Commentary Magazine


Orthodoxy in Israel

To the Editor:

If S. Zalman Abramov maintains an “austere objectivity” in his treatment of the Jewish religion in the Jewish state, the same cannot be said of Howard M. Sachar, who uses his review of Abramov’s book, Perpetual Dilemma: Jewish Religion in the Jewish State [Books in Review, October 1977], as a spring-board to launch an intemperate attack against Orthodoxy in Israel. . . .

To state that the rabbinate of Israel has had nothing to offer with regard to practical matters of ethical conduct, civil functioning, or national survival is quite typical of the viewpoint of those in Israeli public life, prior to the accession of Menahem Begin, who refuse to inquire into or to acknowledge the vast richness of this tradition. If Mr. Sachar were to undertake such an inquiry, he might conclude that the Orthodox subculture, rather than being a “counterpoint to the nation’s vaunted democratic achievements,” is an essential foundation for them.

This may explain why the religious parties of Israel have bargaining power greater than what their 15 per-cent voting strength would seem to entitle them to. The reason for a seemingly passive acquiescence by the majority may be a less than fully conscious realization that the Jewish tradition provides the Israeli public with its principal justification and primary source of strength in its mortal struggle for survival.

Hershel Barg
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.