Haaretz, Dec. 31, 2016


for the first time in modern history, significant segments of organized religious Judaism in America – the most powerful Jewish community outside Israel – have sided with a political group from which emanates the stench of anti-Semitism. None other than Arye Dery, leader of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party and minister of the interior, has claimed that Donald Trump’s election signaled the imminent arrival of the Messiah: “If such a miracle like this can happen, we have already reached the days of the Messiah, therefore we are really in the era of the birth pangs of the Messiah.”

If Dery, together with countless American and Israeli Orthodox (or professional organizational Jews, such as the leaders of the Zionist Organization of America), can hold their noses when smelling the anti-Semitic stench emanating from Trump associates and supporters, and pretend that stench is a rose fragrance, and if they can celebrate his accession to power as the sign of Messiah’s impending arrival – then unbeknownst to us, an earthquake has occurred in the Jewish world, opening a wide and gaping geological fault. This is a change of formidable proportions.

The meanings of this change are many: Nationalism has replaced historical memory as the nexus of Jewish institutions and Jewish identity. Israel and organized Orthodox Judaism are willing to legitimize and collaborate with anti-Semites, when the latter can help them promote interests that are entirely political, that is, that are about control and power [....] The settlers want to annex territory in peace and quiet, without the fuss and noise of international bodies like the United Nations getting involved.