Religion and State

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Articles

Op-ed

Clinton Could Have Clout Over Israel

The expected election of Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States will affect Israel in a great number of ways, but one of them is rather different and unexpected: Her election will certainly influence the question of religion and state. This op-ed was first published by Haaretz.

Op-ed

Companions on a Shared Quest

The Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, as tradition has it, because of groundless hatred between Jews. IDI's Yedidia Stern takes this opportunity on Tisha B'Av to reflect on the current culture war in Israel, and urge citizens to focus on the covenant of destiny that binds us, rather than the divisions between us.

Op-ed

The Mikveh Bill: When My Purity Means Your Impurity

IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern says, "There is no way to justify this ultra-Orthodox sectarianism, as it prevents others from having the freedom to exercise their religion at public facilities. Allowing ritual baths to be monopolized by the Rabbinate would cause grave harm without any commensurate benefit."

This article was first published by Times of Israel.

Op-ed

The Rabin Assassination and Religious Responsibility

IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern discusses why the memorial day for the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was a religious act. Today's religious Zionist leadership must respond courageously.

Op-ed

Praying with 'Sinners'

In a poetic piece written for Yom Kippur, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that prayer should echo the existential human experience, reflect the ongoing dialogue with alternative cultures, and allow the individuals praying to bring their whole selves into their prayer.

Op-ed

Should Jews Pray on the Temple Mount Today?

Professor Yedidia Stern argues that the question of how we should relate to the Temple Mount is more complex than any other issue on the public agenda in Israel. This question must be discussed in three parallel dimensions—religious, national, and liberal. This poses a serious challenge, which must be approached with the utmost sensitivity.

Op-ed

Keeping Kosher: By Faith, Not By Force

To what extent should the Rabbinate interfere in a citizen's plate? Dr. Shuki Friedman, argues that kosher supervision should be based on trust not coercion, and warns that the attempt to preserve the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on the kosher laws is a symptom of a larger problem.

Op-ed

An Open Letter to the New Minister of Religious Services

As the new government begins its work, Dr. Shuki Friedman, Director of IDI's Center for Religion, Nation and State offers recommendations to MK David Azoulay, Minister of Religious Services, on how to keep the rabbinate relevant and improve its standing in Israeli society.

Op-ed

The Spousal Registry: Prof. Shahar Lifshitz Explains his Proposal

The regulation of marriage and divorce in Israel is perceived by many as the main obstacle in attaining a constitution for Israel. Can the Spousal Registry Law help solve the discrepancies that subsequently arise? Dr. Shahar Lifshitz, author of a new Policy Paper on the topic, gives us his personal view.

Article

Mass Transport on Shabbat and the Conflict between Religion and State

IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern sets the  controversy over mass transportation on Shabbat and holidays in Israel in a broader context, and distinguished between the need for an Israeli-Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath) rather than a religious Shabbat.

Article

From a Shabbat of Work to a Shabbat of Rest

IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern discusses the innovative Sabbath Law proposed by IDI. This proposed legislation seeks to a unique Israeli character in the public sphere on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, in a way which does not force religion on the public. 

Article

Religion and State: Is Israel Different than any Other Country on this Matter?

Yair Sheleg investigates whether the separation of religion and state manifests itself differently in Israel than it does in other countries.

Op-ed

Rabbis vs. the Army: New Tensions between Religion and State

Dr. Kalmen Neuman discusses the conflict faced by Orthodox soldiers who must choose between their religious commitment and the authority of the IDF when commanded to evacuate settlements.

Article

Dr. Hannah Kehat on the Status of Women in Israel

In honor of International Democracy Day, the IDI Hebrew website interviewed Dr. Hannah Kehat, founder of the Religious Women's Forum Kolech, on the status of women in Israel today.

Op-ed

Decade in Review: Religion and State in Israel

IDI Research Fellow Mr. Yair Sheleg highlights growing individualism within both the religious and secular Jewish populations in Israel and takes note of growing rifts between the two communities, in an article that was published at the end of the third millennium as part of a collaboration between IDI and Walla!, a popular Israeli website.

