[quote="YKohen, post:10, topic:305177"]
100 years ago, many Jews weren't Zionists. The ultra-Orthodox because the original Zionists weren't religious; even anti-religious, the Reform because they didn't believe many things in the Torah to be taken literally- like the physical return of the nation of Israel to the land of Israel. Both have changed dramatically since.
The Orthodox Jews: There are different types of Orthodox Jews. One way to classify is "modern Orthodox" and ultra-Orthodox. Within each category are different sub-categories, partucuarly among the ultra-Orthodox.
The modern Orthodox are Zionists, serve in the Israeli army in the most elite combat units far beyond their percentage of the population- like the kibbutzniks used to, go to university, work, etc. They also generally have large families, although not as large as the ultra-Orthodox.
The ultra-Orthodox is a much more complex issue. It used to be that they were either non-Zionist (they would vote and serve in Knesset, etc.), but didn't believe that the state of Israel is the beginning of the redemption; or they were anti-Zionist.
As time passed, the number and percentage of anti-Zionists has dropped; dramatically. It is hard to ignore the elephant in the room; the fact that there is a Jewish sovereign state- even if it isn't perfect (when was it ever?), the fact that there is an ingathering of the exiles- to the point where Israel has a plurality of the world's Jewish population, and is on its way to being an outright majority, the fact that more Jews are learning Torah than ever- in history, the fact that the barren land is yielding fruit like never before, etc.
12 years ago, Elya Weissfish from the anti-Zionist Nerutei Karta was forced to concede to me in a debate that:
"We know well that what you say regarding the Orthodox world is true. Thus, the most important part of our battle today is against the members of the Aguda *(the ultra-Orthodox- YKohen), who are coming closer (to the positions of- YKohen), as well as the rest of the torah-observant Jews, to religious Zionism."*
A recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that a majority of ultra-Orthodox here do, in fact, define themselves as Zionists:
There are other issues though. Especially because they are growing so rapidly, these are having a greater impact than ever. The 2 main ones are:
- Army service: An overwhelming majority of ultra-Orthodox learn Torah full-time instead of serving.There are actually changes going on right now as the IDF tries to accomodate them and their needs- AND they recognize that they also need to serve (at least the ones who can't learn full-time and will ultimately want to work):
- Work: Because so many have been learning Torah full-time- and because they don't teach secular studies (and also without having gone to the army), many ultra-Orthodox men don't work. Their wives all get some sort of degree or skills, are the bread-winners (and give birth to many kids), and they get a stipend from the government for learning full-time.
This worked OK for a while, when the parents could help out, would buy them an apartment, etc., but by the 2nd generation, the system has proven itself to be unsustainable. Surprise surprise. So now there if finally a move to establish ultra-Orthodox institutions where they teach the men a trade and skills that they can use to get a job.
It's a slow process, but is beoming much more popular.
I'm not the Reform Jewish expert, but I can point you to this:
Today, overall, anti-Zionists comprise a miniscule percentage of the Jewish people.
So let's look at your later statements:
- Not all Jews are Zionists: True, although a majority are in the braodest sense of the term.
- Not all Orthodox Jews are Zionists: True, although a majority are.
- Some Orthodox and not so Orthodox Jews are Zionists: True.
- Zionists basically claim that the re-establishment of the State of Israel is in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy: Religious Zionists do claim that, secular Zionists don't, "traditional" (somewhere in-between) Zionists are probably a mix. As to the ultra-Orthodox, many are now accepting that it is Biblical prophesy being fulfilled, some try to ignore it- although it is getting harder to ignore, and a small percentage say it isn't.
As an aside, it seems to me that your friend is more anti-religious than anti-Zionist.
Thank you for your interesting `in-depth and enlightening response YKohen.:)
I understand now that Zionism is a political ideology which some believe is biblically rooted. Judaism the religion and Jews are the masses/laypeople or as Catholics call the Church Militant.
My friend is a practicing Jew although I am not sure what subset he belongs to, all I know from your description is that he's not Ultra Orthodox. He could just be anti-Ultra Orthodox, i suppose similarly we have hard-core Traditional Catholics who don't have any time for 'liberal' Catholics.