Yisrael Medad (My Right Word)
22 November 09
A recent op-ed penned by Michael Freund promotes the idea of an immediate annexation of all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to Israel. His reason, and seemingly his sole reason, is that "these areas are ours by Divine right ... the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel because the G-d of Israel said so."
He further writes:
...annexation is justified for the simple reason that this land belongs to us, and to nobody else. The act of asserting Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria would mark the closing of an historical circle, reviving our formal dominion over these areas after an interlude of nearly 2,000 years ... Who knows - maybe if we finally stand on principle and start affirming our faith, then perhaps we will at last begin to earn the respect and support that we so rightly deserve."
I also consider a religious right a justification for claiming territorial rights (after all, the Temple Mount, once it becomes the Haram E-Sharif, is then Muslim property, right?) and I would never ignore the primary formative element of Jewish nationalism which, as Professor Harold Fisch discussed in chapter two of his The Zionist Revolution: A New Perspective, is the Covenant.
There is a contractual configuration between the Jewish people and the ideals which define them as a people, a community, a religio-ethnic group. "Israel's strange existence," writes Fisch, "is defined by the Covenant ... [it] is the central experience of Israel ... it became, for Israel, the key to the understanding of all reality: political, social, historical ... it endowed the whole people with a common task, a sense of unity and purpose ... [and it] has a bearing on the moral history of the world as a whole...."
A Jew's relationship to his homeland is different than any other community-nation-people and, in fact, Menachem Begin never employed the term "annexation" for, as he said, "how can one annex one's own country?." True, that relationship is intrinsically religious with commensurate ritual obligations, commandments and practices, some which are kept solely as a searing reminder even though their source no longer exists, as in the case with many of the Temple rites. Most of all, there is the most unique of all realities in the definition of the physicality of the land as a sacred and holy element..