repatriation, the people of Israel would have the opportunity to gradually develop a genuinely national Israeli culture - a concept embracing the experience of all the Jews who now live in a totally new environment.
       The Jews have acquired enough experience to confront a goal of such importance and magnitude.
       Learning from the parallel experience of Jews in the 20th century might be very helpful in this respect.
       While the true Israelis were making their first steps in building their own state, another part of the Jewish people, confined behind the Iron Curtain, was going through a unique test, not known in Jewish history. The Jews of the former Soviet Union managed to develop and attain a completely new kind of national self-identity outside the boundaries of the Jewish community with its traditional Judaic values.
       This remarkable phenomenon is worthy of serious analysis within the entire concept of national experience, because experience is the very essence on which the formation of culture is based. Orthodox Jewish culture for which the Jewish people have not found an adequate substitute drew upon the experience of life in the Diaspora.
       Assuming that they represent the "title nation", the true Israelis lost interest in any other experience but their own. Consequently, they ignore all other experience as insignificant.
       This narrow-minded way of thinking separates the true Israelis from the cultural environment in which the founding fathers were raised. At the same time, their own environment is so restricted that they cannot develop any kind of experience that could be meaningful to the Jewish people, to say nothing of other nations.
       This explains the "ghetto" effect, which caused Mr. Avrum Burg to flee to Europe in search of a real, not artificial "culture".
       The small-mindedness of the true Israelis condemned them to estrangement from their own people, because they narrowed down national experience to their own attitudes, emotions and vulnerabilities, and their own memories and associations. This interpretation of national experience turned out to be alien to the Jewish people.
       Little is left of the original willingness of all olim to recognize the cultural experience of the true Israelis as the basis of the entire people"s experience. More and more Jewish Israelis, to say nothing of non-Jewish Israeli citizens attempt to find their own formula in life, and to develop their own sense of self-identity that makes it possible for them to oppose themselves to the true Israelis.
       This is the reason behind the appearance of various groups in society, which exhibit waning mutual interest and exist parallel to one another.
       Such a development is tantamount to a death warrant against the elite. The elite no longer understands what is happening in society. Many members of society perceive its declarations and actions as being utterly devoid of meaning. It appears that even the true Israelis themselves no longer fully understand what they are saying or doing.
       One such example is the cult of mourning that has grown up around the death of Yitzhak Rabin, which begs comparison with the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow.
       Rabin"s assassination shocked Israeli society to its core. The true Israelis were particularly traumatized by the Prime Minister"s tragic death. Rabin was the first "sabra" (native-born) Prime Minister (all the Prime Ministers before him were born in the Diaspora). This fact was always emphasized in respect to him personally and to his family who were held in high esteem as members of the hereditary elite of true Israelis.
       It is obvious that the Oslo conspirators used Rabin"s assassination to crush everyone who opposed his mythical "peace process". The methods they employ by perpetuating the cult of mourning is quite familiar to former Soviet Jews who were subjected to ideological terror in their native country. Former Soviet citizens know in reality, not from hearsay, how the image of "the enemy of the people" was inculcated deep in the minds and hearts of Soviet citizens and how those whose only crime was their disagreement with the ideology of the ruling Communist party were forced to publicly confess their guilt.
       However, the cult of mourning that has grown up around the Prime Minister"s death encompasses also "Rabin"s legacy". No one can explain precisely what this legacy presents. Schoolchildren are mandated to study "Rabin"s legacy". However, it is hopeless to question them about it because the "legacy" is limited to a study of Yitzhak Rabin"s biography ("you must know what an amazing guy he was") and the declaration of slogans, such as, "Let there be peace on Earth."
       It is scary to think of the actual impact of "Rabin"s legacy" on the life of the Israeli people: blown-up buses, weapons provided to our potential murderers who are building their own army in front of our eyes and the reality Kassam rockets routinely shelling Sderot and neighboring settlements. But the most frightening of all is the demoralization of the population which feels doomed and prepares itself for the unavoidable catastrophic outcome.
       "Mr. Bitahon," ("Mr. Security"), as the people referred to Rabin before he initiated "the peace process", could not have left the Israelis with such a "legacy". He certainly did not intend anything of this sort because "Rabin"s legacy" does not really exist.
