Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kadima and Conservative Judasim Alliance. Irksome?

Joining forces, the Kadmia Israeli political party and the Conservative (masorti) Movement signed an argeement merging together as joint faction in the World Zionist Congress.

Olmert signed an agreement in the Knesset on Tuesday creating the United Faction, a coalition in the WZO that includes Kadima, the Conservatives, Hano'ar Hatzioni and the Gil Pensioners Party. It has long been considered normal for like-minded movements to join forces in the WZO. For instance, Labor had been aligned with ARZA, the American Reform Zionist movement.

In his written address to WZO coalition members, Olmert likened Conservative Judaism to Kadima in the sense that both represent moderate voices. (JPost)

At first, this bothered me, but then recalled that Labor was aligned with the Reform movement, so this wasn't really anything new. I guess NRP/Mafdal's alignment with the right-wing National-Union party could be the same religious/political party alignment paradigm.

What was surprising but not unexpected was Olmert's kissing up statement:

"The Conservative Movement exemplifies what Maimonides praised as the 'Golden Way,' the middle route of tradition that distances itself from the extremes and advances a vision of unity through tradition, faith and Jewish culture,"

I wonder if Conservative Rabbis who would agree with Olmert's statement see eye to eye on following the Rambam's Mishneh Torah (codification and explanation of the mitzvot). Since strict observance of the mitzvot according to the Rambam's Mishneh Torah is pretty much the definiton of Orthodoxy, (and thereby according to Olmert's process of elimintation, "extremism") then Olmert's statement is pretty lame. Olmert himself doesn't even publically observe what's written in the Mishna Torah (yet calls himself middle of the road, Kadima-ish?)

Shas is apparently very irked by Olmert's relationship with the Conservative movement, so I guess they had higher expectations from Olmert to begin with.

Let Olmert align with whoever he wants -- the question is, as the Prime Minister of Israel, is he working to divide the people or unite them?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Avi said...

Jameel -- you mention the Mishna Torah but not Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed). Sacrifices are a tool to wean the Israelites off of the idolotry common in the surrounding society, for example. Maimonides was influenced by Islamic philosophy.

And, the Mishna Torah isn't the last code, as you are well aware. Besides, it's called rhetoric and not meant to be taken literally (Olmert's speech) just as any speech (including d'vrei Torah) are full of rhetoric.

Elie said...

I know this is thoroughly off-topic, but every time I see that word "masorati" all I can think of is "My masorati does 185, I lost my license now I don't drive". (OK... who's old enought to know that quote? No googling!)

On a serious note, this is a natural alliance because both Conservative Judaism and the Kadima party see themselves as centrist movements. I personally feel neither one really is, but from their own POVs it would seem logical.

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