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Author calls for rejection of official status as Jews

[4] And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

[5] So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

[6] And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. Judges, 7:4-6, King James Version.

An influential author, Yoram Kaniuk, wants liberals to abandon their official status as Jews, in order to shock the government

A demonstration was held yesterday (Sunday) in Rothschild Ave., in Tel Aviv, across from the building where Israel’s independence was declared in May 1948. It was in protest of the roiling waves of racism. There were some 200 participants, and plenty of rage against the inciting rabbis. Assuming Ovadiya Yossef was to find himself in this crowd, then, ummm, someone is likely to have shaken an angry fist in his face, or something.

Plenty of raging words, often sounding like a wake for a country that was and no longer exists, or, perhaps never did, and was but a dream. There were very few calls for action; one did catch the imagination. Yoram Kaniuk informed us he is leaving the Jewish religion, and asked us to follow him.

Kaniuk’s is a unique voice. He was a member of the Palmach, the “shock companies”, the elite force of the Hagana. His writings – he is a prolific author and columnist – have documented over the ages the decline of the Israeli dream. His works often deals with those the Zionist vision cast aside: people who belong to no clear world. His columns, over the past decade, decried the shock he felt at the rise of Jewish racism.

Yoram Kaniuk speaks in Tel Aviv (Yossi Gurvitz)

He said that Judaism as it exists in today’s Israel “isn’t one he recognizes”, though he admitted “all the ingredients were there for a long while”. Therefore, he informed us he intends to leave the official version of Judaism, as it is known in Israel: he will go to the Ministry of the Interior, and demand that the clerk issue him with a new ID – a document every Israeli is obligated to carry when leaving his house – which will not describe him as a Jew, but as a “person of no religion”. Kaniuk further asked for 300 “Gideonites” or more – see the quote above – to join him in this quest. He thinks, not without reason, that this may shock the Israeli establishment. Perhaps may even cause it to reconsider its policy.

I wouldn’t be that optimistic. I think that, where we are now, there’s a strong possibility the people who will take this step would be termed, immediately, as traitors or Erev Rav – i.e., the mystical enemy of the Jews, non-Jews who masquerade as such and who ought to be exterminated; an epithet applied to leftists more and more. Even so, this act is important, maybe even very important, if only for the simple reason that anyone who remains a Jew in current Israel is cooperating with the collective of a masters’-state. A person can certainly remain a Jew in his beliefs and morals; being a Jew as far as the state is concerned is much more problematic.

Unlike the term “Israeli”, against the inclusion of which in the ID the Ministry of the Interior has declared total war – so far, with the support of the courts – the usage of “person of no religion” is acknowledged by the courts. You can demand the clerk change your religion to “person of no religion”; he is likely to refuse, though, despite repeated precedent. Forcing applicants to go, time after time, through the courts, is part of the system.

In the following week, Kaniuk and others will make a concentrated effort to convince hundreds of people to take the necessary time, go to the ministry and argue with the clerk. Lawyers who specialize in this subject will publish instructions. Israeli readers are encouraged to join the effort. Details to follow, once I have them.

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    1. rbmeritt

      The number of Jews who don’t want to be a part of murder is continuing to grow. It is hard for some to swallow the aphrodisiac of those who say “You can kill anyone you want,after all aren’t you the apple of G-d’s eye? The land of Naboth is yours for the taking.” It will not be the state of Israel that pays the price of being Ahab,merely those who are taken in by the 21st century Jezebel who thinks a loop hole in the Law will save her from Ahab’s fate. Ah, but the Law that will destroy her is the very one that will save the state of Israel. It is as hard for me to divorce the Law as it is for me to divorce my belief in Christ. I am not a Christian nor am I a Jew nor am I a Muslim. My mother’s grandfather who left Germany told her as a child to study the Torah day and night and she would be able to tell who was a Jew even with their clothes on. It is that same Law read to me by her before my birth that I find so hard to abandon. It is the same Law that gave Mt.Seir to Esau even though he sold his birthright,that gave AR to Lot,that gave twice as much to Ishmael[Duet.21-15/17]that hallowed the firstborn unto G-d and said that the firstborn of both man and beast was not to be sacrificed but was to be allowed to live and was to be cared for as an obedience to G-d because they belonged to G-d. That Law makes those who think the death of Christ makes them free of sin liars and merely covetous of the dirt of Israel for the power it affords them. Those who had they followed the Law would have inherited 1/3 of the Middle East because G-d himself made ISLAM to believe they were the son’s of Ishmael and indeed they are. But Israeli racist want it all and they set the borders up themselves and lost it all. When you begin to think that you can profit from the death of the innocent whether it’s 6 million or whether it is one it’s a pit that you never come out of. So I do not eat of the bread or drink of the wine offered at the table for fear they witness against me.