Op-ed

More Action, Less Words: Mixed Marriages and the Future of Jewish Identity

In an era of hyper individualism, few choose to live as Jews simply in order to belong to the tribe.

Op-ed

Religious Zionism’s Budding Romance with Capitalism

Religious Zionism is based on a nationalistic, even hawkish, position on foreign affairs. Such an ethos, especially in the Middle East, thus demands a great willingness to sacrifice. However, this desire to serve the greater good can only be maintained over time if a sense of solidarity and mutual responsibility unites the members of Israeli society.

Op-ed

Hijab, Kippah, Crucifix

The ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that a company is permitted to terminate its worker for wearing religious dress is a sad demonstration of the words of Ecclesiastes: “And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.”

Op-ed

A Threat to the Foundations of Jewish Peoplehood

Leaving issues of religion and state to an ultra-Orthodox monopoly is leading to estrangement between Israel and the Diaspora. New arrangements must be reached.

Article

Religion, State, and the Jewish Identity Crisis in Israel

Yedidia Stern examines the tension between religion and state in Israel by exploring several key areas of dispute in Jewish Israeli society and politics. This paper was first published by Brookings.

Op-ed

Passover: Nationalism, Freedom and Humanism

The Exodus from Egypt is what brought Israelites their freedom and made them into a nation.

Article

New IDI Survey: 46% of Religious Israelis Support a Change to the Religious Status Quo

A special IDI survey shows that 70% of secular Israelis believe that in recent years life in the public sphere has tended to favor the ultra-Orthodox and religious; over one-third of religious Israelis and 80% of people who define themselves as not religious but traditional either support the separation of religion from state or reducing religious influence on life in Israel.

Op-ed

Israel’s ‘Status Quo’ On Religion Is In Chaos

The recent challenges at the Kotel are but a symptom of an ever-increasing problem.

Op-ed

To those Who are Making Decisions about the Future of the Jewish State:

In an op-ed first published by The Forward, IDI's president calls on Israeli leaders to empower Diaspora Jews in the crucial debate on identity and faith.

Op-ed

How Much Do Diaspora Jews Matter To Israel?

At approximately eight million people, diaspora Jewry comprises the fifth tribe of Israel. The Knesset is currently debating a proposal, which among other things addresses the connection with Diaspora Jewry entitled “Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People”.

Op-ed

From Peoplehood to Brotherhood

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Dickens’s words seem a highly apt way of describing the current state of the Jewish people, and the relationship between the two largest Jewish communities in the world – those in Israel and the United States.

Op-ed

How Much Should Jewish Law Control the Jewish State?

For decades, religious and ultra-Orthodox members of Knesset, backed and encouraged by their rabbis, have worked to inject the secular state with as much Judaism as possible. Over the course of 70 years, the results of this ongoing effort have been minimal, but the price paid by Judaism has been great.

The Orthodox Are No Longer Repairing the World

Rabbis outside the Reform and Conservative movements rarely deal with Jewish-values issues such as the asylum seekers and treatment of the Palestinians

Press Release

Israel Democracy Institute Scholar Responds to High Court Deliberations on the “Agunah of Safed”

Dr. Shuki Friedman says the attempt to threaten a woman’s freedom after it was given to her three years ago by the local beit din in Safed is horrifying.

Press Release

IDI Scholar on Supreme Court Decision to Allow Supermarkets and Entertainment Establishments to Operate on Shabbat in Tel Aviv

“Instead of devising agreements through consensus on the matter of ‘resting on Shabbat’ as we do on other topics, we have a state of legal and procedural chaos,” explained Dr. Shuki Friedman. “It’s a situation of each man for himself.”

Press Release

IDI Statement on the "Mikveh Bill" (1)

Dr. Shuki Friedman, head of the IDI Center for Nation, Religion and State, said the bill's declared purpose is to attack the decision by the Supreme Court. Moreover, this bill would give the Chief Rabbinate unbridled authority over the mikvehs.

