It must be difficult to admit failure after 36 years of activity around a central idea. Yet this is exactly what Rabbi Dr. Danier Tropper did today in an interview published in Haaretz (Hebrew).
Tropper founded and managed Gesher ("bridge" in Hebrew), an organization that works to promote mutual understanding among Israelis of all backgrounds, specifically religious and secular, through joint seminars, movie productions, etc. It is funded partly by the government and partly by donations (mostly from the US).
Tropper resigned his post recently and these are his observations about the outcome of Gesher's efforts after more than three and a half decades of activity:
- Religious Zionism has marginalised itself to the point of irrelevance by concentrating its efforts around the issue of Greater Israel
- On the other hand, secular Israelis are nothing more than "Hebrew-speaking gentiles" (unsurprisingly this generated the most inflammatory comments from readers)
- What destroyed Judaism in Israel is the politisation of religion (yet he does not reach the obvious conclusion that separation of state and church is necessary)
These are not great insights to anyone who lives here, but hearing these things from someone who dedicated his life to trying to bridge the gaps in Israeli society and make Israel a better place, is both sad and disheartening.