Monday, August 24, 2009


Optimism is much easier if one has a solid home base. On the other hand, if one is considered a visitor, a residing alien on a temporary stay permit, one has to face the fact that one can be expelled – and not excommunicated – at any moment. A simple signature of an immigration, police or secret service official is sufficient to turn a life in turmoil. The alien is the ultimate Other without Otherness. The alien stands outside normal life, normal rules do not apply. The alien is only defined in negative terms, what he is not, he is not part of US, he is not from this earth as Indonesians say.
It is therefore no miracle that Judaism is an inherent pessimistic religion. A religion that does not offer redemption with a heaven as an after-life retirement home. David Ben-Gurion made therefore a grave mistake to give into pressure to declare the new state of Israel a Jewish state, and not because it contradicts tenets of political liberalism, i.e. the secular state, but because it contradicts Judaism. It is therefore no surprise that some orthodox Jews do not recognize the state of Israel, they persist in their pessimism (they also do not join the Israeli army, because they do not want to defend a state they do not recognize).

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