Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Israel's High Court: Shabbat observance forbidden!

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest. It stands as a covenant between the nation of Israel and G-d—for all generations. We rest because HaShem, our G-d, commanded us to rest.

But for the Jewish people, resting isn’t just a commandment. It’s a gift. It helps us to set aside one day a week so that we can both rest from our labors and dedicate time to strengthen our spiritual connection to G-d.

It’s a gift that has inspired the world. Shabbat is, arguably, one of the greatest gifts Judaism has given to the world. Every Western nation has copied this concept. Every Christianized country has its official ‘day of rest’ because of the Jews’ example.

But some important Jews in Israel don’t buy it. To them, Shabbat has no sanctity. It’s a waste. For them, the Shabbat sanctity violates the tenets of ‘democracy’. To them, that’s a sacrilege.

In what is probably not a Jewish first, Israel’s highest ‘democracy’ authority, the Supreme Court (called, The High Court) has just ruled that Shabbat, our Jewish day of rest, is irrelevant. Specifically, it declared just a few hours ago that the nation’s leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, may not order work to be stopped for Shabbat during the construction of a new rail line in Israel. The Court formally barred the PM from ordering work to be stopped to honor the Shabbat.

Israel’s founding, enabling document is the Declaration of Independence. Officially, it’s called, “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel”. This document never mentions the word, ‘democracy’. But it does reference our Tanach—the Jewish Holy Canon. It states explicitly that the creation of the modern state of Israel is directly and explicitly linked to the contents of that Holy Work.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence doesn’t say the same thing about ‘democracy’. It only states that this Jewish State will offer equality.

Our Declaration of Independence clearly puts Jewish ahead of democratic. Its first paragraph mentions the very Jewish character (including the religious and spiritual character) of Israel. It references the “Book of Books”.

The “Book of Books” is not a reference to ‘democracy’. It’s a reference to our Torah, the religious foundation of the Jewish people.

That’s how our Declaration of independence begins. It establishes a Jewish State, based on Jewish values.

Yes, there is much about Judaism this Declaration doesn’t say. But as little as it says about our religion, it says even less about ‘democracy’.

This formal Declaration speaks of the Jewish exile (not a ‘democracy’ exile). It speaks of “faith”, “tradition” and “blessings”—not ‘democracy’. It speaks of the ‘Ingathering of the exiles’—a direct Biblical reference. It then states that the new Jewish Israel will be based on “freedom, justice and peace”.

What this Declaration does not say is that this freedom, justice and peace are to be based on the concepts of ‘democracy’. It boldly declares that the creation of the new State of Israel “will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” [emphasis mine]—a decidedly religious reference.

It is only after this last reference, in the 13th paragraph no less, that the Declaration finally gets around to concepts of ‘democracy’. It says, that Israel “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions” (ibid). The only other reference to ‘democratic values’ is one last statement that promises Arabs “full and equal citizenship and due representation” (ibid).

That’s it for democracy. Truly, ‘democracy’ in Israel’s founding document takes a back seat to ‘Jewish’.

Nevertheless, ‘democracy’ warriors in Israel have always warred against this reality. For these anti-Jewish Jews, almost everything Jewish is bad. Everything ‘democracy’ is good.

For these anti-Jewish warriors, ‘Democracy’ must always trump ‘Jewish’. They fight for the ‘Supremacy of Democracy’ even as Israel’s founding document focuses far more heavily on ‘Jewish’.

They promote ‘democracy’ as a replacement of ‘Jewish’, not as a supplement to it.

These warriors act as if they reject the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people. They turn against their own G-d. They worship a Man-Made, imperfect ‘democracy’.

The High Court is wrong. It does not strengthen Israel with this anti-Shabbat decision. It weakens Israel. It harms Israel’s Spiritual protection—and Israel’s enemies know this.

The Court humiliates the Jewish state. It shames the Jewish people. It betrays the Jewish religion.

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