Rabbi Yigal Ariel: We are cutting ourselves off from the Israeli public

Rabbi Yigal Ariel of Moshav Nov in the Golan Heights published a book about haredi trends in religious Zionist circles. Here are some comments from a Ynet interview:

“While everyone else spoke of ‘disengagement’ we (Religious Zionists) spoke of ‘expulsion’. Instead of the ‘Amona evacuation’ we referred to the ‘Amona pogrom’….we are settling ourselves apart from the general public through this terminology, and are viewing the world through our own narrow and limited point of view. We are completely cutting ourselves off from the Israeli public.”

I agree. Our community can’t expect a dialogue with other segments of society while continuing to use loaded vocabulary.

Rav Ariel also brings up the case of the teenage girls who were recently jailed:

As a further example, Rabbi Ariel noted that he was recently asked to endorse the efforts of Right wing groups, who refused to recognize the authority of various law enforcement agencies, and to deem such actions as ‘heroic’ and as ‘sanctifying God’s name’.

“The girls involved in such civil disobedience said that they did not recognize the authority of the State of Israel no its courts, only that of God almighty,” said Rabbi Ariel. “Is this what Religious Zionism has come to?”

The rabbi further said that what disturbed him far more than these actual actions is the fact that rabbis refused to speak out against such phenomenon [sic]. “Somebody brainwashed and warped these young girl as is the case with many Orthodox youths, and the rabbis all remain silent.”

“These are young girls that don’t know which way is up just yet,” said Ariel. “They find themselves running across a hilltop in the West Bank one day and are convinced that they are saving the land of Israel.

“What about the Israeli people, its inhabitants, however? What about the IDF that protects them on that hilltop? These girls do not recognize [them] either, and deem them ‘a rule of evil’. If this is the way Orthodox people speak, then we have become detached from reality. We have become delusional individuals.”

Rav Ariel also laments religious Zionist rabbis who have recommended against reading certain books, including “Mekimi” by Noa Yaron (whom I heard speak recently). “We (religious Zionists) now want obedient followers that do as they are told and do not ask difficult questions.”


  1. the style of the NRP was always not to listen strictly to the Rabbis. I remember when The Rabbonim of the NRP (Rav Eliyahu and Rav Shapiro) said certain things about what the NRP should do. When they did not listen and came under criticism they then said that they ask the Rabbis for advice but are not committed to necessarily following that advice.
    It seemed strange to me at the time (I understand asking a friend and then not listening, but if you are asking a rabbi for advice it seems like you are asking for more than just advice, so why not listen?), but that seems to be the style Rav Ariel is advocating

  2. What’s wrong with Mekimi? I thought it was quite inspiring, even though I had to slog through it in Hebrew.

  3. mominisrael says

    Rafi, the problem is looking to the rabbis for guidance and getting what R. Ariel views as extreme responses; they are based on an extreme hashkafa.
    Tamiri, I haven’t read it. I had some issues with what Noa Yaron said when I heard her.

  4. What issues? There a gazillion books like hers out there, what made this one have issues?
    I still have the book in Hebrew, if you want to borrow it.

  5. mominisrael says

    I didn’t read the book. Do you think I should?

  6. I read her book and heard her speak. If you read the book, tell us what you thought of it. And then I’ll share my opinion (I don’t want to ruin the book for you). Why was she put on the “don’t read” list?

  7. Is his book in English? It seems like this is the kind of book I’d like.

  8. mominisrael says

    Tamiri, I think PS was referring to R. Ariel’s book. I doubt it’s been translated.

  9. Noa is not Noah. Noa is a female name. It’s about an Israeli celebrity (she was on the radio and TV) who finds herself in Breslav. Although it’s not an autobiography (the name of the protagonist is not Noa), it’s really a synopsis of Noa’s life. You can see her website at http://www.mekimi.co.il/ but it looks like it’s all in Hebrew.

  10. You write: “I agree. Our community can’t expect a dialogue with other segments of society while continuing to use loaded vocabulary.”
    I strongly disagree.
    As Barnard WOMEN, we recognize the power of semantics. We understand that when people refer to 50 year old “girls” (“banot” in Hebrew), there is something demeaning to women.
    No one questions that if someone calls a man “boy” that they are putting that man down (or “putting him in his place”).
    The same is true for political language.
    ALL LANGUAGE is loaded!
    So we need to use our language carefully.
    “Disengagement” in not neautral. It is an inaccurate descriptive term, intended to white-washe the terrible dismantlement of Jewish settlements and the eviction/expulsion of Jews from their homes.
    Just as I understand the meaning (including the political undertones) of the term “disengagement”, so too do others understand the meaning (and political overtones) of the term “expulsion.”
    Language influences thought and actions.
    Another time I will write more about what I see as the heroic behavior of girls who are willing to stand up for what they believe. Whether or not you agree with their ideas or their actions, interviews with the girls reveals fully formed ideologies with the willingness to sacrifice for their beliefs.
    Once, a long time ago, we admired the crazy kids who went out and risked their lives to build this country (despite British and Arab threats).
    I am surprised to read your criticism of their modern equivalents.
    I know that you don’t advocate the shallow, materialistic street culture.
    I hope that my children grow up to be fervent in their beliefs.
    And I hope that if their views are different from mine, that I will continue to respect both their different opinions and their committment to do everything in their power to affect change in this world.

  11. mominisrael says

    Dear RivkA,
    Thank you for your comment.
    I agree that “disengagement” is a euphemistic term. The term “expulsion” also has political implications.
    I might use the term “formula” with a new mother instead of the more objective term “artificial baby milk,” because if the mother labels me as a breastfeeding fanatic she won’t hear anything I am saying.
    I don’t have any easy answers, which is why I rarely bring up politics on my blog.
    I quoted Rabbi Ariel because he criticized the parents and mentors of the teenage girls, and I had also. In that post I wrote that I believe the girls’ parents could have showed their respect for the girls’ beliefs while effecting the girls’ immediate release from jail.
    Shabbat shalom.

  12. mominisrael says

    PS A friend wrote me that R. Aviner doesn’t think religious girls should be reading about Noa Yaron’s past experiences in Mekimi. Tamiri and Square Peg–please tell us more.