“I feel a crisis…primarily in the spiritual realm. What did this crisis do to [the youth after Gush Katif]? They had a process of mourning, repression, denial. And afterward they opened up and asked the questions: Why did we pray and God didn’t answer? Is our path even the right one? Were we right in this devotion? Does Israeli society even want us or is it kicking us?”
R.Gisser:People say: What, the ultra-Orthodox don’t live in this land? They do. Even in Bnei Brak they fulfill the commandment of settling the Land of Israel. But the ultra-Orthodox don’t serve this government. They are not obedient. What does the ultra-Orthodox model say? It says no military service, or at least not wholehearted service. Limited participation. Bearing the religious burden, not the social and political burden. Stripping the state of the holiness we attributed to it.”
Rapoport: But the holiness of the state is one of the principles of your belief.
R.Gisser: “True. The disappointment and insult are so large that they allow this thinking, which is a kind of breakthrough in religious Zionist thinking. I don’t give it a good grade.”
Rapoport:It’s a different religious Zionism.
R.Gisser”It’s not religious Zionism. It’s not a Zionist society. It’s a type of ultra-Orthodox society, in which the motif of the holiness of the land is at the center of its religious existence, just as with the ultra-Orthodox the motif of keeping the Sabbath is at the center. A new ultra-Orthodox society with large woolen kippot. But it’s not religious Zionism. Because religious Zionism is a principled choice in that I go with this nation as it is. If this nation chose this leadership, then it’s my leadership. Whoever ignores this and says that from his perspective only those devoted to the word of God are the people of truth and the rest are, at the most, a marginal appendix, a footnote to the history of the Jewish people, is adopting ultra-Orthodox isolationist positions par excellence.”
Rapoport: This could lead to far worse clashes. Ultra-Orthodox society achieved the Sabbath closure of Jerusalem’s Bar-Ilan Street with violence.
R.Gisser:”Ultra-Orthodox society is a strong society. The state does not consider forcibly recruiting the ultra-Orthodox into the army, because it doesn’t want to enter into a frontal clash with ultra-Orthodox society. The mighty protest in front of the Supreme Court seared the consciousness of secular society, the Supreme Court and Justice Aharon Barak himself. He doesn’t want to be in that place again. The state wasn’t afraid of insulting and utterly humiliating religious Zionist society, because it knew that at the basis of this society there is a fundamental loyalty to the values of society and state.”
Rapoport: You’re in a type of trap.
R.Gisser: “Yes. Unequivocally a trap. We know and we knew how to establish communities in Judea and Samaria solely with the cooperation of the Israeli government. We don’t know how to establish communities against the state. The ultra-Orthodox option is not an option……
“the religious Zionist public is very integrated: The evacuating soldier is religious Zionist, the GOC central command is religious Zionist. In ultra-Orthodox society, the evacuator is always the other, the minister is the other, the chief of staff is the other. We are not dealing with the other, we are dealing with ourselves.”
“We are finished with the brazen struggle. We’re out of patience for whoever leads such a struggle. Many parents will not send their children to the subsequent struggles… the ‘anarchists’ who ran wild in Amona should be left alone to face the police.”