I. "The Missing Link"

It is a platitude - after more than 30 years - to describe the so-called "Arab/Israel" confrontation with discouraging adjectives such as "stubborn", "intractable", "resistant to normal diplomacy." More pessimistic observers often use depressing terms like, "insoluble," "irreconcilable," "irrational." U Thant, when he was Sec. Gen. of the U.N., called it a new 100 years war.

Whichever of these usual descriptions is preferred is eloquent testimony to failed diplomacy - of all kinds, good and bad - in the search for a formula to terminate the hostilities. "The Camp David Process" is the latest performance. It was launched with great eclat in 1978-79 ( Just like Oslo was on the white house lawn years later under President Clinton - Bill). It is now clear that even if "the process" produces the much heralded "comprehensive peace" it will be only after profound alterations of the formula blue-printed at the renowned Presidential hide-away. Despite this dreary record of three decades of failure the conventional diplomats persist in promoting formulas which, for the most part, are warmed over versions of previous failures. Hope seems to spring eternal that drawing a border here rather than there, a quibble for some vague amelioration of the tragedy of the Palestinians (called "refugees" by the more mendacious and innocent), some re-cycled system of guarantees for Israel's "security", or some internal political transformation in either the Zionistr state or oneof the confrontation Arab states will be the magic formula.

In other words, a careful study of the dozens of formulas and modalities with which some serious and some cynical statesmen have attempted to substitute peace for the continuing war, provides evidence that when all the sales talk is illuminated by knowledge of the historic organic causes of the problem, NOTHING NEW HAS BEEN ADDED. The same old pieces have simply been moved about on the same old board. All the games so far have ended as a draw. One lement comonto all these failures is that NONE HAS FORMALLY INCLUDED ZIONISM IN THE AGENDA OF ISSUES TO BE NEGOTIATED.

This is a strange "oversight" because, from the very beginning of the Palestine problem, in the Balfour Declaration era, the Zionist organization was a party to the negotiations. The World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency (WZO/JA) for Palestine negotiated with the UN during the partition debate of 1947-48. The "Declaration of the Establisment" of the State of Israel specifies "the Zionist movement" as one of the "establishers". And the organic relationship of the government of the state and the WZO is evident in the daily coordination of activities of the two and is detailed in formally enacted Israeli law. (1) One of the reasons for this diplomatic reticence about Zionism is that the WZO (the progenitor of the Zionist State of Israel) sedulously cultivated confusion about several different and often contradictory varieties of the phenomenon. Undeniably, "Zion" (and not necessarily Zionism) is one of the SANCTA of tradional or orthodox Judaism. This Zion, in its authentic, orthodox meaning, is a theological - not a political/nationalistic - concept. In God's wisdom, when "the people" morally merited it, God would usher in the millennium by sending the messiah to lead "the children of Israel" back to Zion. Distiling this "future hope" out of a correct interpretation of relevant Old Testament texts, these orthodox Jews understood the ancient Israelites and Judaeans lost the Holy Land because they had sinned. They had gone "whoring" after other gods and engaged in a long list of injustices towards fellow humans. Judaism is a "covenant" religion. The covenant changed from age to age but it was always a contract between "the people" and God. God "promised" the land and would prosper them in it IF "the people" rigorously fulfilled the preise moral and ethical stipulations of the covenant as it was interpreted by "God's prophets" in any particular age. Micah poke for all the prophets when he warned (III: 9-10:12), "Zion will be plowed" and "Jerusalem shall become a heap" beause the people "abhor justice and pervert all equity".

ONLY GOD - not men or any combination of men - could make the judgement of whether or not the onduct of the people had reached the point of moral excellence to repair the covenant and so clear the way for God to restore them to the land. Interpreted in this accurate sense, not even the enormous tragedy of the Holocaust could authenticate the "return". The Zionist exploitation of the tragedy perpetrated by Nazism is a better-than-average expedient to explain the establishment of the Zionist stte. But it is a human explanation, not the fulfillment of Divine purpose. And the established state is anything but "A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLES" (Isaiah LXVI:7).

It is crucial to recognize that the decisive, definitive factor distinguishing this religious/messianic Zionism from the political/territorial Zionism which built the Israeli state is the austere, stringent morality which is embraced in the unquestionable authority of God. God - not men - will determine the time and appoint the leader for "the return" as it is conceived as a sacrament for some Jews. Perhaps the most authentic - certainly the most dramatically visible observers of this tradition in Judaism are the NETURAI KARTA (Guardians of the City) in Jerusalem itself. Rabbi Avram Blau was acknowledged as a leader of tis group. The story is told that when the Israeli general in command of the troops who invaded Jerusalem inthe 1967 fighting met Blau on the street leading to the quarter where the N.K was concentrated, the general expected a hero's welcome. He advised Bl;au that his congregants couldnow fulfill their spiritual dram of praying at the Western Wall. But the Rabbi responded to these "good tidings" with a stern rebuke. "When God prepares the way and commands we will go.", he is reported to have said. :"But we will not go at the invitation of your soldiers". The story may be apocryphal, but it could well have hapened. It accurately reflets the substance of the religious Zionism of these devout Jews. One of American Judaism's most distinguishedtheologians,Dr. Jakob etuchowski,has said of such Jews - many of whom came to Zion even before there was a Zionist state -

Politially....they had no aspirations whatsoever. On the contrary, they deemed all efforts directed at creating a Jewish State in Palestine to be sinful interference with the mesianic time-table of Almighty God. (2)

Notes

(1) "The WZO/JA for Israel (Status) Law,: enacted by the Knesset in 1952 and a "Covenant" between the Zionist Organization and the government adopted in 1954. Both of thesepooitical national instruments are analyzed in this essay.

(2) Jakob J. Petuchowski, Zion Reconsidered. Twayne Publishers, Inc. NY 1966 p.41. Dr. Petuchowski's book is a thorough analysis of the differences between Theodor Herzl's state/political/territorial Zionism and the tradional Zion of orthodox Judaism. For a briefer analysis of the same subjet, see Elmer Berger, Prophecy ionism and the State of Israel.