Last Friday’s interview Efraim (Effi) Eitam gave to the daily Israel Hayom is interesting in more than one way. To appreciate it, something needs to be said about the man himself who, as far as I am concerned, embodies Israel’s perpetual struggle between its particularity and universality, between “he who has not made us like the nations of the world,” and Israel’s calling to “amend the world under the kingdom of God” (from the Aleinu prayer that concludes the three daily prayers).
Eitam–a retired brigadier general, former leader of the National Religious Party, former Knesset Member and minister–grew up in a secular kibbutz. Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War he, like many others, became religious.
A decorated soldier, Eitam became one of Israel’s best commanders ever. Yet, despite his outstanding record, his military career came to a halt because Israel is afraid of high-ranking religious officers. And Israel is afraid of religious officers simply because Israel is afraid of its own particularity, that forever was a liability, and certainly is...
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