Israel: A Jewish democracy or religious state? – opinion

The wailing wall in Jerusalem. Promoted post: Why Did Muhammad Fly to Jerusalem?

Source: Jerusalem Post

The Israeli government should strike a balance between the demands made by the ultra-Orthodox sectors and the needs of Israeli citizens in general.

The debate over Israel’s national and religious character began many years prior to its establishment, and has continued, and even radicalized, since then. All the great minds behind Zionism and the establishment of the Jewish nation state, including Herzl, Jabotinsky, Wolffsohn, and Kalischer, wrote about its religious character.

Since all Zionist philosophers and their implementers were secular Jews, it was only natural for them all to envision the Jewish nation state as secular, where freedom of religion and freedom from religion would be available to every citizen according to their faith.

It is noteworthy that religious Jewish philosophers, such as Maimonides, also allowed every individual to make their own choices, claiming that “each person should live according to their own belief.” Christianity followed this principle, and even the Prophet Muhammad in the original Islam – before it was distorted by a group of murderous extremists – stated that “each person shall live in their religion and God be with them.”

However, throughout history, a dramatic change occurred in the relations between democracy and free rein versus religious principles and those who viewed themselves as its representatives on earth. The demands made in the name of religion increased, the views held by religious leaders became more extreme. The governing perception of many radical parties became one that imposed religion on all walks of life, determined ruling principles as well as the source of its authority, and forced these life rules on all citizens.

It happened in radical Islamic countries, it was the way of Christianity in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, and it is how the Israeli rabbinate – particularly its extreme leaders – are conducting themselves.

Importantly, before the State of Israel was established, all Jewish religious denominations in Europe had altogether refused to cooperate with the Zionist initiative, viewing the establishment of the Jewish state as heretic and totally illegitimate. Once Israel was incepted, and the leaders of the various hassidic streams realized that this development was irreversible, while the scope of antisemitism in Europe was ever increasing, they decided to relocate their bases of power to it.

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Categories: Anti-Semitism, Judaism

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