Cite: Shlaim, Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel

Shlaim, Avi. “Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel.” European Judaism 45.1 (2012): 28-35.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berghahn/ejud/2012/00000045/00000001/art00005

 

Abstract

Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.

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