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Oren: Israel Is Part of God's Plan

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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A fierce attack on J Street wasn’t the only notable element of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s address to the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism earlier in the week.

During the prepared portion of his remarks, Oren issued a surprising proclamation of a personal belief in a divine plan behind the creation of the State of Israel. He said:

A God who fixes laws throughout the physical space can also intercede through the course of human history. Perfectly logical. To believe in the God of history is to believe in the reason why a tiny remnant of [the Jewish] people, rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, returned to [Israel].

… To believe in a God who cares about history leads one to assume that there is a reason why, some 3,00 years ago, this obscure group of nomads, wandering somewhere around the Middle East, came up with these extraordinary notions of a single God, and the extraordinary notion of universal morality. And there’s a reason why that faith enabled that people to survive as a people when so many other peoples have vanished, in spite of expulsions, inquisitions, and massacres. And there’s a reason to believe why this people was given a land in which to realize its national destiny, and to understand why that people, bound by its faith, longed to return to that land, even when that people was exiled.

The remarks seemed well received by the audience. Oren, who says he grew up Conservative but now attends a Modern Orthodox synagogue, is the official representative of the Israeli government in Washington. Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence calls Israel the “birthplace of the Jewish people,” but does not describe the creation of the state as an act of God’s will.

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George Fri. Dec 11, 2009

'Oren issued a surprising proclamation of a personal belief in a divine plan behind the creation of the State of Israel.'

Hmm, a writer for the Forward states that a belief in an operational super-cosmic intelligence is 'surprising.' Well, yes, I imagine it would be for your typical Leftist secular Jew whose religion is primarily the Secular Torah for abortion, homosexual marriage and every other issue of primary importance to the Left's agenda.

moshe Sat. Dec 12, 2009

George's comments sound like they come straight from the Jews for Jesus playbook!

Joel Katz Sat. Dec 12, 2009

You raise an interesting issue that has been discussed by many researchers and scholars over the years.

Namely, what was the meaning behind two words found in the Declaration of Independence: צור ישראל‎ Tzur Yisrael (Rock of Israel).

Joel Katz

george Sat. Dec 12, 2009

Moshe, allow me to update your lack of knowledge. Those who believe in a Higher Cosmic Intelligence are not only Christian fundies but members of all major belief systems AND some of the worlds most renowned physicists and biologists who are as supremely secular in their lifestyle.Only the most brainwashed PC automatons refer to Christian fundies when exposed to the subject.

julie Sun. Dec 13, 2009

can I have an Oy Vey?! Whatever Oren's religious beliefs, they have no place in statecraft. With a lie of thinking like his, how on earth to avoid duelling ideologies with the crazies amongst Muslims. Sheesh.

Jeff Mon. Dec 14, 2009

Let's see. Oren refers to Jews as a people who "came up with these extraordinary notions of a single God," which infers that they created him rather than the other way around, and then this god that they created were "given the land" by this very same god. Hmmmm. It seems that there is patent conflict of interest there. The same god then gave them instructions to eliminate a number of ancient peoples who happened to be in their way, while making occasional exceptions for good looking women for the men to take as their property. An honest reading of the Torah would suggest that the ancient Jews made god in their own image rather than the other way around. And that is why those who read it too closely, as we see every day in Israel, are dangerous nutcases. When it comes to war crimes trials, "God made me do it," won't work any better than it does in your local court house.

David Nitai Tue. Dec 22, 2009

Skeletons Michael Oren’s closet:

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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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