Many years have passed since then. The following quotes are from today’s most important Israeli Orthodox Jewish newspapers and from statements made by current ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders:
“He who sues his friend in their secular court – his sin is unforgivable.” (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, book published in 1981)
“Thus, a harsh edict, almost incurable, in the shape of democracy has fallen upon the world. That is a horrible disease that spreads and devours from soul to flesh.” (‘Yated Neeman’ – ‘Faithful Tent-Peg’, Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, January 1999)
“The dark Zionist regime of the last century will be extinct … The supreme court’s halls shall be swept from their current occupants, whose place will be taken … by Sanhedrin [religious court] …” (‘BaKehilla’ – ‘In the Community’, Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, February 1999)
“The Knesset [the Israeli parliament] as a whole is against the Bible … It does not matter which laws are made there … Even if we ourselves [the ultra-Orthodox Jews] vote and send our representatives there … to prevent harsh edicts … it does not imply any recognition of this institute …” (Rabbi Chaim Shaul Karelitz, a major ultra-Orthodox Jewish leader, article published in May 2000)
“The ideological perverts also named ‘secular’ … which are beasts. Perhaps improved beasts, one must say, as their external shape is human.” (‘HaShavua’ – ‘This Week’, Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, April 2001)
And the poor “secular” people – what do they say? Where are they? Alas, there are not too many real secular people, especially not in the Middle East. In fact, most of those granted the title “secular” are exactly those mentioned in the beginning of this book, which wander between the “reality mode” and the “religious mode”. The presence of many secular people, so to speak, is more of a worldwide illusion. There are mainly the more religious and the less religious.
Putting people with religious thinking in power may be hazardous to your health. By definition, a person who surrenders his or her sovereignty to some god of their choice is due to surrender his or her free will (and decisions) to the rules dictated by that god. These rules may not always represent the optimal solution in the real world.
Would you put a country’s education in the hands of a leader who believes that all species were created simultaneously? Would you trust a decision about the future of some territory to be purely rational, when one’s god has already sentenced this territory’s future? What about public busses in Tel Aviv during the Sabbath? And letting poor Mr. Cohen marry his loved one, who happens to be divorced, or even recognizing atheists (e.g., heretics) as patriots? Here is what Vice President George H.W. Bush had to say to Robert I. Sherman, a reporter for the American Atheist news journal, in 1987:
Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?
Bush: I guess I’m pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.
Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?
Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
Sherman: Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?
Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.
Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor, is considered a moderate man. Yet, in his 2005 speech during the March of the Living at the former site of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, while representing the state of Israel, he counted all evils one by one:
“Don’t we understand it easily, what the snake understood? … like poverty, like crime, like ignorance, like atheism, like terror, like anti-Semitism, like atom, like cancer, like AIDS, … isn’t a time that we understand we all must live together?”
Thus creating the equation: atheism = terror and cancer (or pick any other evil of choice).
As opposed to the United States, Israel cannot afford to fall back too much into religion. Yet this process is so clear, that many people simply fail to pay attention to it.
Leaving religion is what made the modern State of Israel, and returning to religion is what will destroy it. Moreover, when this happens, the few remaining secular people will be the ones blamed for the consequences.