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The Brotherhood of Wanderers
Meshakhad
post 9 Dec 2017, 6:55
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I was a little disappointed to read of Israel's fate in the ROTRverse. So I've decided to add something - a new movement in Israel offering hope for the future... but it might not be a future others want to see.

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In the early 2030s, Israeli society grappled with the changes that had been wrought by the Great Middle Eastern War. While a persistent minority argued for reengagement with the world (often including the commitment of Israeli forces against the GLA), most believed that their energies were best focused inwards. Now that the outside world had been closed off, they could finally build the ideal Jewish society.

Suspicion fell on the remaining Arab population. The government retained the old stance of officially supporting equality, but calls for their expulsion rose. The Arabs, for their part, were desperate not to leave. In particular, after the nuclear devastation of Mecca in 2034, some Muslims proposed that Jerusalem be the focus of the new hajj. Others began to question their faith.

The Wanderers were an offshoot of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, established by Rabbi Yosef Cohen. Born in 1995 to an atheist American family from Los Angeles, he had discovered his family’s Jewish roots as an adolescent, converted to Judaism, and immigrated to Israel (hebraicizing his name in the process). After his service in the IDF where he rose to the rank of captain, Cohen attended seminary and was ordained in 2024. He returned to active duty in 2026, organizing relief efforts for Tel Aviv, and subsequently joined the chaplain corps. He disliked Israel’s inward turn, seeing it as a return to the ghetto. He believed that Israel should have joined the war against the GLA, supporting the Americans and Saudis.

Cohen left the IDF in 2033 to found the Brotherhood of Wanderers (“Achei Nodim” in Hebrew). He believed that the solution to the “Arab problem” was to convert them to Judaism. He named his organization thus after the notion that many converts might be descended from the lost tribes of Israel, left to wander the Earth without knowledge of their origins – his own family, after all, changed their name to “Kane” after emigrating to the US in the 1800s, and promptly assimilated. To the surprise of many, he proved to be a highly capable evangelist, launching an Arabic-language media campaign that highlighted shortcomings in Islam, promoting Judaism as the “authentic” Abrahamic faith. He openly stated that Judaism should become an evangelical religion, seeking to expand the Jewish nation through conversion. Cohen’s activities were initially opposed by the Rabbinate, but he gained adherents both among chilonim (secular Jews) and Arab converts. He was also scrupulous about ensuring that all conversions were done properly, so none of his followers could be rejected by the rabbinical authorities.

In 2041, after Israel reestablished diplomatic relations with the Arab world, Cohen took his program international. He adopted the model of Islamic charity organizations, using charity to spread his beliefs. Most converts subsequently emigrated to Israel, but a few remained, establishing new Jewish communities across the Middle East. In 2045, Rabbi Cohen presided over the opening of a new synagogue in Jeddah. His activities have, needless to say, aroused the anger of the Islamic authorities, but the Arab leaders were more concerned with keeping the short-tempered Israelis happy than appeasing groups they were suspicious of.

Within Israel, Rabbi Cohen is a highly visible figure. Posters bearing his smiling image, with neatly trimmed goatee and shaven head, are a common sight in Israeli cities, and he himself regularly appears on talk shows and in webcasts. The latest demographic data indicates that Judaism now makes up 89% of Israel’s population, a stunning achievement largely due to the Wanderers. He is not averse to political commentary, and has openly discussed forming a political party of his own and seeking office. Many believe that he might be the one to finally break the right's stranglehold on power, and reopen Israel to the world.

This post has been edited by Meshakhad: 9 Dec 2017, 6:56


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