       It is generally recognized that Rabin was not much of an intellectual, that the Oslo conspirators presented these developments to him as irreversible, that he was brainwashed by "political technologists" and befuddled by writers who saw themselves as great thinkers. Acting in concert, they transformed "Mr. Bitahon" into a "dove of peace". (This explains the steady rumors that it was not Yigal Amir who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin but Oslo supporters who conspired to kill him when "Mr. Bitahon" changed his mind and decided to reject the suicidal Oslo Accords.)
       Despite evidence to the contrary, the true Israelis continue to believe in the existence of "Rabin"s legacy", which holds the promise of long-awaited peace. They believe this myth because have been comfortably living in a virtual world for years, distancing themselves not only from their people but from reality as well.
       When they rally together, the true Israelis rhythmically chant slogans, which electrify them, propelling them into an ecstatic state. They listen to the speakers from among their ranks, believing without a shadow of a doubt that the slogans they aim at the crowd will definitely transform reality, and they are puzzled when this does not happen.
       In the beginning of the 20th century, the speeches of various dictators captivated audiences and slogans "let there be peace on Earth", "Communism is our goal," "death to Trotskyites," "Deutchland ьber Alles," and the like had a similarly hypnotic, dominating effect.
       But mankind has matured since then. This is true at least of those who actually witnessed this horror happening.
       Regretfully, the true Israelis continue to remain in the early 20th century.
      Imprisoned by their own cultural experience, they failed to understand that the limitations of this experience atrophied their ability to perceive reality adequately.
       Despite this clearly expressed inadequacy, the true Israelis are convinced without a shadow of a doubt that they embody the most positive qualities of the Jewish people and are free of all the negative ones. Thus, the true Israelis see themselves as the Jewish people"s natural leaders, believing that Jews in the Diaspora who could not possibly match their level of perfection.
       The problem is that their "leadership" has only worsened the situation in Israel, which is already dealing with heightened security concerns.
       In their role as leaders, the true Israelis take leadership in areas they know nothing about. In the meantime, the olim who arrive to Israel from advanced counties bring with them different types of experience in various areas of science and technology, in art and education - all this is experience with which the true Israelis are unfamiliar for natural reasons.
       This makes the situation in Israel different from the one in countries, which bring over immigrants and repatriates: the British, the French, the Germans, etc. are self-sufficient as creators of their own cultural experience.
       The situation comes across as particularly ridiculous when management responsibilities are delegated to people who came to Israel from counties without advanced economies and became familiar with modern civilization through the leadership of Jews who arrived years earlier from the shtetls of Russia"s "Pale of Settlement". These managers are included among the true Israelis but hold positions of lesser power because their grandfathers and grandmothers were not involved in building Tel Aviv. They take it upon themselves to instruct the new olim, though they are completely incapable of understanding their qualifications and true worth, since they cannot even imagine the level of civilization attained by Diaspora Jews in the most advanced countries of the world.
       Their own professional credentials for management positions are quite "impressive" - they ... speak Hebrew. What exactly they are saying in Hebrew is of secondary importance.
       Those staunch advocates of the Hebrew language feel that they are following in the footsteps of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who devoted his life"s work to the revival of Hebrew as a reborn spoken language. In his time the slogan "one nation - one language" was indeed of major practical importance.
       What does any of this have to do with the true Israelis, however?
       Were they the ones who preserved the Hebrew language for 2000 years? Of course not. It was the Jewish people who preserved their own language, and it was the people who revived it. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda could not have done anything if the Jewish people rejected it. There is no indication that the people have changed their minds.
       Indeed, it was the Diaspora Jews, not the true Israelis, who revived the Hebrew language. Jews in the Diaspora experienced a deep trauma when they compared the cultural development of the European peoples and their own cultural stagnation in the traditional ghetto. As for Jews living behind the Iron Curtain, they began to revive Hebrew in the underground, because instruction in this language was outlawed by the regime. They clearly did that without the leadership of the true Israelis.
       Only a Diaspora Jew is capable of understanding all these circumstances. They are incomprehensible for a true Israeli who quite naturally begins to speak
      Hebrew when he is still a toddler.
       Have the true Israelis developed the Hebrew language? I don"t claim to be an expert, but I have heard many times from people who are that Hebrew has become much more primitive. Could it be otherwise, considering that language always reflects cultural experience?
       The point is that the issue of the Hebrew language is not a language issue at all - it is an issue of power and power alone.
