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  • Settling the Land of Israel

Are Haredim Working to improve the Halachic State- 3 Oaths


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 18, 5775
Dear Rabbi, Thank you very much for that excellent answer and I apologise that an excellent resource you authored on this website (’The Religious View of the Secular State of Israel’ did not turn up in my search prior to submitting my question. To clarify something: I am dati leumi, but have always found it disappointing that the rebuttals to the anti-Zionist arguments seem harder to come across than the reasons they present for, which they do a good job in publicising. The final question I have vis-a-vis the State I live in and how we, as religious Jews, should relate to it: Is it permissible to work actively towards the creation of a halachic State in these days, before Moshiach? There is a brief note on Wikipedia to the effect that Shash and UTJ oppose it based on the three oaths. Most religious people I mix with (dati leumi) also seem to consider the idea absurd, despite that this is clearly what G-d intended and what existed when our nation was at its spiritual peak. Does your previous answer apply equally here? Are there other reasons for and against? Thank you sincerely for clarifying these issues.
You are correct that it’s clearly absurd not to work towards the State of Israel becoming more halachic, and in fact this is the point of split that I alluded to previously, where most of Agudah (UTJ) abandoned (!) their original policy in the advent of the Holocaust. Only the tiny Neturei Karta refused to admit that Hitler ym”sh and the monstrous danger of anti-Semitism with modern technology at its disposal, “changed the reality”, and remained in their opposition to any kind of helping or benefitting from the God-sent Jewish State. Their approach is irrelevant even in the eyes of almost all haredim, and not many rational people would put their trust in the PLO, Hamas or UN, especially when we see that the world doesn’t love the People of Israel too much more than they did during the Holocaust. Agudah occasionally still pays historic lip-service to the “Three Oaths” (like technically calling their government officials: “Assistant without a Superior Minister”, rather than “Minister”), but have clearly changed their direction. As opposed to the consistent Neturei Karta (who don’t give or take money from the State), it’s not uncommon for Agudah people to take from the State (health, security, stipends for children, yeshivas, mikvas, eruvs, etc.) but not to give as others do (many don’t serve in the army, don’t pay taxes, some even consciously ignore the law of the land, but not bc of the 3 Oaths, otherwise they wouldn't accept from the State nor serve in Knesset). On the other hand, Shas is even more helpful and hopeful regarding both giving and accepting from the State (almost all of their MK’s and most of their voters, served in the IDF), and their founding mentor, the sage Rav Ovadia Yosef, served for 35 years in official roles, including Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel. In his extensive responsa he never even mentions the Three Oaths as applicable, not even regarding saying Hallel on Yom HaAtzma’ut! You should definitely correct the Wikipedia mistakes regarding both Agudah and Shas. Regarding the rebuttal of anti-Zionist arguments, you’re correct that they’re harder to find in English, because serious and learned religious-Zionists generally make aliya and most write their articles and posts in Hebrew, which is geared to a more-learned audience (and much easier than switching directions of typing every time you quote a source!). Accordingly, the English books and websites are unfortunately left mainly to the non-zionists, living in New York, Golder’s Green, etc. In addition, until making aliya, there’s a clear misconception among Anglo’s, as if the haredim are more learned or more religious by definition (something which is true in America regarding the “modern orthodox”, but is not at all the rule in Israel regarding religious-zionists). Here, the followers of Rav Kook, the Torani-Tzioni, Chardali, Yeshivot Hesder, etc. are so visible and impressive, that there’s no inferiority complex, and one can objectively choose for himself the more correct hashkafa, without being limited or influenced by irrelevant factors, like language.
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