TORAH-JUDAISM AND THE STATE OF ISRAELBY
WHAT IS THE STATE OF ISRAEL?
In our contemporary world, two types of state are to be distinguished. There are states, mainly Western democracies, governed by elected rulers. Many, or perhaps most of these states, are governed by a party, the party winning the elections. At the time of writing, the Tories govern the United Kingdom, the Gaullists rule France and the Republicans are in power in the United States.
It may well be the case that in one State or another, the party in power abuses its power. It may be the case that in one state or another, the party in power has obtained its majority of votes, hence, its power, through improper means. Furthermore, the regime may be corrupt and degenerate; yet, in all these states, the party is the ruling power inside the State, but is not the State itself.
On the other hand, there are States where the Party constitutes the State. In the Soviet Union, for example, it would not be accurate to say that Communism is the ruling power in the State, because Communism is the State. The Bolshevik party which had been an illegal party under previous regimes, became THE STATE after its accession to power. The establishment of the “Soviet Union” did not constitute a mere change of regime or a change of the party in power in Russia; but, through it, A NEW STATE WAS BORN! In the particular case of the Soviet Union, even the name of the new State clearly indicates this fact : The Union of Soviet (Council-governed) Socialist Republics. Thus, “Socialism” (which is the polite name for Communism) constitutes an integral part of the State itself, its very raison d'être. Without Communism, the Soviet Union will cease to exist as such. It might, at least theoretically, happen that one bright morning the Soviet Union will decide (as it boasts of having done long ago) to liberalize the regime, to loosen the control over its population, to facilitate movement and travel inside and out of the country, etc. but it will never be able to renounce Communism. For without Communism, the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” would no longer exist.
The State of Israel belongs to the latter type of State. The State of Israel is not one in which Zionism rules; the State of Israel is Zionism; and the fact that Zionism does not happen to appear in the official name of the State is of not the least significance. The State of Israel may be ruled by a truly democratic government one day; its economic policy may undergo certain changes (as has already been the case to a degree); theoretically (though practically this is most unlikely), bourgeois parties may win the elections and turn Israel into a more capitalist State. But there is one thing that can never be changed in the State: it can never cease to be a Zionist State. Just as the Soviet Union was born of and from Communism, similarly the State of Israel was born of and from Zionism, the realization of which it now constitutes. It has vested Zionism which until 1948 had been a movement or party with new powers : it has given Zionism the power and authority of a State; yet Zionism remains the very nature, the true identity of the State, without which it would not be the State of Israel.
To avoid misunderstandings, it should be remarked here that when talking about Zionism, one obviously refers not to the Zionist Organization but to the Zionist idea. In other words, when we try to define our attitude towards the State of Israel, we first have to determine and clarify our attitude towards Zionism which, as has been said, is the basis and character of the State.