Page:A Jewish State 1917.djvu/54

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38
A JEWISH STATE

by trying to raise himself, raising also the whole body of citizens. The ascent will take a moral form, useful to the State and serviceable to the National Idea.

Hence I incline to an aristocratic-republic. This would satisfy the ambitious spirit in our people, which has now degenerated into foolish arrogance. Many of the institutions of Venice pass through my mind; but all that in them caused the ruin of Venice must be carefully avoided. We shall learn from the historic mistakes of others, in the same way as we learn from our own; for we are a modern nation, and wish to be the most modern in the world. Our people, who are receiving the new country from the Society, will also thankfully accept the new constitution it offers them. Should they, however, show signs of rebellion they will be promptly crushed. The Society cannot permit the exercise of its functions to be interrupted by short-sighted or ill-disposed individuals.

LANGUAGE.

It might be suggested that our want of a common current language would present difficulties. We cannot converse with one another in Hebrew. Who amongst us has a sufficient acquaintance with Hebrew to ask for a railway-ticket in that language? Such a thing cannot be done.[1] Yet the difficulty is very easily circumvented. Every man can preserve the language in which his thoughts are at home. Switzerland affords a conclusive proof of the possibility of a federation of tongues. We shall remain in the new country what we now are here, and we shall never cease to cherish the memory of the native land out of which we have been driven.

We shall give up using those miserable, stunted jargons, those Ghetto languages which we still employ, for ours was the stealthy speech of prisoners. Our national teachers will give due attention to this matter; and the language which proves itself to be of greatest utility for general intercourse will be adopted without compulsion as our national tongue. Our communal tie is peculiar and unique, for we are bound together only by the faith of our fathers.

THEOCRACY.

Shall we end by having a theocracy? No indeed. Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests within the confines of their temples in the same way as we shall keep our volunteer forces within the confines of their barracks. Army and priesthood shall receive honors as high as their valuable functions deserve. But they must not interfere in the administration of the State which confers distinction upon them, else they will conjure up difficulties without and within.

Every man will be as free and undisturbed in his faith or his disbelief as he is in his nationality. And if it should occur that men of different creeds and different nationalities came to live amongst us, we should accord them honorable protection, and equality before the law. We learnt toleration in Europe. This is not sarcastically said ; for the Anti-Semitism of today could in very few places be taken for old religious intolerance. It is for

  1. The author changed this view when the feasibility of Hebrew as a living language was demonstrated to him.