The question of who is a citizen of Israel is tied to many issues in the forefront of debate in Israel. In this article, guest columnist Former MK Shulamit Aloni focuses on the democratic nature of the State of Israel, and particularly the concept of equality, as the foundation on which citizenship rests, and decries recent racist undercurrents observed in Israeli society, which she sees as contrary to the founding vision of the State.
In an op-ed from <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Researcher Adv. Amir Fuchs assert that Prime Minister Netanyahu was right to condemn a letter by rabbis forbidding the rental of property in Israel to Arabs, and call on him to prevent the passage of a bill that would allow small Jewish communities to exclude Arabs from living in their midst.
Recently, the Knesset has considered a bill that would allow small Israeli communities the right to reject candidates according to “suitability to the community’s fundamental outlook.” In effect, the bill would enable communities to reject individuals based on ethnicity, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status. In the following interview, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer speaks out about the bill. Prof. Kremnitzer discusses the legislation’s intent, along with its inherent dangers. He also explains the Supreme Court’s possible role in rejecting such a bill, and whether judicial intervention is a reasonable solution to legislation that infringes upon basic rights. Watch the interview below or on the IDI Youtube channel.
IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer was one of the most vocal opponents of a Knesset bill that would enable neighborhood committees to disqualify prospective residents on the basis of “lack of suitability for the community’s social-cultural fabric.” Find out more about his position in this op-ed and video interview.
This analysis of Haim Hecht's television series called "Fixing Israel", an investigative show about what's "gone wrong" in Israel, by Tal Arbel, an MA student in the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and Ideas at Tel Aviv University, was originally published in The Seventh Eye on February 28, 2007. In a detailed critique of the show, Arbel understands Hecht's pretentious demand for a blanket organizational reform of the Zionist enterprise as blurring the boundary between a television show and a realistic, productive public campaign.
The Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel recently called into question the validity of conversions performed under the auspices of the Israel Defense Forces. In this article, which is an abridged version of an article that was originally published in Hebrew in the Makor Rishon weekly newspaper, IDI researcher Netanel Fisher analyzes developments in this debate and calls for the formation of a coalition of the moderate Jewish majority.
What does loyalty mean? Loyalty to whom? In this op-ed from <em>Haaretz </em>(October 15, 2010), which was written in response to the passage of the "loyalty oath" legislation, IDI Vice President Prof. Z. Yedidia Stern and Prof. Avi Sagi explore the concept of "loyalty" and focus on whether Israel should require prospective citizens to take an oath affirming their loyalty to the Jewish and democratic state.
In the following op-ed from Haaretz, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer questions the wisdom of the amendment to the Israeli Citizenship Act that requires naturalized Israeli citizens to take an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel "as a Jewish and democratic state," arguing that this requirement is discriminatory and ultimately undermines the Jewish character of the State.
In this article from Haaretz published on October 3, 2010, Former Education Minister Rabbi Itshak Levi, head of Policy Implementation at IDI, objects to the cultural coercion involved in a mandatory core curriculum, and advocates requiring only the study of Hebrew and Civics of all students in Israel.
If Israeli performing artists consider the establishment of settlements in Judea and Samaria to be immoral, is it wrong for them to refuse to perform there? In an op-ed in Haaretz, IDI Vice President of research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer defends such boycotts as an exercise of the right to free speech and protest.
Is the boycott of the town of Ariel, which is located over the Green Line, by Israeli performing artists legitimate? In this op-ed from Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President Yedidia Z. Stern warns that this type of organized opposition to democratic decisions endangers the delicate fabric of Israeli life.
During the summer of 2010, Jews in both Israel and the Diaspora voiced their concern regarding the Rotem bill, the controversial conversion legislation approved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. In this op-ed, originally published in The Jerusalem Post, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern issues an urgent plea to resolve Israel's conversion crisis in order to avoid the "social time bomb on our doorstep."
On July 12, 2010, the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee approved a controversial draft bill on conversion reform. Presented as an effort to make conversion more accessible to hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish according to state and religious law, the proposed legislation sparked an outcry both in Israel and the Diaspora. In this article, IDI Researcher Netanel Fisher exposes the dangerous linkage between conversion and the status of Judaism's non-Orthodox movements and assesses the likelihood of the bill achieving its goals.
Biometric legislation in its current form poses a formidable global challenge to champions of democracy, privacy, and individual choice. What is the Israeli Biometric Database Law and how does it deviate from the norms that govern individual/government relations in democracies? How and why has a law that deviates from Western democratic norms been enacted in Israel? Is there something about Israel’s political structure that favors the creation of such a law? Attorneys Nitzan Lebovic and Avner Pinchuk survey Israel's proposed biometric legislation.
In this article, which was published in Haaretz on June 16, 2010, IDI Senior Researcher Yair Sheleg looks at the battle over ethnic segregation in the religious girls' school in Immanuel and asserts that Jewish religious law is not racist; rather, the social norms that characterize the ultra-Orthodox worldview are at the heart of the conflict.
In an article prepared for the second meeting of IDI’s International Advisory Council, IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Tamar Hermann introduces the concept of anti-politics, discusses anti-politics in Israel, proposes possible origins of anti-politics in Israel, and points to the detrimental ramifications of this type of political sentiment in Israel.
In this article, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern explains the current conversion crisis in Israel, reviews the evolution of attitudes towards conversion in halakhic literature over the ages, and concludes with a proposal that is compatible with Jewish law while responding to pressing contemporary needs.
On May 26-28, 2010, IDI hosted an International Workshop on Binationalism, which reviewed the experience of binational states in their historical context, explored theoretical models of bi-nationalism or multi-nationalism, and discussed the possibilities of implementing such models in today's Middle East. In preparation for this workshop, Prof. Ran Halévi of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, shared the following critique of Tony Judt's proposal to convert Israel into a bi-national state with the readers of the IDI website.
In this article, written against the backdrop of the Holyland real estate scandal and just before Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, IDI's Yair Sheleg explores the connection between the security situation and hedonistic trends within Israeli society. Mr. Sheleg recommends a new practice that would remind Israeli politicians of the standards and values to which they are expected to adhere.
In this article, we discuss a new, comprehensive counter-terrorism memorandum bill recently published by the Israeli Ministry of Justice. This memorandum bill aims to consolidate the existing legislation, as well as to provide the authorities with new counter-terrorism tools (including a broad definition of an "act or terrorism").
In this article, originally published in Haaretz on April 1, 2010, IDI Senior Researcher Prof. Avraham Ben-Bassat warns that Israel's policy of reducing taxes should be frozen since it may precipitate an economic crisis, and advocates giving preference to increasing public spending while preserving the economy's stability.