Press Release

Time to Privatize the Kosher Certification System

In order to grant better, cheaper and friendlier kosher certification, we must privatize the kosher certification system, break up the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly, and rely on the unwavering market of 70 percent of Israeli Jews in the state who eat kosher food.

Press Release

IDI Response to Western Wall Decision

'The longer we fail to give equal rights and recognition to the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, the deeper the fissure between Israel and Jews of the Diaspora will become'

Press Release

New IDI Study Calls for Breaking Up the Religious Councils

Study results: Grave failures in the functioning of the councils and in the religious services they provide

Press Release

IDI Scholar Responds to Chief Rabbinate’s Blacklist

'There is no justification for preemptively disqualifying all rabbis and approving only those who have proven themselves to be kosher.'

Op-ed

The ‘Religionization’ of Israel is Troubling, but the Fears About it are Hysterical

Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. These two characteristics are critical to the country’s existence. This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

Op-ed

Israel’s Unraveling at the Western Wall

Yair Sheleg, head of IDI's Religion and State program, argues that there are multiple forms of Jewish identity and that religious coercion should not be used to oppose a reality that history created.

Op-ed

Jewish Unity at Stake: Israel Must Recognize and Fund All Sects of Judaism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must charge forward and turn his words into action. Only then will he be able to guarantee his vision of Israel as “a source of unity for our people.” (This article was first published by JNS.org.)

Op-ed

The Loss of Naïveté: The Impact of the Withdrawal from Gaza on Religious Zionism

Ten years after the disengagement from Gaza, Yair Sheleg, head of IDI's Religion and State program, explores the impact of the withdrawal from Gush Katif under the leadership of Ariel Sharon on the Religious Zionist community in Israel. 

Op-ed

When November 4th Meets the 12th of Heshvan

Rabbi Yitzhak Ben David shares thoughts on the alignment of the Memorial Day for Yitzhak Rabin on the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars, which challenges us to find a renewed reconciliation between Israeli democracy and Jewish civilization. 

Op-ed

Reinventing the Chief Rabbinate

In an article in <em>The Jewish Week</em>, Ms. Ayelet Libson of IDI's Human Rights and Judaism project questions the role of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and offers her view of what it could be.

Op-ed

Zionism Must Reject Ultra-Orthodox View on Conversion

In this op-ed from Haaretz, IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg decries the ultra-Orthodox refusal to alter standards for conversion to Judaism in recognition of the fact that for many Israelis, Jewish identity is not only an expression of religious observance but also of identification with Zionism and Jewish culture. He warns that the ultra-Orthodox approach is causing serious injustice to thousands of people who wish to live as Jews and raise Jewish children in Israel.

Op-ed

How to Save Israel’s Shabbat

It is time for all of us to rethink the desired character of the Israeli Shabbat. This article was originally published by Times of Israel.

Op-ed

How To Prevent A Religious Civil War From Consuming Western Europe

While Europeans are trying to maintain their sense of ownership over the public sphere, restrictions on religious expression in the public domain strike at Muslims’ most basic of rights: to continue living their lives as guided by the dictates of their own conscience. Will there be a religious-based civil war? This article was first published by the Independent Journal Review.

Op-ed

What these Conservative Supreme Court Justices Won’t Do

The four new Judicial Appointments Committee selections to the Supreme Court last month have led to the usual partisan responses, breaking down along the lines of “winners” and “losers.” Despondent claims of an “anti-constitutional revolution” are being made simultaneously with celebratory assertions of “making history.” The facts, however, are quite different.

Op-ed

The Festival of Freedom and Responsibility

The truly great task is to push ourselves to be accountable, personally and nationally, to the question of purpose.

Op-ed

Battling Over Equality

Israel's very legitimacy as a Jewish state is under attack.

Play
Op-ed

Where Will the Ultra-Orthodox Community Live in 2040?