      Reply to Comment
    2. All these protests, all these ideas – the left is still alive in Israel, it’s just shattered to little pieces.

      The issue is not the decline of the left, but the fragmentation. What must be found is a way to unite the voices so that the silent majority can hear something different. We must only figure out how…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben Israel

      Adam-How can the Left get together when the only thing that unites them is hatred of the Likud and the settlers? If a joint hatred really could unify people, then the European Union would have been formed centuries ago, based on the common antisemitism of the various countries and peoples.

      The “Left” you are referring to includes “One-staters”, anti-Zionist “two-staters” (i.e. those who would support the continued existence of Israel as a separate state but only if it removes all symbols and indications of it being a “Jewish state” in order not to offend Arab sensibilities, including possibly the Jewish “right of return” while also possibly accepting at least a partial Palestinian “right of return”, and finally the Zionist Left which accepts a Zionist state within the pre-67 borders.

      Also there is a vast gulf of opinions regarding social and economic questions. Much of the far Left is pro-socialist and anti-globalist, where the group that Avrum Burg and Bernard Avishai represent are very pro-capitalist and pro-globalization.

      And, finally, what would be the role of the Israeli Arabs in this united Left you are wishing for? Would it support radical Arab nationalism like HADASH does? Or would it have to seek non-representative, token Arabs who would agree not to push this line?

      IMHO, the problems are insoluable.

      Reply to Comment
    4. george

      I think Mr.Kanyuk should not just be looking to
      get rid of his religion, he should either look for
      an apartment in Ramallah or for a new homeland.
      Israel is a democratic state governed by the
      majority of voters and not some marxist pseudo-
      paradise for the anti-Israeli loonies.

      Reply to Comment
    5. George, darling, don’t know how to break it to you, but since we’re Israelis and not Jews, we are not wanderers, we have but one homeland, and we’ll fight for it. It’s so very Jewish of you to say “if you don’t like Israel, go”. But we prefer to stay, thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Israel

      There is no such thing as a distinctive “Israeli nationality”. There are Jews and Arabs in Israel. The Jews are part of world Jewry, and the Arabs (i.e. Palestinians who are part of the Arab/Muslim “umma”). I realize there are a few of you who feel that there is such a thing, — a sort of Neo-Canaanite movement, but it is marginal and will not last in a historic sense.
      The Israeli Arabs, by and large, are not interested in your “Israeli” nationality, which is viewed by most of the Arab/Muslim way as nothing more than a modern Crusader creation which, intentionally or not, is capable of tempting the Arabs/Palestinian/Muslims away from their roots and replacing this old identity with a secular, materialist, consumerist ideology which they think is abhorrent.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Branko

      I’m in! Where do I sign up?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Yossi, I read your bio. You escaped one mythology, and I escaped another, that of Christianity. I just subscribed to your blog because, not surprisingly for a escapee, you make a great deal of sense in what you say. My own blog deals with informing fellow Americans about what a crazy thing it is to tie our horse to the settler movement. It the most damaging aspect of our foreign policy with regard to our national security.

      But mythology apart – there is so much that is admirable in the philosophies espoused by Jews throughout the ages. How did so many Jews get off on this extremist track that seems to have the U.S. Congress by the…um…tail?

      Is it Zionism itself gone cancerous? I’m finding it very difficult to discover in my voracious reading a clear distinction between the roots of Zionism and what the settlers are doing now. My inclination is to say to those such as yourself – JUMP SHIP before it hits the rocks! Bibi’s arrogance even with regard to moderate remarks by Obama makes me think Israel truly has madmen at the helm – people who have absolute power and are shielded by the U.S. from responsibility. Is this a recipe for power corrupting or what?

      Keep up the good work. You are taking an admirable stand.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Hi, Clif. Thanks for the kind words. Jumping ship, unfortunately, means an eternal guilt trip, particularly as most Israelis won’t have a ship to jump to. I think I’ll take my chances.

      Reply to Comment