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Holy War in JudaismThe Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea$
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Reuven Firestone

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860302.001.0001

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The 1980s

The 1980s

Holy War and Its Excesses

(p.282) Chapter 15 The 1980s
Holy War in Judaism

Reuven Firestone

Oxford University Press

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook symbolized and crystallized a trend that was developing organically in religious Zionism. He was uncompromising on the essentials of a messianic form of Zionism and popularized a combination of ultra-Orthodox absolutism with an ideology of human activism inherent in modern nationalist movements. This equation produced a militant nationalist messianism (or messianic nationalism). Kook considered the Three Vows to have been cancelled and taught that with God's sanction, the Jewish nation is on the final and inexorable path to divine redemption through building up the Land of Israel – all of the Land of Israel. God not only sanctions this redemptive moment of history but decrees it. Any compromise is a renunciation of the divine plan and a violation of God’s will. The movement that crystallized around Rabbi Kook actually carried the previously moderated and often unspoken messianic ideals of Religious Zionism to their logical conclusion, which resulted in a new contextualization and modern articulation of Jewish holy war.

Keywords:   Mercaz Harav, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Redemption, Messianism, Meir Kahane, Terror, Terrorism, Jewish Underground, Amudim (Religious Kibbutz Newsletter), Camp David Accords

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