The Fourth Oath: Israel as a Talmudic State
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On October 8, 2010, the government of Israel decided (22 for, 8 against) to fix the Law of Citizenship. According to the new version, people who are not Jews (a term that even the State of Israel failed defining properly) and want to become citizens of the state, would need a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic state.” This amendment was one of the promises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's party Yisrael Beitenu in the coalition agreements. Yisrael Beitenu has advanced a long list of discriminatory laws against Israel's non-Jewish citizens. This is a key point: around 20% of the Israeli citizens are not Jewish. Moreover, as described in The Cross of Bethlehem, many of the considered Jewish by the Ministry of Interior do not consider themselves Jews.
This amendment could be defined as yet another Israeli racist law and dismissed. This assessment would be accepted by many Israelis; moreover, several Israeli politicians – including Dan Meridor, the Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy – have defined this law as unnecessary. However, there is more to it than an attempt to further discriminate Palestinians and other non-Jewish citizens. It is deeply related to the roots of the Zionist state.
"Oath" make a very dramatic appearance in the Talmud. The Old Testament was considered dangerous by the Pharisees. Simply, many of the Mosaic Laws were uncomfortable – and inconvenient – to fulfill. Moreover, the prophecies regarding Jesus – their archenemy – in the Bible were difficult to ignore. Facing such a problem, these industrious men operated a two stages plan. First, an Oral Law was created. These were laws that defined how the Mosaic Laws in the Pentateuch should be interpreted. Using them, they could turn around any law to their convenience. They claim the Oral Law was given verbally by Moses to their ancestors. The Bible does not support this claim. At certain stage – before Jesus was born – the compilation of this Oral Law into books began. The result was the creation of a new layer of books – collectively known as the Talmud – that included all the formal interpretations of the Pentateuch – the Bible’s first five books. All the other books in the Bible were considered little more than fables by the Pharisees. Nowadays, the rabbis – the Pharisees spiritual descendants – consider the Talmud as the main book of law. Since then, the Pharisees and rabbis can manipulate the law interpretations to their personal benefit. The Talmud is divided into “Midrashim” – namely “sermons.” One of the most famous ones is called “Three Oaths.”
The Three Oaths sermon tells God adjured three oaths upon the world. Two of them belong to the Jews, while the last relates to all other nations. The Jews are sworn not to go up from Exile to the Land of Israel en masse and not to rebel against the other nations, while the other nations are sworn not to subdue the Jews excessively. This sermon has no Biblical basis. In Netanyahu's Mule I described the alliance between the Zionist and certain Orthodox groups after a rabbi defined a way to circumvent the oath not to go to the Land of Israel. This alliance enabled the modern State of Israel
The State of Israel is not Orthodox by definition; yet, in many key issues it follows the Halacha – the laws described in the Talmud. One such example is the controversial Law of Return – the law giving immediate citizenship to any Jew landing on Israel. This law is the basis for Israel being a racist state. The definition of Who is a Jew roughly follow the Talmudic definitions. Most civil events – births, marriages, deaths – follow the Talmudic laws and are controlled by “dayanim,” Jewish religious judges. The one place where the State of Israel cannot follow the Talmud is the Three Oaths issue. According to the oaths, the Zionist state should not exist. Given this, it is not a surprise that the state is trying to introduce a new oath, the Fourth Oath, in a defiant attempt to make the old three ones obsolete.
Not surprisingly, the State of Israel is suffering from a similar retaliation from within. Dayanim – the Jewish judges for religious affairs – are trained separately from regular judges and are part of a semi-independent judicial system. Before becoming active, they must make an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel but not to its laws. There is no doubt that if they were forced to fulfill the new amendment to the Law of Citizenship – namely to add an oath to a “Jewish and democratic state” and thus to recognize the state laws – they would refuse. Many of them are Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews), some of these paradoxically do not recognize the state that gives them jobs as dayanim, since they accept the Three Oaths literally.
It is impossible to accept this amendment on a logical base; we have seen the State of Israel applies different oaths to non-Jews and Haredim while none to secular Jews. It is another racist layer of this state, openly violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is another reminder of the illegitimacy of that state, and more of anything else, of its internal weakness.
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