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Jews, Nationality, And Judaism: The Case Of Ha-Rishon Le-Zion, Rabbi Meir Ben Zion Hai Uziel

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on one important implication of the difference that is reflected in the relation between traditional religious Jewish identity and the new idea of Jewish nationalistic identity. To demonstrate this difference it examines the thought of a representative Sephardic rabbi, Ha-rishon Le-Zion, Rabbi Meir Ben Zion Hai Uziel. Rabbi Uziel could relate to the secular Zionists and to the secular Jewish State with tolerance and respect. He did not feel that there must be a religious justification to the Jewish State. Uziel believed that in the Jewish-Arab conflict the Jews should take the initiative to reconcile. However, there is no doubt that as Rabbi Uziel understood the State of Israel, it does not determine Jewish identity. Its function is to grant the Jewish people a framework in which the Jew may organize his life according to his private responsibility before God.

Keywords: Ha-Rishon Le-Zion; Israel; Jewish identity; Rabbi Meir Ben Zion Hai Uziel; Zionists



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