Friday, September 13, 2019

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Democracy Failing, Secular Culture War!

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths


(Photo - sunrise over the Judean Hills in Beit Shemesh, Israel - Sept. 12, 2019 - (c) Reb Akiva)

One of the strangest aspects of being an American ex-patriot (an American living overseas) has been watching the meltdown of American culture from a distance.  The Obama years brought a strange twist with an upswing in liberal edge values, but that was normal swinging between the poles of US values and US political direction.

The normal swing the other direction came and... the liberal segment of society refused to release power.  They sued, they investigated, they refused to implement policy...effectively a LIBERAL COUP D'TAT in the United States of America.  What else do you call the refusal to transfer power and the refusal to allow the new legally elected administration to exercise its authority?  (Think for a moment the reaction if the same had been done to Obama.)  That story has not yet come to its end, but chaos in the U.S. through the next election cycle, especially if Trump wins, looks likely.

The cultural and political situation in Israel is coming to a similar head in copycat ways, though for different reasons.  The modern State of Israel was created primarily by a Jewish political class that was non-religious and "new zionist".  They came to a cultural agreement to basically leave the religious segment alone to do their thing and stay out of the way, with minor government support of basic religious services.  (This is referred to in Israel as the "status quo".)

But the Jewish religiously observant segment of the population has grown tremendously over 3 generations, and the ultra-orthodox segment has grown at an even faster rate.  They are no longer a minor 5% of society but somewhere from 20-45% of society (depending on how you measure).

...and Israeli secular society is looking at a majority swing to Jewish religiously observant over the next 10 years.  (I'm not talking about charedim, who are a sub-segment of the swing group with their own high growth and growing influence and impact.)

As in the U.S., the system is "democratic" and "fair" and "just" until the majority is in threat of power loss or control loss through democratic change.

The Israeli court system has been finding against the religious segment regularly, finding new "democratic" rights to protect the (current) majority positions - greatly upsetting the religious segment.

And in this election, EVERY left-wing or centrist-ish party in Israel is campaigning AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS.  Not against the right-wing, not even (directly) against Bibi - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Rather they've started a direct culture war AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS.

"Against a State of Religious Law"
"Against 'them' taking our children away (making them become religious)"
"Against spending public money supporting Judaism"

This is their fear of loss of power and loss of control, and they're going to fight it to the end.

Suddenly the "we respect rights" and the "we respect the rule of law" and "we respect everyones freedom" has gone out the window.  Parents should not have the option to educate their children how they choose (religiously), or live how they want (choosing to spend time with Torah instead of high powered careers), or adjust public institutions (the army) to accommodate religious citizens (rather than force them to be secularly culturally indoctrinated).

It's not a surprise, but it is disappointing.  Democratic values are better than socialism or communism or facism, but can also be manipulated, taken advantage of, twisted, and misused for their own benefit.  And that's what we see happening in both the U.S. and now in Israel.

Trust only in G-d.

And if you are in Israel, vote Otzma Yehudit in this election.  They won't be perfect either, but at least they will push to protect the Land, its citizens, and Judaism.

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