Warnings of a “messianic” revolution are emblazoned on huge posters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Everyone likes to exaggerate. But it’s nonsense. I know what the opponents of judicial reform mean by using such terms, but in my view it doesn’t fit the situation in Israel. What does messianic dictatorship mean?
The term “messianic” is understood differently in today’s Israeli society than you understand it. It has nothing to do with Messianic Jews or Jews who believe in Jesus. By “messianic” they mean the Messianic Age during which Jewish settlers will re-establish a sort of biblical rule in the Land. Some of the opponents of judicial reform fear we are on the cusp of seeing this happen. From my point of view, playing with this term is a tactical error, because ultimately every Jew is part of the messianic and biblical narrative.
The opponents of reform, more specifically a certain group among them, have an obsessively anti-government attitude. They fear that the right-wing government, with ministers like the religious Jewish settlers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, is pushing the entire coalition into a “messianic corner.” From their point of view, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be tough enough this time, because he knows that his coalition will collapse immediately if he doesn’t please everyone.
I have a fundamental problem with the term “messianic dictatorship.” In the eyes of the Palestinians and Arab enemies, we have been a Zionist dictatorship since the founding of the State of Israel. What is the difference between a Zionist and a Messianic ideal? Israel’s entire existence in the Land is a prophetic fulfillment and thus a “messianic” movement. Judaism and the ingathering of the Jews are the essence of this claim. The whole political dispute about the country and the holy city of Jerusalem is based on the biblical promise. The soldiers of Israel defend the Land for biblical reasons, based on a biblical mandate.
Even the founders of the state wrote in the Declaration of Independence of 1948: “The State of Israel will be founded on liberty, justice and peace, in accordance with the vision of the prophets of Israel.” Israel’s policy is based on biblical promises and is a key part of messianic redemption. But two other terms are missing from the Declaration of Independence: God and democracy. This, by the way, is a topic in itself that I have written about before.
In this case, those responsible for the declaration missed the point. Any Israeli government in the Land of Israel is, for Israel’s enemies, Jewish rule, Zionist rule, and therefore also “messianic” rule. This new anti-government PR campaign within only strengthens our enemies and, in my view, does not help the opponents of judicial reform one bit. Perhaps some of those opposed to reform have lost the Jewish and biblical vision of Israel, which is part of our existence and our essence as a people and country. But at such a time, when everything is falling apart, both sides make tactical mistakes, the reform opponents as well as the reform advocates.
That being said, I wish all readers a blessed and beautiful Shabbat. Better times will come. Shabbat Shalom!
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