To (unngggh) somehow use the power of the Bible (unnggh) without (arrgh) being religious! Whew!
Amy Davidson of The New Yorker and Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz hit upon a thing called The Bible as Literature. Strange but true!
Sharon talked about his own attachment to the land in your interviews with him. You said earlier that the settlers saw him as too secular. It’s a strange thing—he speaks about the land in Biblical terms, evoking Biblical figures, without ever being religious.
Sharon was a godless person, in a very profound way. He had no religion, no faith. When you look at the brutal chapters of his biography, you can say that there was something of the brutal secularist about him; this was the modus operandi of a person who’s really not God-fearing in any way. This is fact No. 1. Fact No. 2 is that he had a very strong sense of history, with a special attachment to the land, and a very strong Biblical memory—the Bible and the land came together in a potent fusion process within him. He was truly a nationalist romantic, in an almost scary way. The two sides seem to be contradictory, but, if you look at the history of Zionism, you see that there is not that much of a contradiction. For the early Zionists, the Labor-movement Zionists, history replaced God, and the Bible replaced both the Talmud and the Orthodox way of living as a Jew. History was the God of the Zionists. The idea was to bring the Jews—who, in the old Zionist terminology, had lived outside of history—back to the family of nations, the theatre of nations, where there is peace and war. This was the great thrill of the founding fathers of Zionism. And, in the same way, the Bible, being taken and read as the book about Jews living in this land, with a real, physical life as a nation, cultivating the land, defending the land—this was very powerful for the young Zionists and the young Sabras of Sharon’s generation. He took it perhaps to a bit of an extreme, because he was a person of extremes, but this intimate relationship with the land and with Biblical legacy and tradition actually goes well together with the godless dimension of his personality, and, in many ways, makes him the last of this early line of Zionists; we are not going to see any more of this type in the future.