       The true Israelis have more than enough reasons to lay claim to positions of power: one of them is a friend of the mayor or belong to the same party, another belongs to a well-respected family, and still another is a former general who has no doubt that his military experience allows him to show leadership in any field.
       The formation of a ruling elite on this basis is a genuine disaster for the state. However, once we come to understand how the elite takes shape, we need not wonder why all normal countries try to bring over qualified professionals, whereas in Israel such professionals are "retrained" to do manual work. The true Israelis assert that the transformation of engineers, scientists and teachers into janitors and security men is inevitable as a condition of immigration and repatriation. They claim that immigrants have language problems, difficulties with adapting to another mentality, etc., in any country.
       Yes, immigrants do indeed have to deal with these problems. But the country which opened its doors to the immigrant does not really need him, since its people are self-sufficient. If the immigrant fails to build a life for himself in this new environment, it is his personal problem, perhaps even a tragedy.
       In Israel, however, it becomes a tragedy for the entire people, because unrepeatable experience dies together with this oleh, experience which the people of Israel never possessed and for which they have no other source.
       The Hebrew-speaking elite is incapable of amassing new experience because all it has ever done is use the experience of others. That is why it has serious problems when it lays claim to power. These problems were exacerbated after the arrival of the million-strong Aliyah from a country, which used to be a superpower. These new olim - for the most part highly educated people - complicated matters. The result was a sudden boom: managers and Knesset members hurried to obtain diplomas verifying their expertise in political science, sociology or any other speech communication discipline.
       A close look at two ministries demonstrates how all this affects the life of the true Israelis.
       Let us start with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Culture and Sports. Everything that the true Israelis see as having little value and no immediate relevance to them, i.e., science, technology, culture and sports, has been placed under the roof of this one, not particularly prestigious department.
       Of course, how could the Ministry of Science, Technology, Culture and Sports compare, let us say, with the Ministry of Finances that has real levers of power and influence?!
       However, these areas in which the Israelis don"t have any significant
      experience require a very special approach, a special leadership, "crowned thinkers," if you will. But in order to recognize their importance, one has to understand that the Jewish people are going through a unique process called kibbutz galuyot - ingathering of exiles.
       Nevertheless, only second-ranking officials were always placed in
      charge of this Department. They were offered this opportunity "to put to use their leadership skills" after the departments which "really mattered" were divided between prominent politicians.
       A recent development was the appointment of an Arab as Minister of Science, Technology, Culture and Sports. It is a strange choice to make considering that the Arabs deal with their own unresolved problem of self-identity within the Israeli society. So it appears very unlikely that a non-Jewish minister would thoughtfully approach the specifically Jewish problem of kibbutz galuyot. And frankly speaking, nobody expects him to do that since even the true Israelis don"t see this problem as something demanding their undivided attention.
       Another factor worthy of mention is that this Minister of Science, Technology, Culture and Sports doesn"t even have a higher education. He was selected for this position not because of his merits but because his party leader was trying to increase his chances with other Arab Knesset members in the Labor party. Yes, we are talking about Mr. Amir Peretz, the trade union boss who later became Israel"s Defense Minister as the result of negotiations in the coalition government. His disgraceful performance as Minister of Defense during the Second Lebanon War revealed a great deal of incompetence.
       Another example of a Ministry, which enjoys similar prestige or rather absence of the above, is the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee. It"s hard to believe that there is a Ministry of this kind in a country the size of New Jersey and has a population of less than 7 million!
       So what are the successes this Ministry reports? None whatsoever. People are fleeing from these areas, and this tendency will continue since the true Israelis have not offered any ingenious solutions to deal with this problem. Pinning their hopes on trivial financial benefits, they offered people additional subsidies and decreased mortgage rates.
       But the main reason why people are leaving the Negev and Galilee is the Israeli culture, or, to be precise, its absence, provided that we interpret culture as a concept of life, not just a series of novels and guides written in Hebrew.
       This is the fundamental difference between the traditional Jewish culture and the one based exclusively on the Hebrew language. It took centuries for the Jewish people to build and develop their own traditional culture that helped each of them not only to create their own microcosm in any environment but also to organize a rich and varied cultural life.
       The knowledge, skills and customs of the traditional Jewish culture were passed on from generation to generation. Thanks to that Jews always knew and cherished their system of values, they knew how to behave, how to bring up their children, how to spend their leisure time, and how to take care of each other. In other words, they knew everything needed to feel self-sufficient. That is why the Orthodox community is not tempted to flee anywhere today; quite the opposite, they stay to build new settlements.
