...The secret of Zionism—the resilience of Zionism—is its ideological agility. Zionism has been driven by… ideas that are inconsistent with each other. So Zionism has been and remains a balancing act.
First I'd like to give you the concept. If there was rigidity in Zionism, there would be no way Zionism could survive the tremendous turmoil of the last sixty or seventy years. But these ideas are not in a hierarchy with each other--they are on a platform, they have equal footing and in every window of time there is a realignment of these ideas to meet the challenges of the day with new priorities.
What are these ideas? First there is the commitment to a special place on the face of this Earth—the land of Israel, the cradle of our civilization. The second big idea was about security for Jews. The third was about the well being of Jews. Not necessarily about wealth but more about economic independence, economic self determination. Then it was a whole nexus of ideas about humanism, liberalism, democracy. The Zionist movement since its inception has been democratic to a fault. That is still reflected and projected into the Knesset, which is a highly ineffective body.
It was about leadership among the family of nations—tikkun olam—repairing the world. It was about being light unto the nations, and the quest to create a model society. It has been about the Jewish character of the state of Israel—which means its language, its national day of rest, the Shabbat, its national holidays. This is the only place on the face of this earth where Jews experience being a majority. We assume full responsibility. This is a radically different existence than being a minority—as economically and politically powerful as a minority can be. Here we take care of sewage, we're responsible for security.