The State of Israel needs to come up with appropriate living solutions for the ultra-Orthodox, whose numbers are expected to increase significantly.  

Op-ed

Springboard to Employment: How Ultra-Orthodox Men Benefit from IDF Service

Army service is an extremely powerful “employment engine” for most ultra-Orthodox men whose religious education does not provide them with the general background or professional training necessary for joining the work force outside the ultra-Orthodox sector.

Op-ed

Is the Chief Rabbinate's Monopoly on Kashrut Over?

The implications of the Supreme Court's ruling go far beyond the Kashrut market.

Op-ed

This Yom Kippur, Let's Turn Down the Volume

A country that comes to a standstill for one whole day and doesn’t derive anything significant from it is missing the point.

Op-ed

Religion and State in Israel: Charting a New Course for 5778

Is our country and society doomed to continually follow the same path of repeated crisis, or has the time finally come for us to plot a new course?

Op-ed

Are We Guilty? Are We Traitors? Collective Guilt and the Roots of Israeli Solidarity

Shared responsibility, which is engraved in Jewish tradition, is one of the secrets of the State of Israel's success.

Press Release

Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Israel Democracy Institute and the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research published today the 2017 Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel. The report presents trends in population, education, employment, and leisure in the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel.

Op-ed

A Holy War Over Israel's Character

The inflammatory statements made about Reform Judaism at the recent First Zion and Jerusalem Conference are not merely old rhetoric, but rather a national ultra-Orthodox (Hardal) declaration of a holy war against the spread of pluralistic Judaism in Israel.

Op-ed

Israel's Battle for Peace Between Religion and State

The relationship between religion and state in Israel is stormy. Lately, it seems the ultra-Orthodox have launched a new offensive on several fronts. This op-ed was originally published by JNS.org.

Op-ed

An Israeli Shabbat

What does Shabbat and its observance look like in the State of Israel? Can every individual enjoy this day of rest in the way he/she chooses? Are there actually individuals who are forced to give up Shabbat as a result of a lack of choice or economic coercion? IDI scholar Dr. Shuki Friedman explains in this article which originally appeared on eJewish Philanthropy.

Op-ed

Shemitat Kesafim: The Year of Escape from Debt

Dr. Benny Porat discusses the precept of debt cancellation during the sabbatical year (Shemita) and proposes ways in which to update this practice to suit the economics of contemporary Israel and create a model society. 

Op-ed

Shavuot in Israel: A Celebration of Torah or First Fruits?

Dr. Hizky Shoham explores the multiple identities of the holiday of Shavuot, which began as an agricultural festival, was transformed into the "holiday of the giving of the Torah," and is most often commemorated as a celebration of Torah in today's Israel—by secular and observant Jews alike.

Op-ed

Is There a Place for God in the Israeli Army?

In an article in the <em>Jewish Week</em>, IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern discusses the question of whether it is appropriate for commanders to use religious rhetoric in motivating their soldiers, and stresses the need for the Israeli army to represent all.

Article

Israeli Views of Diaspora Jewry 2014

How do Jews in Israel see their connection with Jews in the Diaspora? In preparation for the first <a href="http://jms.org.il" target="_blank">Jewish Media Summit</a> (JMS), IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys conducted a survey of the attitudes of Israeli Jews toward Diaspora Jewry.

Op-ed

A Royal Sanctuary: Three Scenes for Jerusalem Day

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau presents three snapshots from different times and places, reflecting on a city that combines ancient and modern, sacred and secular, eternal truths and ordinary life.

Op-ed

An Unequal Share of the Burden? The Truth about the Hesder Yeshivot

Do students in the religious Zionist hesder yeshivot really contribute less to the IDF than other men who serve? IDI Researcher Dr. Benny Porat does the math and comes to an interesting conclusion.

Op-ed

The Fate of a Mamzer

In an article in The Jewish Week, Gitit Paz, a young scholar in IDI's Human Rights and Judaism project, discusses the status of mamzer in Jewish law and in contemporary Israel. 

