Is Western Democracy a Jewish System of Government?


Should everybody have the right to vote?


Am I crazy? Yes, but that's not related to this issue. Am I a dictator? Yes, actually, because I'm writing this blog with voice dictation software. OK, I apologize for that pun. On second thought, I do not apologize for it. I live for the great pun. Back to serious matters.

Western democracy puts a premium on rights. Judaism puts a premium on responsibilities. Western democracy says, "what's in it for me?". Judaism says, "what's in it for God and His people?". There is a world of difference.

The Jewish people were always governed by a king and a Sanhedrin. The King part was not a very successful institution. Indeed, Samuel the Prophet had warned that it would become an abused institution. But the Sanhedrin, the great rabbinical court of the Jewish people, proved itself the most successful and enduring leadership institution. We are still governed by laws and rules enacted by Sanhedrins of millennia ago.

What was the secret of their success? Easy. Three things: responsibility, piety and scholarship.

Each member of the Sanhedrin had a supreme sense of responsibility. Their responsibility was to none other than God in heaven and His people on earth. They did not have to engage in popularity contests. They did not have to worry about what the polls said. They had to worry about what the Torah says, and what the spiritual and societal needs of the people are. Since they were not elected, they had the freedom to make unpopular decisions.

When decisionmaking became necessary, they had the tools with which to do it effectively. The requirements to be a member of the Sanhedrin were very demanding. They not only needed a fluent knowledge of all aspects of Torah and Jewish law, they also had to have command of all of the spoken languages in the region and knowledge of the natural world.

A governing body filled with scholars who are knowledgeable about Jewish law and the world, who are deeply pious and share a fundamental sense of responsibility is a governing body that is built for great success.

I once was with a youth group that met a respected politician. One of the students asked the politician how one got to be the fill-in-the-blank high office holder that he now was. He answered, quite directly, "get elected".

What a terrible answer! It is everything that is wrong with our governmental system. Think about it! A kindergarten teacher requires more job training than the leader of a Western nation! Now it is true, the kindergarten teacher is fulfilling perhaps the most important job in the world. But I don't think that having your finger on the nuclear button is too far behind.

Even more so, all one needs to do to get elected these days is to look good and sound good on camera. And, true, to have tons of money to throw at the people. With such a system in place, it is potluck if we get a good leader. The only consolation is that if the guy or gal is good enough to run an effective campaign, they probably have good administrative skills.

What's even more troubling is that people vote without the slightest idea who they are voting for. Many people don't even know the difference between Democrats and Republicans. They don't know the names of the candidates, or if they do, they can't tell you a single position that either has on any issue.

The Sanhedrin ruled through voting. In order for them to vote, they had to become members of the Sanhedrin. In other words, the ability to vote had to be earned. They had to demonstrate exceptional discernment to gain that responsibility.

And that's the sound byte. I believe that there should never be a right to vote, but rather a responsibility to vote. And voting should be dependent on demonstrating a basic competency about what one is voting on.

In other words, I believe there should be some test as part of the voting registration procedure. It should not be a test that lends itself to abuse, but rather a short test to indicate whether the prospective voter understands the office he is voting for. A voter should know what the president does, what a senator is, and so forth. A voter should also know who the candidates are and their positions on one or two critical issues of the day.

I have no intention to disenfranchise anyone. But I object to the concept of the right to vote. It is a responsibility, and everybody must be qualified to do it at least on a basic level. And here comes the next revolutionary idea: voting should be required. It should be no different than jury duty. The only way to get out of voting would be to demonstrate a lack of ability to vote responsibly.

We need leaders who are of the highest quality. The three qualifications should be an overwhelming sense of responsibility, a powerful moral grounding, and a thorough working knowledge of government and the issues of the day. We don't need rock stars, we need qualified leaders.

Moses was not a rock star, he had trouble speaking clearly. It was his responsibility, piety, and scholarship that made him the greatest leader the world has seen.

Jerusalem - She Must Be Jewish

Israel's capital is Jerusalem. It is also the holiest city to the Jewish people. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem claims that there never was a second Jewish Temple, or any Jewish connection to the city. The Mufti is not an idiot.He is an anti-semite.

