Zevi Yehudah Kook

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Main article Judaism and Other Religions

Zevi Yehudah Kook was the son of Rav Kook, he was blessed with a long life and many students. His ideology makes him the father of the settler movement and therefore influential in late twentieth-century Israeli political life.

The fruit of Zevi Yehudah Kook’s exclusivist ideology can be seen in the conflict his students have caused and embraced with the Palestinians. The ideology itself is noteworthy for a staunch anti-Christianity that culls two millennia of sources without acknowledging any of the countervailing traditions. For Zevi Yehudah Kook, the attack on Christianity is motivated by the conflict with the wider Western culture which both threatens the Jewish purity of Israel from within and opposes his messianic settlement drive from without. Until now, none of his writings on Christianity have been translated into English; because I do not want to be his first translator, I am presenting his views in summary only.

Zevi Yehudah Kook resurrects many of the classic anti-Christian polemics with a vigor not seen for centuries. Among them: Christianity should be dismissed as an internal Jewish heresy; God the creator clearly cannot be a man; the Jewish God is alive whereas the Christian’s is dead. Christianity is the refuse of Israel, in line with the ancient Talmudic portrayals of Jesus as boiling in excrement.[14]

If asked: What about the many arguments that, despite the falsity of Christian truth claims, the religion still constitutes a path to God? Like Wahabi Fundamentalism within Islam, Zevi Yehudah denies the continuous relevance of the cosmopolitan ages of synthesis, choosing instead to return to the polemical Midrash and Maharal.

Why was his position formulated at the end of the twentieth century? His theology shows the change that comes about from living in a non-Diaspora context that enables this rejection of western culture. The state of Israel can lead to a secure acceptance of the other, especially other religions, or it can also allow for a complete xenophobic rejection.