Article

"Who Made Me a Woman": Women in Ultra-Orthodox Society

A series of Hebrew videos on the historical processes behind the development of the role of ultra-Orthodox women in the family and society, which were developed as part of IDI's research projects on the Nation State and on the Integration of Haredim in Israeli Society.

Op-ed

The High Holidays: A Personal and National Time

Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern shares thoughts on the Hebrew calendar, which contributes to Jewish unity and preserves the Jewish people as a single national and cultural unit.  

Op-ed

Clear-Cut Racism or Complicated Relationship?

Are the ostensibly anti-Arab bills under consideration by the Knesset, the “Rabbis’ Letter” that forbids the sale of real estate to non-Jews, and the findings of the 2010 Israeli Democracy Index clear-cut indicators that racism is on the rise in Israel today? Or are more complex factors at play? IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg shares his views on this matter.

Article

Choosing between the Law and Torah

Is the tension over the arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Ya’acov Yosef a precursor to an inevitable collision between Halakha and the judiciary? IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern shared his views on this question with Jonah Mandel of The Jerusalem Post.

Op-ed

Belief in God is Not the Problem in Israel

Recently, the findings of the third Guttman-AVI CHAI report—A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews—were presented to the public. The findings have drawn much media coverage because they revealed that an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews believe in God. In an op-ed from <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Senior researcher Yair Sheleg responds to columnists who were alarmed by the findings regarding belief in God, and argues that what is really of concern is the inverse relationship between this belief and belief in democratic values.

Op-ed

Rosh Hashanah Resolution

The upcoming High Holidays are an opportunity to expand our perception beyond our selves and communities. This article was first published by the New York Jewish Week.

Op-ed

Did You See the Tears of the Oppressed?

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau, head of IDI's Human Rights and Judaism in Action project, remembers Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as a courageous halakhic decisor who championed the needs of the oppressed.

Op-ed

Standing before God: Reflections on Yom Kippur

Why is Yom Kippur the most significant day on the Jewish calendar? What explains its appeal even to people who define themselves as "secular"? IDI research fellow Yair Sheleg shares his thoughts on this matter.

Article

The Shabbat Wars: A Guide for the Perplexed on the 'Status Quo' … and a Possible Solution

A summary of the legal situation in Israel regarding Shabbat observance.

Article

Privatizing Religion

Yair Ettinger discerns between different streams of Religious-Zionist Jews in Israeli society, and analyzes how these schisms play out in the socio-political arena. This piece was originally published by Brookings.

 

Op-ed

Voyage to Identity

Prof. Yedidia Stern argues that our Jewish identity and culture depend on how we understand and internalize the past.

Op-ed

Ultra-Orthodox in the IDF: A Ticking Time Bomb

To encourage enlistment, Israel should adopt a conscription model that is cognizant of the ultra-Orthodox fear of erosion of their identity and employs both positive and negative economic incentives.

Op-ed

The Employment Revolution and the Haredim Who Are Being Left Behind

With 50% of young Haredi men expected to enter the labor market actually those with poorer skills and abilities, there is an urgent need for an in-depth rethinking about Haredi education. 

Op-ed

Religion Can Be the Bridge Linking Jews and Muslims

How both faiths can use their common threads and customs as a means to connect, dialogue and cooperate.

Op-ed

Two Jewish Nations and the Abyss Between Them

For many American Jews, identification with the State of Israel is a significant component of their Jewish identity.

 

Press Release

Ultra-Orthodox Employment Levels Stop Increasing

The percentage of ultra-Orthodox men who work stagnated in 2016 for the first time after a consistent upturn over the past several years, according to a new report by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Op-ed

The Binding of the Boy from Damascus

How should Jews in Israel feel about the mass slaughter of Arabs by Arabs just a few miles away? IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern shares thoughts in this article, which was originally published in The Jewish Week.

Op-ed

The IDF: Army of the People or Army of God?

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer addresses the question of the appropriateness of the letter that Givati Brigade commander Col.Ofer Winter sent to his subordinate officers as Israel prepared for the ground incursion in Gaza in the summer of 2014.

