ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Duel Sovereignty 17.7.04

Duel Sovereignty

17 July 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Popular wisdom has it that Israelis are petrified of two occurrences: bus bombings and the advent of a bi-national state. Although terrorism has been held in check over the past few months, no one can guarantee there will be no more major attacks. Examining the demographic trends, everyone knows Israel is in trouble. Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza is seen as the first step to avoid bi-nationalism, and implement the two-state solution.

But suddenly, just around the corner lurks another serious danger, an internal one. Last week Avi Dichter, head of the General Security Services (GSS), warned of the possibility of political assassination of Israel’s leadership by extreme right wing elements. In particular he pointed out the dangers posed to PM Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz. Sharon was heard to remark that it is hard for him to believe that after having fought to defend Jews his whole life, the GSS has to guard him against a possible assassin. Another Messianic Jew passing a death sentence on the prime minister for the “crime” of withdrawing from parts of the Land of Israel would be a catastrophe for Israeli democracy and Jewish social cohesion.

Dichter claims there are 20 potential assassins on the loose, but can give no names. Moreover, it is said that the hard line right wing political leadership as represented by the National Union and National Religious factions, have no control over their zealous fringe. Enter the rabbis. Most declare that the government has no right to withdraw from parts of the Land of Israel, and others, especially representing populations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have urged resistance in one form or the other to any evacuation order. Many hold Halacha (Jewish religious law) in higher regard than Israeli democracy.

But the situation may be worse than imagined, whether an assassination is attempted or not. The extreme right wing religious fringe has no loyalty to the State of Israel but rather to G-d and His emissaries, meaning specific rabbis or rabbinical opinions they find in tandem with their own. The do not respect the sovereignty of the State of Israel and seek to replace it with another apparatus.

Already they adhere to religious precepts calling for loyalty to the Land of Israel and not the democratic foundations of the State. The sanctity of the Land takes priority over everything else. Many, if not most people have loyalties beyond those expected by the state. Family, friends and religion often come first, but such loyalties do not threaten the state, since they are not organized into a revolutionary ideological structure seeking to overthrow the state.

Not accepting the legitimacy of a government that would withdraw from parts of the Land of Israel, the Right wing extremist fringe seeks another sovereign, in this case, G-dly.