Aside from the archeological evidence, which is simply overwhelming, all ancient literature descibes the faces, politics and history of Jewish Jerusalem. The Arch of Titus commemorates her fall to Rome in 70. The New Testament, which Moslems accept as a holy book, is set in Jewish Jerusalem.

So there's too much obvious source material to call the Mufti an idiot. What's left is "anti-semite." Which is an old tradition by them, as Yasser Arafat's uncle, the Mufti al-Husseini, was a Nazi war criminal. Literally. He assisted Eichman.

Moslems claim Jerusalem as holy to them only because the Jews calim it as theirs. In truth, Jerusalem isn't mentioned ONCE in the Koran explicitly, and Moslems at prayer face MECCA.

And so, why is Jerusalem such a hot issue? Simple. It is God's City, and everybody wants to prove that they've got God right. If the Jews are there, well, that seems to prove all that Chosen People stuff, especially when Jerusalem was reunited in such MIRACULOUS ways back in 1967.

And you know what? It does.

"My House shall be a house of prayer for all the nations." This is the distinguishing feature of Judaism. It never negates the faith of other nations, so long as they are monotheistic and conform to the 7 laws of human morality. Judaism never claims you've got to be Jewish to be "saved".

And Judaism never wages war to convert "infidels".

That is the Jewish Jerusalem, a place where all peace-seekers can come and converse with God and each other. If it isn't there yet, it's because we need to seek it. "Inquire after the Peace of Jerusalem."

So whenever they talk of dividing Jerusalem, and a city holy to three faiths, etcetera, just forget it. It's only holy to three faiths or three hundred faiths when the Jewish people give her life and meaning. In other hands, Jerusalem was a scene of exclusion, persecution and violence.

Jerusalem of Peace can exist only if it is in the hands of her rightful people, the Jewish nation. Then all the naitons of the Earth can truly share in the Peace of Jerusalem.

Settlements and Peace

If, in theory, dismantling settlemets would bring about peace and a cessation of teror and hostility, most would agree that it is justified. After all, Judaism allows all Torah commandments save idolatry, adultery and murder, to be violated if it is necessary to save a life. One can certainly argue that achieveing peace is a life-saving accomplishment.

On the other hand, the Jewish People are commanded to dwell in their land. That is even obligatory if it means fighting. Otherwise, what is the difference between the West Bank and Tel Aviv? If Israel voluntarily dismantles itself and all the Jews move to the US, that may be said to bring about peace and save lives. Yet no one in their right mind would suggest such a thing.

So is one part of the Land of Israel different than the whole of the Land? I think yes, and historically we find that King Solomon gave cities in the North to the King of Tyre. So perhaps a small territorial gift that enables the rest to live in peace is justified.

The problem with all this talk is that it is based on a theoretical that is non-existent. There is no guarantee that ceding territory and dismantling settlements will bring peace. There is a guarantee that it would weaken Israel strategically. It seems to me that the "life-saving" argument actually goes the other way and forbids giving away territory.

But it's not just theory, there is precedent. Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza strip. Thousands of families in dozens of settlements were uprooted. The end result? Missile fire and terrorism. No peace.

There is no reason to think that further uprootings would have any different result.

Also, the western world does not know how small Israel is. To leave the post '67 areas would again leave Israel with a narrow belly of only 11 miles! Imagine putting enemy guns across the Hudson and trying to keep New York safe. Same deal. The heavily populated central Israel area would be only 11 miles from Arabs. If they follow Gaza precedent, all of Tel Aviv will be in and out of bomb shelters.

Nope, saving lives implies keeping the settlements and the territories. Only if there is a clear destination of peace could we even think of compromise. There is no such destination, and there is no partner ready for it. If they wanted peace, they'd have had it long ago. They want Israel to be theirs to transform into Palestine, and eliminate the Jewish State.

Read the news, the leaders can't bring themselves to recognize that Israel is a Jewish State.

Sorry to disappoint, but reality must be faced.