Originally Posted by KevinTheOmnivore
I may be unclear here, but I guess I'm asking does Jewish identity have to entail an overtly religious Israel? After all, weren't a lot of very secular, socialist worker-type Jews involved in the original development and creation of the country?
Well actually - no. Not if we're talking about the *original development* of Israel. Somewhere along the way it became unfashionable to talk about Israel, and Zionism's Religious roots. All the communal stuff, the living off the land, etc. actually came from progressive Rabbinical visionaries. Everything the Secular Socialist types went on to do, reflected the failed dreams of some Rabbi.
On one hand, there is the basic right of self determination....but then there is the religious concept of Israel, a Jewish nation with Jerusalem, and at it's core that is a biblical idea. So now you have a nation based on a religion, and that's true wether or not we're speaking of practicing Jews. Add to this that there are Jews of every color, and a debate over issues such as conversion, and the question starts to become, how do we define a Jew? It's confusing for an outsider, let alone Jews themselves.... but the existance of an Israel is being debated and questioned by outsiders, so that's where it's a problem. if a Russian Jew has no ties to any bit of Judaic culture, what claim can he have to 3000 years of Jews in Israel? How can you say you want to live in a Jewish country that incoveniences the world, and then say you don't want it to be Jewish at all? Or that the only way in which you want it to be Jewish, is in demographic majority. Perhaps if it was a theocratic nation, there would be an argument, but we're talking more along the lines of blocking prayer bungalows during Yom Kippur, and other pettiness which suggests self hatred and intolerance more then progress. Keep in mind the largest influx of immigrants are Soviet Jews.... so it's no shock that they want less Socialism, and less Jewishness.
So let's say Israel removes all traces of a Jewish identity. How can it justify keeping a Jewish majority, or the need for a Jewish homeland when it's own citizens reject their Jewishness ?