Milena Rampoldi: My organization, ProMosaik e.V., is of the opinion that there is an opposition between Jewish religious and ethical values and the State of Israel. How do you see this and which are the principal aspects of opposition between the Jewish ethics and the State of Israel, as it is at the moment?
Yakov Rabkin: In spite of its many new allies, Zionism is under enormous pressure from within as more Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, come to question the wisdom of maintaining a Zionist state that consecrates discrimination and fuels violence. Yet, Zionism’s original revolutionary intolerance does not allow this pressure to be relieved through strategic adjustments. It maintains Zionist orthodoxy at a time when Israeli society, the embodiment of Zionism, has long shed its revolutionary nature and embraced bourgeois values and consumerism. A hard core of devoted settlers, mostly drawn from the National Religious circles, retain some of the revolutionary zeal and the culture of self-sacrifice, even though they have also absorbed many of the bourgeois values they often strenuously decry.
Zionism was a revolution. Like any revolution, it produced counter-revolutionaries, Jews who opposed Zionism encompassed a whole gamut: from Rabbi S.R. Hirsch in Germany to Hasidim in Eastern Europe, and from Moroccan Jewish notables to American Reform Jews. The opposition to Zionism and to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians draws on basic Judaic principles of justice as well as on the prudence in issues related to Messiah and Redemption.