TheHOPE ~ התקווה
The New Vision 
for Israel & Zion


CYBER - ZIONISM

Dr. Moshe Dror 18.07.2012 22:38
CYBER - ZIONISM - Jewish Future - New Israel


Moshe Dror calls us here to enact the Zionism for the 21st century, based on "Virtual Aliyah" and world-wide Zionist involvement.



CYBER - ZIONISM

Dr. Moshe Dror

(with comments by readers)

 

Clearly, one of the major issues that one would have to deal with in relation to "Israel in a Changing World" is the changing nature of the classical ideology of Zionism itself. Political Zionism was a product of the Industrial Society of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now that the world, and Israel along with the global Jewish community, is no longer in the Industrial culture but rather in the Information Era we need to re-examine the Zionist position. Indeed, there are some futurists who are suggesting that the Information Age is no longer an adequate metaphor for the present, let alone a guide to the future. We are heading towards an emerging Post-Information Age. Classical Zionism is a 19th century ideology that is trying to come to terms with a 21st century world.

One of the paradigm shifts that is an outgrowth of these social transformations is the changing nature of the nation state. Classical Zionism was based on a territorial imperative that saw Israel as the "center" of the Jewish world and every place else as Galut, Golah, Tefutzot, or diaspora. The obvious implication of this was the issue of Aliyah. However, this center-periphery model may no longer apply. We have shifted from an inter-national to a multi-national to a trans-national and now into a global model. The classical Aliyah imperative of Zionism may no longer be the prime focus of Zionism in our information age.

It is precisely this transformational shift from the territorial imperative of the nation state that is now so dividing the Israeli community itself in the "Peace for Territory" controversy as we try to relate to the Peace Process.

Indeed, American Zionists are seeking to "empower the Diaspora". Rather than see Israel in a center/periphery classical Zionist dichotomy, we may see Israel in the cyber world as the most important "node" of a global Jewish network. We have already made a significant paradigm shift from a center/periphery Zionism to a node/network Zionist concept. In this model, Aliyah may not only be actually settling in Israel, but making a kind of "intellectual Aliyah" by being a contributing member of the global Jewish networking community in some significant manner.

Just as the primary form of capital of the industrial age was money, the prime capital of the information age now is knowledge. So too, the contributions of Jews need no longer be only monies but knowledge.

 

This possible cyber Aliyah model will obviously not replace traditional Aliyah. There is a big difference between networking knowledge and settling in Israel and participating in all the aspects of one's life in Israel. But with the realization of the low Aliyah rate from the USA, and other highly industrialized countries, this does offer a real option of ways to be an empowered Jew and Zionist in another geographic node.

More, the center/periphery model is limited to an only two way Israel/Diaspora relationship of "us versus them". The cyber model encourages a multi directional network with global Jewish empowerment and participatory interaction of all Jews.

There is now a well functioning Global Jewish Network that is linking hundreds of thousands of Jews on a worldwide daily basis with each other and with Israelis. This is only the beginning. As the Information Super Highway will grow and develop, this kind of "knowledge Aliyah" can provide an entirely new process to realize a cyber Zionism that simply never existed before. The "communicopia" (communications cornucopia) might offer real alternatives to the anachronisms of endless arguments about Aliyah and the Zionist vision.

As we are well into an information based culture, it is important to realize that Jews are an information intensive people. It is probable that there is a higher proportion of young people studying in educational institutions (colleges, universities, Yeshivot) in Israel than in any other country. This is the case with Jewish youth in countries outside of Israel as well. What other societies are just getting into -- knowledge brokering -- Jews have been doing, and doing well, for a thousand years and more.

We might consider that Zionism used the process of the Agricultural age for the return to the Land, and later shifted to an Industrial model as its vehicle into the world markets, so now the entrance into the globalized community is in knowledge brokering. This is one of the most powerful skills that Israel has and can contribute to the world and to the Jewish community' all over the world. If we can focus on the positive possibilities of this aspect of knowledge brokering that is the primary industry of the global future, Israel can play a significant role in the future global economy.

The needs for intensive knowledge brokering on a global scale is more than Israel alone can supply. However, Jews, on a worldwide basis are on the forefront of the emerging information/knowledge industries. If Israel can network the vast Jewish brain power on a global scale, it can develop unimaginable potential to sell on the global open market. It is no mere wild dream to suggest that networked Israel/global Jewry might become the Primary Knowledge Brokers of the planet. This requires a rethinking of the Israel/Diaspora relationship into a co-creation (Shutafut) of the real expertise of Jewry spreading knowledge - A cyber Midrash of "Ki Mi Ẓion Teẓe Torah.

Israel, networked with global Jewish knowledge expertise can develop and market significant aspects of the Emerging Worldwide Electronic Universities where millions of people are currently studying all over the globe regardless of where their physical bodies may be.

With the vast potential of such information technologies as virtual reality and many other linked IT systems, one can even imagine the experience of "being" in Israel while sitting in New York, London or Paris. All of this IT is actually creating a sense - of "Virtual Community" with millions of persons who are likely never to actually meet. These communications systems are sure to affect traditional social patterns and the traditional Zionist pattern as well.

