What are the values for which we founded this State? Is there anything beyond the basic will to exist? Is there something here worth dying for? We are afraid of these questions because they immediately delve deep into the roots of our identity. All that is left for us is to react to the actions of others. We are incapable of winning wars and incapable of making peace – because we have no goal.
Does our state have a goal? Or is it solely interested in ensuring that there will not be another Holocaust? Do we have a Holy Temple somewhere out there on the horizon? Or is our Holy Temple the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial? And if we understand that we need a positive destiny and that the world is already tired of our self-pity and that Gunther Gras’ grandchildren are no longer willing to stand embarrassed at the side while absolving us of any hard questions – then what really is our purpose here? What gives us the right to live in Sheikh Munis (Ramat Aviv in northern Tel Aviv), in Haifa, Acco, Yaffo and Tiberias – on the lands of expelled Arabs?
A Jewish state cannot exist without establishing a clear purpose for the younger generation; it is only from our positive destiny that we draw our right to exist as a nation. As I see it, the destiny of a Jewish state can be no other than our historical Jewish destiny.
‘We gave you a country because we thought that when the people of the prophets returns to its land, a new bible or a new ethical code will be written in the land of Israel for the world as a whole. We had expectations – and look what you have done.’
This is how a group of British intellectuals described their disappointment with Israel and the reason that they no longer see Israel as legitimate in a conversation with the President of the Sapir College, Professor Ze’ev Tzachor. (Interview with Meir Uziel in Makor Rishon, Adar 5768)
In our sources we call what the British intellectuals were expecting of us “perfecting the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty.”
The real point of connection to our identity is in one place: the Temple Mount. The real return, the return that is moving forward on the shoulders of the tremendous accomplishments of Zionism, the return to our own meaning, the return that advances into reality and doesn’t retreat into religion – is informed by the practical yearning for the Beit Hamikdash.
Three years ago, just before Tisha B’Av, Israel’s leading Ynet website, along with the Gesher NGO, publicized a poll of 516 Israelis taken by the Panels polling company. The headline on Ynet read: 64% of Israelis want the Beit Mikdash.
When the participants were asked if they would like the Beit Hamikdash to be rebuilt, 64% answered in the affirmative. Of them, 33% said they wanted the Beit Hamikdash very much and 31% fairly want the Beit Hamikdash. 36% of the participants answered in the negative. Of them, 31% do not want the Beit Hamikdash very much and 5% do not want it at all. Analysis of the religious orientation of the participants reveals that not only the ultra-orthodox and religious anticipate the Beit Hamikdash, 100% and 97% respectively. 91% of the traditional and 47% of those who define themselves as secular also answered that they want the Beit Mikdash.
Two years ago, the Knesset Channel asked the same question in a much less professional manner. 49% of those who responded to their internet poll said that they would be interested in the Beit Hamikdash.