A couple of weeks ago, several hundred ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists demonstrated outside the United Nations during the intermediate days of Sukkot, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly. The gathering of Hasidic Jews in traditional clothing, which included numerous young children, held up signs and chanted slogans such as, “Israeli Nazis,” and, “Jews worldwide condemn Israeli brutality.”
The most disturbing aspect of this outpouring of animosity was not the hostile anti-Israel rhetoric, which supporters of Israel are sadly used to. Rather it was the devout religiosity of these bile-spewing Israel haters. How is it possible for God-believing Jews to be in such denial about the miracle of the ingathering of the exiles, and of Jewish autonomy in our ancestral homeland?
And make no mistake, these demonstrators are devoutly observant Jews who would never desecrate a Shabbat prohibition, nor eat food that is not strictly kosher. Moreover, there were no women or girls at their demonstration, as mixed gatherings are forbidden. And all of them had no doubt attended synagogue that morning, praying fervently with their Arba Minim in honor of the Sukkot festival.
The fervent devotion that marks the Judaism of these Israel-haters surpasses the Jewish observance of many Jews who support Israel, and both Jews and non-Jews find it bewildering to see overtly religious Jews display such hostility towards Israel. How does it make any sense?