Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Israel Among the Least Religious Countries

Of the many lies I was told about the society in Israel, one of the more memorable lies is that the society in Eretz Yisroel is undergoing a religious revival. Kiruv is everywhere they said. Tel-Aviv has more than 100 kosher restaurants I was told by one Religious Zionist American-born "rabbi."

So it turns out that the 100 "kosher restaurants" consist largely of hole in the wall falafel stands, or candy stores that also serve decrepit pizza squares made in the micro-wave, many of them with marginal or unacceptable hasgacha.  Moreover, it's all they have among millions of Jews in the Tel Aviv metro area. You can walk the streets of Tel Aviv for hours as I have done before finding any eatery with any kind of pretense of keeping kosher. It's not so easy to find mezzuzos either and certainly not shuls of any kind that are being used as shuls.  Likewise, I have seen almost no evidence of a kiruv movement, have met very few Israeli baalei teshuvah, see next to no kiruv activity, events or schools. There's just a tiny little bit. Same as in America.

I mentioned the dearth of shuls used as shuls in Tel Aviv. Turns out there's a problem in Tel Aviv of what to do with unused shuls. See Haaretz article here. I know from frum neighborhoods that the moment a shul becomes vacant (prior tenants or owners move to a new facility) the old one is swept up by a minyan looking for a room. This does not happen in Tel Aviv where old shuls are being turned into hummos joints and the like. 

Also a sham are reports of widespread religious traditionalism. Note a recent survey by WIN/Gallup as reported by Haaretz.

Only 30% of Israelis say they are religious, survey finds; Thailand is most religious country in the world and China is the least. 
Israel is located in one of the most religious regions in the world, but Israelis have little faith, according to a recent WIN/Gallup poll that took the religious pulse of 65 countries.
Less than one-third of Israelis say they are religious, which is well below the norm in western Europe. It is however about equal with the level of religiosity in England and Scandinavia, the poll found, which are among the least religious areas in the world.
Around the globe, 63 percent of people polled say they are religious. Overall, the young tend to be the most religious (albeit by a narrow margin) – as are the least educated and the poorest, the poll found. Sixty-six percent of the world's people under 34 are religious, compared with 60 percent of others. (Haaretz)

Does this include Arab Israelis who overwhelmingly are religious? I would imagine it does not include the 4 million non-citizen Palestinians who, while under Israeli military rule, are written off the census as if they don't exist. Likely it includes the Dati Leumi who are arguably heretical in many respects but likely are deemed as religious by Gallup. Surely it includes Charedim who comprise 1/6th of the Jewish population. What does this tell you about Chilonim? They are utterly and totally non-religious. These Chilonim who run the so-called Jewish state, who run the government, the courts, the education ministry and chief posts, the medical establishment, the universities, the police, the newspapers, and the real power in the country, the military, are non-religious all while living in Eretz HaKodesh, polluting the land with sin.

So tell me, Zionism, does it have any connection to Judaism? Does it serve Hashem in any way? The allegedly religious Jews who have embraced Zionism and aided the formation of history's most extreme desecration of Hashem's name in Hashem's palace, what is going to be their fate?

Rav Chaim Soloveichik wrote of the early Zionist leaders, “They have already publicized the fact that their purpose is to uproot the foundations of Judaism.” He said, “People think that the aim of the Zionists is to make a State and their means to achieve this is to uproot the foundation of Judaism. But this is a mistake.  The truth is that their aim is to uproot the foundation of Judaism and their means to achieve this is to create a State.” How right he was. 

Dati Leumi people are also fond of attributing Sephardi style religious feeling to the State of Israel. Recently, I encountered a Sephardi plumber who showed up at my house bareheaded and dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt with no apparent tzitzis. He was a pleasant enough fellow even as his attire certainly clashed with the dress standards in the neighborhood. But when I gave him a cup of water to drink, a big smile lit up his face and he put his arm over his head and said a loud bracha. It was quite a sight. 

To the Dati Leumi propagandist this is the State of Israel giving Jewish feeling. Actually, this man in Morocco or Iraq would have been totally religious. Nearly one-million Jews from Arab countries lost religion when they came to the Zionist state that worked actively to pull them from religion. This man's marginal religious practice is a credit to the Sephardi neshama but is an indictment of Zionism which, as Rav Chaim said, created a state in order to destroy religion.  

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