       Those Israelis who abandoned this traditional culture in favor of the so-called "Israeli culture" don"t have any of that. All the true Israelis can offer them as some semblance of "culture" is an array of programs and activity groups at the Cultural Center. Not surprisingly, when the population in the outlying areas has access only to such "culture", people begin to feel disadvantaged and marginalized to the sidelines of civilization. As the result, they move in droves to Tel Aviv, the heart of this "culture", thus forming what is becoming known as the "Tel Aviv state", which couldn"t care less about Galilee or the Negev.
       Only the true Israelis could create such an artificial body as the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee because they don"t understand what a real state is, how it functions and the essence of the people of this state.
       The true Israelis think and act accordingly as inadequate people who sincerely believe that their state is a sort of gift which their Mommy and Daddy gave them for their birthday.
       The founding fathers of Israel were convinced that a spiritual center would emerge in the Promised Land, which will become a magnet for the dispersed Jewish people. Quite the opposite happened, though: the people felt a magnetic pull but it took them on a reverse course.
       There is hardly a place in the world today where one would not find true Israelis. Remarkably, many of them became more successful than ever after they left Israel and settled in a normal cultural environment.
       It goes without saying that this mass exodus from Israel back into the Diaspora has a devastating effect on Zionist ideals. Even so, we continue to hear that messengers of the Jewish state are reaching every corner of the world in an effort to improve Jewish education and act as mentors to Diaspora Jews.
       How did the true Israelis end up as the Jewish people"s teachers and mentors?
       Do they really have an understanding of what "Jewish education" means?
       The point is that the true Israelis do not have the slightest idea about the true essence of Jewish education, since it is a most complicated issue for a nation that spent 2,000 years living among other nations.
       Education and mentoring comprise a special area where the people reproduce themselves according to life"s demands. But life in an independent state places entirely different demands on the people compared to those made upon them in the traditional Jewish community both in the past and present.
       Jews in the traditional Jewish community didn"t have to be told what "Jewish education" meant. It meant attending a traditional heder and yeshiva, studying the Talmud and other sacred texts. But this represents the overall heritage of the Jewish people, and the true Israelis have as much to do with this heritage as any other Jews. So the people do not need the help of the true Israelis when it comes to the issue of traditional education and upbringing.
       Then perhaps the true Israelis have in mind the study and understanding of Jewish history when they refer to the issue of "Jewish education"? Taking into account the unique destiny of a nation, which had been dispersed among all world nations and returned after 2,000 years to the land of its ancestors, history is bound to be considered one of the basic sciences. No "Jewish education" could be viable without the most profound study of Jewish history.
       However, the true Israelis were unable to ensure that the population of their own country has a sufficient knowledge of Jewish history: most Israelis are confused even when asked about events that took place after the creation of the state. It is not surprising, therefore, that the true Israelis listed among true "intellectuals" Shimon Peres who announced that there is no need at all to study history because the shape of Cleopatra"s nose it of no importance to anyone.
       Maybe "Jewish education" is viewed as the study of the natural and exact sciences? The Jewish people have always felt a special pride in the accomplishments of recent generations of Jews in these areas, and meticulously calculate the percentage of Jewish blood in every Nobel Prize Winner.
       Incidentally, the Jews behind the "iron curtain" had just such a perception of "Jewish education". That is why immediately upon its arrival to Israel the Great Aliyah enthusiastically started to recreate the system of math and physics schools, traditionally popular among the Jews in their country of origin. Apart from all else, such "Jewish education" secured an advanced status to that country.
       But Israel"s Ministry of Education bristled up and made every effort to kill this initiative by former Soviet citizens declaring that math and physics schools are "at odds with Israeli realities". The results are already apparent: the true Israelis made shop assistants out of the children of the Great Aliyah, returning them to the occupations of their grandparents. These are the very children whose parents went out of their way for their offspring to receive a good "Jewish education", becoming enrolled at the Department of Mathematics and Physics at some prestigious university.
       So how did it happen that the true Israelis took upon themselves the role of experts in "Jewish education"? Probably the same way that they took upon themselves the role of experts in "Jewish mentorship".
