November 26, 2010
A. B. Yehoshua in Haaretz makes the excellent point that if you want to really, really be a Zionist, there's only one place for it: Israel.
Zionism is not a concept that is supposed to replace patriotism or pioneering. Patriotism is patriotism, and pioneering is pioneering. An officer who extends his military service, or someone who settles in the Negev, is no more of a Zionist than a grocer in Tel Aviv, but they are perhaps more pioneering or more patriotic, depending on the meanings allotted to these concepts.
The concept of Zionism is dear to us, and therefore it is important that it find expression only in its rightful place: in the difference between us and the Jews of the Diaspora or the exile. The exaggerated and superfluous use of the term also blurs the ethical debate between Jews who have decided to be responsible, for good or for ill, for every aspect of their lives within a defined territory and under self government, and those who live enmeshed in other nations and practice their Jewish identity partially, through study, religious texts and limited communal activities.
Perhaps those, from the left, right and centre, whose communal life is dominated by Israel this and Israel that, should go there, pay its taxes, vote in its elections, have their sons and daughters serve in its military.