Op-ed

A Jewish State Warrants Our Sacrifice

IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern reflects on the privilege of sacrifice and the necessity to maintain a Jewish Israel in order to justify that sacrifice, in an article written for Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and Victims of Terrorism.

Op-ed

The Ultra-Orthodox Draft: Crossing the Third Rubicon

Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern and Attorney Haim Zicherman stress the need to break down barriers that are preventing Haredi service in the army and integration in the labor force, and warn against passing a popular but ill-advised reform. 

Op-ed

How Can We Draft the Ultra-Orthodox with Consent?

Is it possible to draft the ultra-Orthodox and integrate them into Israel's society and economy in a mutually-agreeable manner that encourages solidarity between the different sectors of the Jewish people? Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern shares thoughts on wars between brothers and brothers-in-arms.

Op-ed

Blind to the Rights of the Disabled

In an article in The Jewish Week, Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau calls on religious authorities who hold human rights dear to find a way to allow people with disabilities to have access to the Western Wall plaza.

Op-ed

What remains of the religious status quo?

Instead of Judaism being what unites Jews in Israel with Jews around the world, our religion has become the main source of conflict.

Op-ed

The Elephant in the Room: Relations between Religion and State in Israel

Prof. Yedidia Stern urges Israel's leaders to stop tiptoeing around the core issues of religion and state in the Knesset election campaign, and to take a clear position on the matter.

Policy Statement

IDI Experts Submit Legal Opinion on Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

A legal opinion opposing the proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, which was submitted by IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on June 4, 2014.

Op-ed

The IDF’s Fighting Ethos in the Wake of Operation Protective Edge

IDI President Yohanan Plesner stresses the need to ensure that the Israel Defense Forces remains at the heart of the Zionist consensus so as to enable it to continue to be the army of all citizens of Israel.

Op-ed

Shmita: Rest, Share, Release

An exploration of the existential, social, and economic dimensions of the Shmita year, that calls for bringing together social, moral, cultural, religious and national forces to implement the idea of Shmita in non-agricultural and national contexts in Israel.

Op-ed

On Intermarriage, Judaism, and Democracy in Israel

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Lau shares thoughts on the tension between Judaism and democracy, in response to the public protests against the marriage of a Jewish woman who converted to Islam and an Israeli Arab. 

Op-ed

Ultra-Orthodox Integration: It Takes Two to Tango

In an op-ed in Ynet News, IDI researcher Dr. Haim Zicherman discusses the steps that Israeli society must take in order to enable ultra-Orthodox men to integrate into the Israeli army and workforce.

Op-ed

On Leadership and Responsibility: The Lessons of the Purim Story

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau and Shira Ruderman, Israel Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, share thoughts on the Purim story, leadership, responsibility, and repair of the world.

Op-ed

Is "Israeli" a Nationality?

Should the State of Israel recognize "Israeli" as a nationality? IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern and Jay Ruderman assert that it is imperative for the State of Israel to continue distinguishing between citizenship and nationality. 

Op-ed

The Haredi Draft: Is the Shaked Committee's Bill Destined to be Overturned?

As the Shaked Committee begins to vote on its proposal for the Haredi draft, Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern warns that the proposal's recommendation to exempt Haredi men of draft age during a three-year "adjustment period" is both inequitable and ineffective. 

Op-ed

Non-Jews in a Jewish State: Searching for a New Paradigm

In an article in The Jewish Week, Rabbi Dr. Kalman Neuman of IDI's Religion and State project examines some of the thorny questions of Jewish law when it comes to non-Jews in a Jewish state.

Op-ed

No to the Separation of Religion and State in Israel

Should the American model of separation of church and state be applied to Israel? In an article in <em>The Jewish Week</em>, IDI's Yair Sheleg argues that Israel needs a unique model.

