NEW YORK (VINnews) — In the wake of the Chareidi Eretz Hakodesh party’s running in the World Zionist election and the possibility that it will be participating in a broad coalition with secular parties, the Agudath Yisrael of America issued a strong statement stressing that a Chareidi party cannot accept the Zionist Movement’s Jerusalem program which declares Zionism to be “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people” and avers to “the centrality of the State of Israel . . . in the life of the nation.”
The Agudath Yisrael statement added that “the Jewish people is a nation based on the belief in One Hashem and the Torah He gave us, and nothing else. By omitting this truth, the Jerusalem Program – and the Zionist ideology it embodies – attempt to redefine the essence of the Jewish people as a political entity similar to all other nations of the world. This redefinition goes against the essence of our emunah and mesorah.
“Among the foundational principles upon which the Torah giants of the past century established the Agudas Yisroel movement was the firm rejection of the Zionist redefinition of Jewish peoplehood. Throughout its history Agudas Yisroel has remained faithful to that essential principle, and it will continue to do so. We therefore reiterate: Any suggestion that the ideology of Zionism is compatible with Chareidi Jewry’s fundamental beliefs has no basis and must be rejected.”
The Agudah also criticized Eretz Hakodesh (which is affiliated with the Degel Hatorah faction of the party) for joining a coalition with secular parties in the Zionist organization, stating that “Chareidi Jewry has long abided by the halachic ruling of the most revered Torah leaders of a generation ago that it is forbidden to join Jewish organizations whose purpose is to bring Orthodox Jewry together with non-Orthodox under one organizational umbrella. What happened last week at the World Zionist Congress transgresses the spirit of that ruling, and represents a departure from accepted Chareidi norms.”
The Agudah added that “Whatever financial benefits may accrue to worthy institutions as a result of this coalition agreement, they do not justify the abandonment of principle.”
The statement follows a compromise reached last week in which the Orthodox and right-wing majority agreed to sit with left-wing, reform and conservative elements in the congress and the chairmanship of the Keren Kayemet’s education committee will be shared between the Eretz Hakodesh and Kachol Lavan parties.