Is it true that the Torah forbids a Jewish State?

One of the most common claims we hear is that the Torah forbids a Jewish State. We will explain this claim as it is presented by Neturei Karta and then thoroughly debunk it.

Does Isaiah 11:1-12 say the Torah forbids a Jewish State?

When asked which verse in the Torah forbids a Jewish State, Neturei Karta, use a verse from Isaiah. In this verse the Torah describes how the Messiah will bring the Jewish exiles back to Israel.

A royal scepter will emerge from the stock of Jesse, and a sapling will sprout from his roots. The spirit of G-d will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of G-d… And it shall come to pass on that day, that the L-rd will once again acquire the rest of His people… and He will gather the dispersed of Israel, and the scattered of Judah He will gather from the four corners of the earth.

– Isaiah 11:1-12 (Neturei Karta translation – http://www.truetorahjews.org/)

Neturei Karta’s target audience are neither religious, nor secular Jews. Their message is aimed at non-Jews who cannot speak Hebrew. As a consequence most of their readers are forced to trust the translation Neturei Karta provide. Unfortunately, Neturei Karta deliberately mistranslate the Torah so that appears to support their religious beliefs. This is precisely what they do with Isaiah 11:11:

  • Neturei: that the L-rd will once again acquire the rest of His people
    Actual: the Lord shall apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people,
  • Neturei: *They completely omit the following verse from their translation*
    Actual: that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

It’s important to note, that this verse cannot be read to say that the Torah forbids a Jewish State. Instead it describes how the Messiah will gather the rest of the Jewish people (the text explicitly state’s sh’ar / שאר which means “the rest”). This means that at the time of the Messiah there will already be Jews living in Israel – otherwise how could the rest be gathered?

It gets worse, Neturei Karta actually remove the third sentence entirely. They do this as it defines who “the rest” of the people are. The Torah uses the word yisha’er / ישאר, which means “remain”. So it’s actually telling us that some Jews will have returned to Israel before the Messiah comes and when he arrives will bring back those that remain in foreign lands: “the Lord shall apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.”

There is simply no way that this verse can be read to say that the Torah forbids a Jewish State, the opposite is true. It actually explicitly states that there will already be Jews living in Israel at the time of the Messiah.

Does Ezekiel 37:21-24 say the Torah forbids a Jewish State

The next verse Neturei Karta bring to bolster their claim that Torah forbids a Jewish State is Ezekiel 37:21-24.

So says the Lord Hashem, behold I will take the Children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from all sides, and I will bring them to their land… and My servant David will be king over them, one shepherd will be for all of them.

– Ezekiel 37:21-24

At no place in this verse does it say the Jewish people cannot establish a state in Israel. Instead it says in clear Hebrew that the Jewish Messiah will gather the exiles from around the world and return them to Israel. Now lets provide some context, today, even though Israel exists, more than half of the world’s Jewish population live elsewhere. What the verse teaches is that the Messiah will bring back all of the exiles and return them to Israel. Nowhere does it say that the Torah forbids a Jewish State before his arrival.

The Torah permits a Jewish State

In contrast to what Neturei Karta claim, the Torah clearly states that God will bring the Jews back to Israel. One such example is Amos 9:14-15, where God says:

“And I will turn the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine from them; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruits from them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they will not be uprooted from the land which I have given them, said Hashem your God”

– Amos 9:14-15

Nowhere in the Torah does it say the Jews have to wait for the Messiah before they can return to Israel. We actually find the opposite is true, in Numbers 33:53 the Torah says: “You shall take possession of the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to dwell in”. This is an explicit instruction for Jews in every generation to acquire and settle the Land of Israel.

The Torah could not be clearer – there is no obligation to wait for the Messiah before the Jewish people return home.

Summary of whether the Torah forbids a Jewish State

  • It is misleading to say the Torah forbids a Jewish State.
  • Neither Ezekiel 37 nor Isaiah 11 say that the Torah forbids a Jewish State.
  • Isaiah 11 actually says that there will already be Jews living in Israel at the time of the Messiah
  • The Torah explicitly commands the Jews to live in Israel in every generation

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