For the Separation of Religion (and Everything Else!) and State

The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz was a kind of anarchist, at least in pure principle. See this:

Yeshayahu Leibowitz: The Religious Significance of the State of Israel on the Incompatibility of Religion and Politics

January 1, 1975

I believe that no state whatsoever, in the past, present, or any forseeable future, in any society, in any era, in any culture, including the Jewish culture, ever was or will ever be anything but a secular institution. The function of the state is essentially secular. It is not service of God. Whenever the Jews had a state, the history of that state was that of a continuous struggle between religion and political leadership… This struggle is logically and factually inevitable. Religion, that is, man’s recognition of his duty to serve God, cannot be integrated with the machinery of government.

Some twenty years ago I had a lengthy conversation with Ben-Gurion, whose attitude toward Judaism is well known to you, about the problem of religion and state. He said to me: “I understand very well why you demand the separation of religion from the state. You want the Jewish religion to be reinstated as an independent factor with which the political authority will have to contend. Therefore I shall never agree to the separation of state and religion. I want the state to hold religion under its control.” The official representatives of Jewish religion are resigned to this state of affairs; even worse, they count on being “kept” by the secular government.

The state, as such, has no religious value. No state ever had. Political achievements, conquests, victories–none of these are religiously significant.

I found this through Rabbi Bar Chaim at Machon Shilo, here.

By the way, the word “kept” is here meant in the sense of prostitution, which is exactly correct.

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