National Geographic : 1985 Jul
for us," she said of those young Zionists, "but they closed up the heavens forever." THE CONFLICT between the will of God and the pride of man, between faith and reason, still swirls in Israel today, and some think God is winning. Three generations, six wars, and entire eras have passed with compressed swiftness since Israel gained its independence in 1948. The frontier age is over; most of the kibbut zim have settled into self-conscious prosper ity. Agriculture has given way to a high technology future. Even the remarkable aliyahs, the historic waves of immigrants, have tapered off; in the past few years the in coming have been balanced by the outgoing of the disenchanted. Most of the Arab Mid dle East and Africa has been emptied of Jews. The Soviet migration of the 1970s has chilled to a trickle. Now come the Falasha, black Ethiopian Jews fleeing famine. They, too, await the Messiah. The nation has been built. The new Jew ish prototype, the Israeli, has been estab lished. But what next? The Israeli, once preoccupied with survival, has turned in ward to confront himself. What does it mean to be a Jew in Israel? Most Israelis carry their Jewishness cultur ally, tolerantly. But others are returning to bedrock faith. Fundamentalism, bold and self-righteous, has made a comeback in Ju daism as it has in Islam and Christianity, in serting itself into Israeli political life with simple answers to complex questions. The Orthodox religion that developed largely in the Diaspora has not faded with nationhood, as the Zionists assumed, but has gained strength. And now a robust hy brid has grown, combining Orthodoxy with nationalism-the movement called Gush Emunim, the "bloc of the faithful," that has led the settlement of historic Jewish areas As dawn breaks overJerusalem, hundreds ofJews gatherat the Western Wall, last massive remnantof the Second Temple, to observe the feast of the giving of the Torah.Behind the wall stands the Dome of the Rock, a mosque built on the site whence, Muslims believe, Muhammad leaptto heaven on a magic steed.