NYTimes: email from Israel

Russell Turpin deafbox@hotmail.com
Mon, 01 Oct 2001 23:16:34 +0000

Daniel Gordis writes:
>At a certain point in the conversation, one of the fellows raised his hand 
>and basically said: "What you're demanding actually makes perfect sense 
>from your point of view. But from our perspective, from the perspective of 
>people whose parents or grandparents came here from across the world to 
>build the one place on earth where Jews would be able to live in a Jewish 
>state with Jewish values at its core -- what can you say to reassure us 
>that the Jewishness of the state won't disappear if you're given what you 

And this precisely illustrates the problem. It is at
the root of the current war between the modern west,
and fundamentalist groups who want state religion.
The fellow who asked this question is far closer to
Osama bin Laden, who fights for states with a
particular Islamic character, than he is to citizens
of western states who believes in secular democracy.

Yes, given recent history, and current alliances,
Israel is our friend. As is Saudi Arabia. Inevitably,
though, these problems will persist as long as there
are states with official religions. The US and the
other western democracies need to start pushing the
idea that a state-preferred religion is every bit as
wrong as a state-preferred race, and has no place
in the world of the 22nd century.


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