Friday, April 15, 2016

religious nationalism in Israel

A Jewish soldier prays.
These days, in the arenas where religion and warfare are folded into each other, the 'terrorist' Islamic State is often the first entity that comes to mind. In Islamic State, God and brute force live cheek by jowl, each reviving and elevating the other. It's a hellish but heady mix, one that those who oppose Islamic State are often hard-pressed to disentangle: Kill the infidels! Why? Because they do not have a good bead on the one true God or his commandments.

However confused and confusing the mix may be, still, even the opponents of Islamic State have to concede the enthusiasm engendered by mixing God and military action. Soldiers' enthusiasms can be aroused by a resounding cheer of "Allahu Akbar!"

And the Jewish state is apparently not immune to a tactic -- military or religious -- that builds a blood-warming response. Jews too bring with them the tamped-down understanding (kept carefully in the shadows) that anyone who is not a Jew is an infidel and probably deserves to be trampled under foot.

And now, according to a Reuters story, religious zeal is claiming an increasing home in the Israeli military.
Nowhere is the growing clout and reach of religious nationalists in Israel more apparent than in its military. Some have begun to push back.
If "God" will make soldiers more compliant and enthusiastic, why would anyone keep "God" out of the mix?

Napoleon Bonaparte wrote of such enthusiasms:
The moral is to the physical as three to one. ... An army's effectiveness depends on its size, training, experience, and morale, and morale is worth more than any of the other factors combined.
He also wrote:
If you had seen one day of war, you would pray to God that you would never see another.

1 comment:

  1. i imagine it's like mania. It must feel sooo good to be sooo right that savagery may triumph. The instinctive thrill of the hunt.