by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) A new poll presented at the prestigious Herzliya Conference shows that the religious-Zionist public is the most patriotic of all. [..]
MK Effie Eitam (National Union) spoke at the conference about the findings of the poll, and said that the “left-wing elites” must take this opportunity to re-evaluate their negative views and plans regarding the religious-Zionist camp.
“There are amongst us,” he said, “those who see patriotism not as a value, but as a burden – and even as a swamp that breeds nationalism, aggression, occupation, etc. Some of our elites have decided to dry out this swamp, in order to prevent these ‘mosquitoes’ from spreading.”
Left Seeks to Destroy Right in Every Area
Eitam said that the religious-Zionist public, with its accomplishments and patriotism, “should be the main source of human capital in building up a healthy and strong society. Yet, if we check how the leadership echelons in the country actually act, we will be astonished to see that they relate to this human capital in precisely the opposite manner – and in every single area, they try almost systematically to destroy them. In recent years, there has been no area in which the State of Israel did not try to dwarf, to send into despair, to liquidate and to split this patriotic camp.”
Eitam said that the religious-Zionist sector passed the ultimate test of loyalty to and love for the State: the Disengagement: “I don’t think any sector would have passed this trauma of Disengagement – the destruction of their lives and their life work, being thrown out of their homes to the fringes of society like a utensil with no use… and not to mention the ‘targeted killing’ of their educational system, the yeshivot and ulpanot and mechinot that gave birth to these elites and which are now forced to beg for donations. It’s much easier to be in the hareidi sector – vis-a-vis patriotism – and make all sorts of dark deals with the government for millions, while the heads of hesder yeshivot and the like receive cuts of 70% of their budgets. This is how they treat the leadership of this patriotic camp… And what about the teenaged girls of this week who were imprisoned for three full weeks just because they didn’t identify themselves! Where are all the knights of civil rights? Where’s the normalcy, the sanity? Are these girls murderers?! …
“In the army, I can tell you that my son is the operations officer of Battalion 51, which is now in Gaza, fighting day and night. In this battalion, the commander, the deputy commander, its three company commanders, and the operations officers are all graduates of the Eli pre-military yeshiva academy and the like. This is the chain of command in Battalion 51; yet 20 years ago, I was the only religious Lt.-Col. in the whole army! And I haven’t even mentioned the reserves – look and see all the religious commanders in the different levels! Yet the left-wing elites, who received relatively low scores on the scale of patriotism, have banded together with the media and other bodies to dwarf, bring to despair and to frustrate the arrowhead of Israeli patriotism! This is self-destructive behavior on the part of a country!”
Eitam Explains How to Achieve Patriotism
“We can’t just talk generally about ‘love of homeland’ and bandy these words about,” MK told the largely secular audience. “Where does this love of homeland come from? I’ll tell you: Every family knows where its house begins and ends, but our country doesn’t! It doesn’t know its own homeland, and the most important locations from where our national existence sprouted are considered disgusting and out of the consensus! Shechem and Joseph’s Tomb are considered like the tomb of Rahab the Harlot, while Hevron, the City of Patriarchs, is looked upon as an Arab city where some crazy nuts decided to settle. The most important parts of our homeland are hated. If Tel Aviv is ours, then all the more so are Hevron and Shechem and all of Jerusalem! But when we don’t have this concept straight, then the message given over is to say the words ‘love of homeland’ – but with a wink.”
Family First – and Know the House Rules
“In addition, every family knows that its own members are the most beloved in the world. You can love other people and respect them, but family comes first. We are all brothers, and we must love and support each other more than others. But instead of giving this message, we try, for instance, to find all sorts of ways and tricks to release Barghouti from serving his five life sentences for murder in order that he be our negotiating partner so that we can throw at him the most authentic pieces of our homeland. So what type of patriotism and loyalty to our heritage and homeland and family are we teaching?”
“And finally – in a house, there are also rules of behavior. Yes there are. We learned them from our father and his father and his grandfather, and they govern how we must act. We have rules as to how to give birth, and how to leave this world, and we have holidays, and we have a tradition – you cannot have a house that is full of holes, nor a set of rules for living there that is just a random collection of passing fads… I don’t say that everyone has to be the same thing – but we must all mine our resources from our own authentic national mine. And if not, then let us not be surprised that our ties to country and homeland get weaker.”
“I am not calling for war against the left-wing; I am calling for an apology and for a re-evaluation and for self-reckoning. I call upon the elites of the extreme left, and also the media, and also a large part of the intellectuals in Israel, to take stock anew of the situation, and to view this [religious-Zionist] public – which passed probably the supreme test of all regarding loyalty to the State and army service, i.e., the test of the Disengagement – and to say that perhaps ‘we made a mistake, perhaps we went too far.’ We are very open to dialogue of this nature. And despite all, we will continue to lead in the patriotism index, which is a basic part of us – our love for this State is absolute, permanent, total, existential.”
Other findings of the patriotism poll: The geographical area with the most patriotism is actually the Kassam-battered western Negev, where 47% of the residents say they are “greatly patriotic.” The north, which came under Katyusha bombardment a year and a half ago, came in second, with 45%. This, as compared with 36% of the general public around the country.
In total, 60% of the public defines themselves as greatly or very patriotic. Among the Jewish public alone, this number is 67%.