Op-ed

Sir Isaac Newton and the New Haredim

Prof. Yedidia Stern shares thoughts on the connection between failure of the ultra-Orthodox "Tov" party in the local elections, the Haredi draft bill being debated by the Shaked Committee, and Newton's laws of motion.

Press Release

Dr. Shuki Friedman: Religious Status Quo is Dead

“The time has come to re-raise the issue of the status quo and write new legislation that will be accepted by the majority of Israelis," said Friedman.

Press Release

Israel Democracy Institute Scholars on the Proposal to Enable Religious Courts to Arbitrate on Civil Matters: ‘A Good and Balanced Proposal’

Ahead of today’s vote on a bill that would enable religious courts to conduct arbitration with the agreement of both parties, similar to the arbitration that takes place in other frameworks, a policy statement was sent to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation by Israel Democracy Institute’s Dr. Benny Porat.

Press Release

IDI Scholars Call on Government to Implement Kotel Compromise

“The Kotel compromise presents a proper balance between the will and desire of Orthodox individuals - who are the majority of those praying at the Western Wall -- to continue praying in the main plaza as they always have, and the will and desire of other Jewish groups that want to pray in the vicinity of the Kotel according to their faith."

Press Release

Dr. Shuki Friedman: 'New Kashrut Model Must Put an End to Chief Rabbinate's Monopoly'

Dr. Shuki Friedman responds to the Supreme Court discussion Tuesday on the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on kosher certification.

Press Release

Supreme Court Strikes Down ultra-Orthodox Exemption From Military

IDI responds to high court ruling: “The time has come for our politicians to demonstrate leadership and work to enact a more equitable and effective arrangement.”

Research reel

Ensuring a Vibrant Democracy

Op-ed

Who is Responsible for Finding a Solution to the Plight of Mesoravot Get?

Prof. Shahar Lifshitz outlines what halakhic authorities and the Knesset can do in order to resolve the issue of get refusal, as discussed at the Second Agunah Summit.

Article

Public Opinion: Is Israel Independence Day a Holiday?

Do Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel see Yom Ha'atzmaut as a holiday? Do perceptions among Jews vary depending upon level of religiosity or position on the right-left political spectrum? Find out in this Mini-Survey from IDI's Guttman Center.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Referendum—Changing the Rules of the Game of Israeli Democracy

Dr. Dana Blander draws on the findings of Israeli public opinion polls and explores some of the ramifications of the new Basic Law: Referendum, a law that establishes a system in which every citizen is entitled to participate in historic decisions on withdrawal from territory.

Op-ed

The IDF and the Ultra-Orthodox

As the Knesset prepares to vote on the "Draft Law" designed to regulate the service of ultra-Orthodox men in the Israel Defense Forces, Dr. Haim Zicherman surveys the current situation within Israel's Haredi community.

Op-ed

The Electoral Threshold: Why the Rush?

In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Ofer Kenig warns that while there is nothing wrong with a moderate increase in Israel's electoral threshold, increasing it from 2% to 3.25% in a single step is problematic.

Op-ed

International Disabilities Day 2013: Human Rights and Judaism in Action

In honor of International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau updates us on IDI's efforts on behalf of people with disabilities and reveals that people with guide dogs are now allowed to access the Western Wall.

Op-ed

The Haredi Draft: Equality Now?!

On November 21 2013, Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern appeared before the Shaked Committee and argued that criminal sanctions are not recommended for reaching conscription goals. In an op-ed in Makor Rishon, he explains why.

Article

Life Under Two Suns: When Human Rights and Jewish Values Collide

The first in a series of articles by researchers from IDI's Judaism and democracy projects and Human Rights and Judaism project on the complementary but tense relations between Judaism and democratic values.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Nation State? Only a Constitution Can Guarantee Israel's National Character

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs assert that the only way to guarantee Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state is not through a Basic Law that defining Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people but through a Constitution. 

Op-ed

Price Tag Attacks: Racist Crimes

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, Attorney Amir Fuchs stresses the need to wage a genuine war against racism, in order to preserve the values of Zionism and safeguard the Jewish and democratic state.