The possibilities of any-kind-anywhere-anytime information and knowledge will surely transform Zionist thinking as it is transforming every other cultural model. We can use these new technologies to deal with the assimilation, intermarriage crisis that we all worry about.

The new buzz-word in Jewish circles is "continuity". But continuity means more of the same. Basically more of looking at yesterday to make tomorrow more palatable. What is needed is not, continuity but change. Not a band-aid change, but a radical re-thinking of major, fundamental, soul-searching change that appreciates our past, honors our heritage, pays tribute to the grand achievements of previous generations, but looks forward to living in the cyber world of the 21st century.

 

From: Jason Lasky Yehoshanah <yehoshanah@humanifesto.org>

My response to the Dror article Virtual Zionism 

19th Century Nationalistic Zionism, did not actually begin it's life a century and a half ago. Zionism relabelled a long held mythic dream held with in the grand narrative of the people of Israel, the people of the Book. The great hope of the Zionist movement was for a final return from two millennia of exile, a national "rising up" to a "promised land". A dream that did not seem to be coming true... with out making a highly focused movement to  realize it

The people of Israel seemed physically stuck in exile, they called it the Diaspora and they called themselves the Jews. So who ever formulated Zionism may have gravitated to a territorial focus to create a cultural value shift, to a center / periphery spacial relationship. Zionists were developing a new narrative moment for the Jewish protagonist, through new actions, an old player would be initiated in to territorial nationhood, witnessed and situated among many other role players in a broader drama called history and the making of nations. u

Zionism was a counter relational movement to a host of other movements or buttressed stances, such as historical Rabbinical Judaism territorial kingship and land lordship, the Church with its authority and estates, civil law courts, mercantilism, industrialization of production, the beginnings of anti-nationalistic labour based
Socialism and a scientific movement including a theory called evolution, a significant plank in a platform for atheism etc.

Zionism seemed to have a primary goal, to grow out from and reverse a movement it was born in called Rabbinical Judaism. Rabbinical Judaism was a movement, an ongoing trend through the ages, to hold on to
origins and evolve from the them by developing a flexible and continuous interpretation of the Bible. An authoritative way of life that would allow the tribe of Judah to continue to live on, as Jews in Exile, outside the land of Judah and survive the dispersion of the people of Israel.

Rabbinical Judaism created a Jewish diaspora identity based in Torah law and custom, elaborate and legalistic, as an insurance policy for Jewish survival (and sometimes flourish) in Exile. Zionism aimed to bring the Jews back to the land, but how could it buck an elaborate trend of how to live in exile, without separating from Rabbinical Judaism, or even Biblical origins? i

To a large degree, Rabbinical Judaism can be seen as compensational, when the people of Israel and the Jewish people were lacking the benefits of natural resources, land based labour and a central authority, as well as a central Temple to unify their worship. How could a dispersed Jewish people sustain their connected identity and the practice of Torah law without a home land and it's just laws governing equitable ownership and the fair distribution of produce coming from the land? What would unite these tribesmen with out a common wealth and a common court for justice? i

Rabbinically explicated law and custom transformed the meaning of the Biblical Torah through study which always demands in depthinterpretation and close knitted community participation. Compared to the simple reading, which attempts to reduce the Bible to story telling of the past, Rabbinical interpretation enhanced over time, weaved new strands on top of the interpretations and intuitive elaborations of the past.

Rabbinical interpretation of the law and the customs that surround them, enhanced an already historical identity and culture, with fresh meaningful, practical and social value. Rabbinical Judaism formed a deeper knowing of shared identity and a complex worldwide network of culture sharing relationships spread around the world, the Dispora.

Rabbinical interpretations could be communicated between communities nodes in a network, connected through their study and reflected in their customs derived from the same information. Rabbinical Judaism has always been networked through regular community learning and nodal through the development of higher learning Rabbinical study houses authoritative commentaries on traditional texts, a wealth of letter writing between contemporaries and vast compilations every few generations.

Modern concepts of networks with various types of connections and nodes may be useful to better understand Rabbinical Jewish development. Understanding networks may enhance modern life, with it's new emphasis on recording and communicating social expression and sharing knowledge as information. However, to say information based sharing networks are a new layer for territorial life or Modern Zionism would be forgetful of the entire history of Rabbinical Judaism.

Rabbinical Judaism may have made too much emphasis on meaningful information based relationships, so much so that Zionism was born from Judaism's lack of realizing a central physicality. Zionism burst forth in to this void, to fulfil the physical need Judaism had tried to live without. Zionism took up the role, once held by the devoted within Judaism, longing to complete the realization of Biblical prophecy, a return to the Land, (and with in the devotional religious world view the manifestation of a moral interventional creative divinity) and peace among the nations of the world.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, the first Religious Zionist leader of early 20th Century, made obvious the need to integrate Rabbinical Judaism's exiled Torah, with a spirited, artistic, vital embodied and flourishing physical land based life, with responsibility for land stewardship, natural resources and a labour economy.

Sure, add Cyber networking to facilitate networking and information sharing but as an enhancement, not as a replacement of Rabbinical Judaism and earthly Zionism. Perhaps we could invent a futuristic integral cyber networking land based organism through the union? 


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