Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."

Jewish Exceptionalism 

By Professor Paul Eidelberg

President, Israel-America Renaissance Institute



Israel lacks a distinctively Judaic national goal, one that would justify the concept of Jewish Exceptionalism. 

Israel’s leaders have been pursuing the will-o’-the-wisp goal of peace. Peace is not a distinctive national goal. A distinctively Judaic national goal would imbue the people of Israel with a strong sense of Jewish pride and purpose consistent with the teachings of their prophets and sages. 

Israel can have only one serious national goal, and that is to become an authentic Jewish state. Christian Hebraists called this state a “Hebraic Republic.” It was the Hebraic Republic of antiquity that Catholic and Protestant Hebraists such as Bossuet, Cunaeus, and Sigonio of the 17th century deemed the most just and wisest of all polities. (Thus, wherever the term “Jewish state” appears in this article, the reader should substitute “Hebraic Republic” of which I have just completed a major work.) 

Only the goal of an authentic Jewish state can rally a large and enduring majority of the Jewish people. Progress toward this goal should proceed in a step-by-step manner: it should result from a set of specific, interrelated government policies whose significance would be evident to, and would duly impress, the public mind. Obviously, much more than a nominal Jew tainted by Oslo will be required to pursue this goal.

For the present, it is not necessary to define precisely what I mean by a “Jewish state” (which I have done elsewhere). Even the secular Left—benighted exceptions aside—is obliged to give at least lip service to the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. Dripping with sweet sincerity, the Left ingenuously calls upon Israel to withdraw from its heartland, Judea and Samaria, ostensibly to preserve the “Jewish” as well democratic character of the state. Never mind that Judea and Samaria are tied to the teachings of the prophets and sages of Israel!

Now, it is incontrovertible that Israel’s only justification, its raison d’être, is to be a Jewish nation-state. This fact is emblazoned in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. All that is necessary, therefore, is to formulate policies which are logically consistent with the general idea of a Jewish state, and to carry them out in such a way as to make progress toward this goal a vivid reality.

Accordingly, we shall need an entirely new system of governance, one that will:

(1) Enact a law that proclaims Israel’s raison d’être as a Jewish State the state’s paramount principle to which all other principles are subordinate.

(2) Enact an oath of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish State as a qualification for voting in Israeli elections.

(3) Enforce the 1952 Citizenship Law which empowers the Minister of Interior “to revoke the citizenship of any Israel national that commits an act of disloyalty to the State.” (The term “act” should be defined in such a way as to safeguard freedom of speech and press.)

(4) Enforce Basic Law: The Knesset, which prohibits any party that rejects Israel as a Jewish-nation state.

(5) Consistent with the example of Japan, which restricts citizenship to children born of Japanese parents, amend the “grandfather clause” of the Law of Return to curtail the flow of immigrants into Israel whose parents are not Jewish. (The money saved should be used to strengthen the bond between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens already in Israel.)

(6) Require all public-supported schools, including those attended by non–Jews, to include Jewish studies in their curricula.

(7) Revise the parliamentary electoral laws to make Members of the Knesset individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections, and replace, in the process, multiparty cabinet government with a unitary Executive or Presidential system.

(8) Change Basic Law: The Judiciary by empowering the President, advised by a council learned in Jewish and secular law, to nominate Supreme Court judges, subject to confirmation by parliament in open public inquiry.

(9) Require the Supreme Court to abide by the Foundations of Law Act 1981, which was intended by the Knesset to make Jewish law “first among equals” vis-à-vis the various systems of jurisprudence used by the court.

(10) Tell the truth about the “Palestinians”: (a) that this so-called people is really a consortium of terrorists hailing from various countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and (b) that this non-people was invented by Egypt in 1964 to replace the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. (This revelation requires a prime minister of uncommon integrity, one who is not complicit, in any way, with Israel-PLO Agreement of 1993.)

If these measures are systematically and rigorously carried out—and I have other democratic measures in mind—the people of Israel would actually see their country making yearly progress toward the goal of an authentic Jewish State.

Notice that the achievement of this Judaic national goal, unlike the pursuit of peace, does not depend on the vainly sought benevolence of other nations. In its quest for peace Israel has been pursuing a mirage. Its political and intellectual leaders do not understand that it is not within the power of any nation or group of nations to give Israel peace. Israel must take its future into its own hands. Only by pursuing the goal of a truly Jewish State will Israel begin to achieve peace.

In the final analysis, however, to achieve genuine and abiding peace, Israel will have to recognize the purpose for which it was created some 3,300 years ago, and that is to sanctify the Name of its Creator. That is precisely what the Hebraic Republic of antiquity did, and that is why Christian Hebraists deemed the laws and institutions of this Republic as superior even to those recommended by Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero with whom these learned Hebraists were quite familiar. They appreciated Jewish Exceptionalism.

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Freeman Note: We are founding members of the Israel-America Renaissance Institute and support Prof. Eidelberg 100%.