       Only inadequate people could imagine themselves to be capable of mentoring Jews in the Diaspora, when in their own country they successfully managed to bring young Israelis to levels of such depraved behavior that some hotels around the world have posted a notice: "Israelis not welcome". It is not because the people who work there are anti-Semitic, but because they have learned about "Israeli upbringing" from their own experience, witnessing Israelis demonstrate impudence, rudeness and arrogance, and their proclivity to vandalism.
       Recently, some demands have been voiced to discontinue the traditional trips to visit the sites of the destruction of European Jewry at concentration camps in Poland. The stated reason was the same - the depraved behavior of young Israeli visitors.
       So how could those who so badly messed up the young people in their own country imagine themselves to be the mentors of world Jewry?
       This inadequate behavior of the true Israelis in respect to Diaspora Jews at times created anecdotal situations. During his visit to Russia, the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to express his concern about the fate of the oligarch Khodorkovsky to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He voiced his opinion only proceeding from the fact that the oligarch"s father was Jewish. The Israeli "Russians" found such behavior by the self-proclaimed Father of the nation laughable to say the least.
       However, it is not even about Sharon, but more about the paternalistic attitude the true Israelis have adopted toward world Jewry.
       "The chic fancies that it has given birth to the mother hen and taught the rooster to crow!"
       Only inadequate people can be so deluded and unable to understand that reality is nothing like what they imagine it to be.
       This inadequacy also determines the conduct of the true Israelis in the international sphere. That is why those who try to find logic in their behavior are never able to see it.
       The founding fathers nurtured the true Israelis within the system of ideas that emerged following the bankruptcy of Marxist materialism. That is why they are utterly incapable of recognizing the role religion plays in history or understanding the logic behind political processes determined by religious beliefs. Unsurprisingly, the emergence of HAMAS in the South and "Hizbollah" in the North came as a total surprise to them.
       They grew up in the pampered conditions of a national state and never experienced the shock-like effect of anti-Semitism. That is why they continue to believe that the "Jewish question" is bound to disappear with the creation of the Jewish state. They cannot even imagine that in the new conditions of statehood the "Jewish question" surfaced at a new level, unknown to previous generations.
       They believe in the possibility of resolving the problem of the Jewish state"s existence through international agreements, never giving a thought to the fact that the return of the Jews to the Promised Land after their 2,000 years in exile unavoidably leads to a crisis of world religions, whose doctrines are founded on the impossibility of this return.
       These are very real issues but the true Israelis cannot see them because they live in a world of their imagination. Their inadequacy in the international sphere is so stark that even some among them have begun to comment upon it. Netanyahu stated, for instance, that by agreeing to the peace conference in Annapolis Olmert demonstrated that he was living in a virtual world. The problem is that Netanyahu himself also lives in the same virtual world.
       Obviously, there is no need to resort to mysticism when trying to figure out why there are no more leaders left in Israel.
       As one follows the way of thinking of Israeli politicians and the actions they take it becomes clear that they all have some kind of a shared intrinsic problem, as the result of which the change in leadership practically does not have any visible impact on anything. This makes total sense logically speaking: whatever personal potential a true Israeli may naturally possess, he is doomed to carry with him the intrinsic traits of the population to which he belongs - insufficient civilization development and inadequacy.
       There is absolutely no doubt that the people in power in Israel today have tremendous potential. Their individual qualities are just as good as everybody else"s, probably better, since they have a more forceful personality. In any case, they are outstanding people because they agree to carry the burden of problems not of their own making. It was the Jewish nation itself which created these problems when it replaced the notion of Aliyah with immigration and repatriation, and in doing so, determined the development of an unviable society in Israel.
       Once in a while we hear voices in the Israeli street urging the Prime Minister to resign: "Go home, we"ll elect another Premier." Let us stop for a minute and think: "So what is going to happen if everyone who is willing to carry the burden of this state on their shoulders do indeed go home?"
       It"s a no-win situation. There is really no one to choose.
       In other words, as soon as we sort out the issue of use of terminology everything falls into place. Things that were incomprehensible and hidden from sight become obvious and comprehensible.
       This is true not only of the vitally important issue of why there are no more leaders left in Israel but also of other equally critical matters.
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  • © Copyright Зив-Ами Лиора (liorazivami@gmail.com)
  • Обновлено: 01/02/2015. 106k. Статистика.
  • Статья: Израиль
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