Last week saw a battle between Israel and Hamas. At the surface level, the conflict was about deterrence, Hamas had to be convinced it lacked the power to shower rockets on Israel.
At a deeper level, the roots of conflict are civilizational- Judaism and Islamist Hamas have incompatible claims to one and the same territory. These opposing claims emanate from two competing narratives of God’s Creation, both of which constitute their civilization's sense of legitimacy and its law.
In both cases, to be legitimate, National sovereignty must be an extension of Nature created by God. The Created world has a law for every one of its parts, for the most remote galaxies, the Solar system and for Earth. Man is no exception to this general rule, as another part of Creation occupying space on Earth we too must act in accord with His law that controls all aspects of Creation.
For Islamists, the proper method for extending law to man is Islamism. Each and every man must live as a citizen in a world wide Caliphate- under Muslim sovereignty. This world wide Caliphate may begin in areas of Muslim power, ie where the "prophet" Muhammed first dwelled. But this merely a practical issue, from the initial staging ground the Caliphate is meant to extend outward to mankind generally.
As a Non Muslim State within the immediate bounds of sacred territory dwelled in by Mohammed, the existence of Israel is a desecration of scripture, the height of affront to nature. The Islamists interpretation of religion demands that the territory currently under Israeli illegitimate occupation be made part of the emerging Muslim Caliphate. The rocket attacks staged by Hamas are a stage in the larger campaign to liberate the land and establish the full Caliphate through Holy war of Jihad.
For Jews, sovereignty is also a matter of extending law into the domain of man, this extension is also to be done by scripture. It is in precisely this light that the restoration of Jewish Sovereignty in the territory of Israel is a fulfillment of scripture. Abraham received a covenant from Hashem that the Jewish people would inherit this land. The return of Jewish sovereignty is a redemption of the land, the end of a forced expulsion from our natural home. In the words of Israel’s declaration of independence:
The Land of Israel, was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.
Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim (Hebrew) - immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.
While this particular clash with Hamas is getting headlines and dominates conversation, in principle there is nothing new about it- Hamas is but the current opponent in a historic process. The Jewish nation was founded upon a core underlying dialectic about the nature of man’s place in the world, the legitimate way to extend natural law into the political arena and its laws for citizens. This dialectic Judaism brings into mankind is the basis of redemption and is the central thread of the Torah story.
We will deal with this central thread of the Storyline of redemption in the next post. It is in the context of exploring the dialectic about extending the concept of natural law into terms applicable to legitimacy in sovereignty and law that we will move toward an answer to the original question. How does one preoccupied with material security afforded by Goel Yisrael ever come to recognize the Creator of Shamayim V'aretz.