Kookism Epilogue – Part 1

It would be safe to say that right from the beginning, the main struggle of the Gush-Emunim movement was focused primarily on the minds of the people and not on the hilltops or the territories they were set to conquer.

Written By Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran
Prof. Gideon Aran

The Gush-Emunim followers believed that the settlement itself as well as the annexation of the land is simply not enough and so they sought to turn the Religious Judaism into a Kookistik one.

As a matter of fact, they believed that the territorial integrity of the land of Israel is in fact embedded in, or is folded into the Kookisation of the environment. In other words, they believed that the messianic-mystification of the Zionism – as well as the settlement – are one.

“Settling in the hearts” is the slogan that became so widely associated with the Gush-Emunim movement since it was first coined by an important Kookistik rabbi as a response to some serious defeats the entire movement had to overcome such as the evacuation of settlements. This catchy phrase is set to express the main lesson the Gush-Emunim movement learned from those defeats: Political activism and single one-time operations are also not enough – re-education initiatives is what we need.

Usually, such a call was interpreted as a recommendation for more thorough grass-roots efforts channeled into convincing the public of the importance of the settlement idea.

However, the main goal became something a lot more far-reaching – recruiting the Zionist support wasn’t enough – they had to go through a religious conversion to Judaism – some sort of a Giyur if you wish. In other words, supporting the movement’s activities in Judea and Samaria wasn’t enough – a religious missionary effort was in play.

I already noted that Gush-Emunim iasn’t the only revival movement in contemporary Judaism. Alongside Gush-Emunim we can also mention the prosperous Chabad movement that has a lot in common with Gush-Emunim: From their messianic orientation to their National-Maximalist tendencies.

Chabad managed to achieve considerable success when it came to the missionary front – whereas it was not the case with Gush-Emunim. Gush-Emunim influenced and made the case for the Judiazation of Zionism, the social rise of the religion and those who are religious in Israel and to some effect even the electoral movement of the Israeli public towards the adoption of hawkish political views, and yet even if the Israeli religion has been painted in Kookistik shades for two generations, there weren’t almost any secular individuals joining in adhering to this philosophy.

Taken from Kookism: The roots of Gush Emunim, Jewish Settlers’ Subculture, Zionist Theology and Contemporary Messianism


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