It is clear that religious Zionists were the sector of Israeli society most affected by the disengagement. Indeed, a substantial majority of the evacuees were religious Zionists. Many sustained a personal loss. In addition, those who were not among the evacuees had friends and relatives who had lived in the destroyed communities. The devastation and dismantling of flourishing communities was profoundly disturbing. Furthermore, the disengagement shattered the vision of the Greater Land of Israel and the ideal of settling every part of the land governed by Israel, even for many who did not have personal ties to the evacuated settlers. Finally, there was a painful sense of betrayal. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had conceived and carried out the disengagement, was as an initiator and a long-time supporter of the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the main ally of religious Zionism. Indeed, he had changed his colors completely.
The hardships experienced by the evacuees during the rehabilitation process exacerbated their distress. Some evacuees and their supporters argued that the real purpose of the disengagement had nothing to do with politics or security because it was unilateral and done without an agreement with the Palestinians. On the contrary, its intention was to attack religious Zionism and put an end to its aspiration to lead Israeli society. For example, in an interview with Haaretz, Rabbi Yaakov Meidan stated:
Some were looking to stick a knife in the back of religious Zionism. Some had decided to set back religious Zionism by thirty years – to return it to its natural size, to its previous role… For some in the secular elites the aim is to break religious Zionism. For some it is not the aim, but it is a price they are willing to pay. Willing to pay easily.5
Fourteen months after the disengagement, leading journalist (and current member of Knesset) Yair Lapid, a prominent member of the secular elite substantiated this claim in his column:
Why was it so urgent and important for Israel to evacuate Gaza..? I want to propose a theory: it was not despite the settlers, but because of them. It was never about the Palestinians, demography, the striving for a peace agreement, the relative weakness of the IDF or any of the explanations we were given (and that were contradicted again and again). The motive was entirely different: it had to do with upsetting the delicate balance that existed between the settler society and Israeli society… Over the previous twenty years national-religious people had made extensive use of the secular people to achieve a set of political and, particularly, religious goals… But Israelis do not like to be donkeys, whoever it is that is riding them: “the pendulum stays where it is” is a well-known political tenet in Israel… The farther the pendulum is pushed, the greater the force with which it returns.6
Comment by Shlomo Moshe Scheinman: Religious Zionists have to understand that the Israeli left is actively trying to prevent effective solutions for the Arab terror problem, by setting up phony legal and/or moral roadblocks, to allow the Arabs to wage a “war of attrition” against their ideological Jewish opponents who are either more religious or more nationalist than they are, or to force irrational “peace concessions”. Their hope is that the never ending War of Attrition will wear out all the relevant parties to the point where everyone ends up giving up their religious and national identity in favor of assimilation. And even if that doesn’t work out, the legal or false moral roadblocks to victory, as well as their willingness to give away the “other guy’s land” buys them popularity points in the west, which the “enlightened circles” use to extract privileges for themselves at the expense of Jews they despise anyway.
The actions of the “enlightened circles” in Israel fits fully with what the Vilna Gaon had to say about the Erev Rav
For Jews who would like to read about the Gaon’s view on this subject, press here.
Address of this particular blog post is https://vilnagaon.org/proxy-war/