[73. Israel of Herzl is not Israel of the Bible

It is gratifying to note that Grandma Bower in her letter of April 16 sees that "John J. Brown of Scarsdale has a point regarding 'Israel-bashing'" (Catholic New York of April 2), although I would not call that "bashing" but truthful criticism. Grandma Bower also has a point when she says: "I pray for Israel every night." I also pray for Israel every night so that its leaders seek justice and do not steal other people's land. But she completely misses the point when she says: "They gave us Christianity in the beginning."

Present-day Israel has nothing to with biblical Israel. Present-day Israel was created by a political movement called Zionism which has used Judaism to achieve its objective. The initial Zionist theoretical formulation was avowedly non-religious. It was developed and implemented by atheists. Max Nordau, a Zionist leader, declared: "We do not want to be a mere religious community; we want to be a nation like all other nations." This is exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches. The term "Jewish people" in the Bible is a religious one, signifying a community of true believers obeying God's command. In this connection, a statement by Prof. Israel Shahak, a concentration camp survivor and a peace activist, is very pertinent; he said that "the majority of my people has left God and has substituted an idol in His place, the name of this modern idol is the State of Israel." And this was Golda Meir's reaction, as reported by Jimmy Carter in his book The blood of Abraham, when he expressed to her his concern about a general absence of religious interest among Israelis: "She laughed aloud and agreed with me, but added that this was not a matter of concern to her because there were certainly enough 'orthodox' Jews around." Confusion should be avoided between Israel of Herzl and Israel of the Bible whose prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus-Christ.

April 22, 1992]