Myth and Modernity: The End Point of Zionism

Odin, Wotan's nordic parallel, 18th centuryChief Rabbinate sign forbidding entrance  to the Temple Mount

Great piece by Timer Persico on myth, Zionism, and the Temple Mount. The takeaway is this: “If, as I believe, Zionism is a true and authentic continuation of the Jewish tradition, it must posit a valid alternative to the narrow interpretation of the Temple as an altar around which a family dynasty of priests revolved.” But I’m a little unsure. Does Zionism have to present itself as an “authentic continuation of Jewish tradition”? Why not present and even embrace Zionism as the break that it is from Jewish tradition?

Tomer Persico - English

On June 10, 1967, just three days after Col. Mordechai “Motta” Gur had famously declared, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman said that Halakha (traditional religious law) forbade Jews to visit the site. Two weeks later, a leading Sephardi authority, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, stated that even flying over the site was forbidden. Following a similar note, the religious affairs minister at the time, Zerah Warhaftig, noted that, according to Halakha, the Third Temple has to be built by God. “This makes me happy,” he said, “because we can avoid a conflict with the Muslim religion.” The days Israel’s religious affairs minister was made happy by avoiding conflict are over.

My previous article (The Love-Hate Relationship Between Zionism and The Temple Mount) examined the transformation in the thinking of significant segments of the religious-Zionist movement about the Temple Mount. The change, which…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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2 Responses to Myth and Modernity: The End Point of Zionism

  1. Michael says:

    There is a broad scale of opinions among Jews as to whether it is allowed to visit the Temple Mount and/or to pray there. So, none else than the RaMBaM himself has visited the Mount and has prayed there. And the Minister of Religious Affairs should avoid comments like those mentioned above. His job is to provide the religious authorities with tools to do their work, not to judge on matters of religious content (Jewish, Muslim or Christian).

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