Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trading Pluralism for Peace

United Torah Judaism is an Israeli political party representing the Ashkenazi ultra-orthodox. It is currently in Netanyahu's coalition, and was a major force in the scuttling of the Western Wall deal that has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Israel from the American Jewish community.

With that in your head, consider this passage
Peace in exchange for Reform Judaism. This was effectively the deal that Moshe Gafni, a veteran ultra-Orthodox politician, proposed earlier this month at the annual Haaretz Conference on Peace. Asked by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Aluf Benn why, despite his dovish views, he insisted on aligning his party, United Torah Judaism, with the political right, Gafni dropped a political bombshell. “We will join the left when the left breaks its ties with the Reform movement,” he promised.
Like Zachary Braiterman, I just put this up as something to ponder. If the choice really is between insuring Jewish pluralism in Israel such that non-Orthodox Jews no longer face discrimination, and securing a genuine pro-peace majority in the Knesset -- what's the next move?

I don't purport to answer, I just ask (though admittedly one of the reasons I ask is to disturb the easy and comforting presumptions that fighting ultra-Orthodox domination over Israeli religious affairs necessarily goes hand-in-hand with fighting right-wing anti-Palestinian policymaking. That linkage may be broadly correct in the US, but it might not adequately describe Israeli politics).

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