This remnant of Jerusalem's ancient temple, known as the Kotel or Western Wall, is regarded as the holiest site in Judaism./Photo courtesy of Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
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From the Roman Exile until modern times, the Jews believed ourselves to be living under three oaths into which God swore the Jewish people and the Gentile nations. The three oaths are:
- The Jews will not rise up en masse to the Land of Israel. Individual Jews may visit or settle, but there will not be a mass movement to resettle the Land.
- the Jews will submit to the yoke of the rule of the Gentile nations.
- the Gentile nations will not oppress the Jews overmuch.
What has happened to the three oaths?
Some ultra-Orthodox sects that oppose Zionism, like the Satmar Hasidim, believe that the three oaths are still in force, and that those Jews who create and live in the State of Israel are sinners. These are a tiny minority of the Jews of today.
Some Jews would say that the Gentile nations broke the three oaths when they murdered Jews by the millions, and made it difficult for surviving Jews to maintain their identity. When the nations would not refrain from oppressing the Jews the bargain was broken, and the Jews were free to re-establish our sovereign nation.
Some Jews would say that the three oaths were an unnecessary doctrine which justified the lowly and oppressed status of the Jews for too many centuries of exile. In order for Jews to validate ourselves and seek our universal human rights in the modern world it was necessary for us to repudiate the doctrine that God intends for us to live as second-class subjects.
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