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The Supreme Court’s decision to recognize conversions performed by private Orthodox rabbinical courts in Israel is nothing less than a historic drama. The immediate significance is the loss of the Chief Rabbinate’s Orthodox monopoly over conversions, but it’s also a milestone in the privatization of religious services on the road to the Chief Rabbinate’s loss of relevance. Originally published by Haaretz.

Dr. Shuki Friedman reminds us that the values that are so deeply rooted in our Jewish worldview, are part and parcel with the democratic values of our state and its outlook on the obligation to preserve life and human dignity using the rule of law.

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.

Judaism is no longer intimately and inexorably linked to religious observance. 

IDI's Shuki Friedman laments the existence of separate education systems for each sector of Israel's population, which reinforce, rather than bridge societal divides. This op-ed first appeared on Times of Israel.

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

There is a necessary condition that must be fulfilled for the existence of our nation-state to be justified: there must be an unconditional guarantee of civic equality for our national minorities. In this area, there is still much to be done.

In this memoir, Prof. Yedidia Stern recounts the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and calls on the Israeli public to turn that horrid day into an annual “Israeli Democracy Day." This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post.

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.

Israel needs to abandon the vindictive approach of trying to reform ultra-Orthodox society through force and budget cuts, and rather start investing heavily in education and job creation in the ultra-Orthodox sector. This op-ed was first published in the New York Jewish Week.

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.

Earlier this month, change snuck in through the back door of Israel's court system when Israel’s first ultra-Orthodox judge was appointed. This article was first published by the Jewish Press.

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. 

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.

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer shares thoughts on Jerusalem, which symbolizes what is most beautiful and exalted in Jewish culture: the commitment to law and morality, to justice and mercy.

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.

No aspect of the current Western Wall plaza arrangement, in which the Orthodox maintain a monopoly, will change if other denominations are allowed to pray at the foot of the Temple Mount in a new plaza. This article was first published by The Jerusalem Post.

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.

What do the two candidates for the American presidency — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — have in common? Almost nothing at all — except that their children are married to Jews. This op-ed by Yedidia Stern originally appeared in the Jewish Journal. 

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.

 

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.

The proposed "Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People" has the support of one third of the members of Knesset. In this op-ed, which was originally published in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern, who is deeply committed to the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, warns that the shift from defining Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state" to a "Jewish state with a democratic regime" is not a semantic shift, but a seismic change.  

In an op-ed in Haaretz, IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs warns that the proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People is not only anti-democratic but also undermines the foundations of Zionism.

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.

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.

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.

IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs discusses two indirect threats to human rights in Israel: attacks on the Israeli Supreme Court and attacks against Israeli human rights organizations.

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.

IDI researcher Dr. Amir Fuchs criticizes the proposed Basic Law that would establish Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and recommends accepting Israel's Declaration of Independence as the preamble to Israel's future Constitution instead.

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.

On the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that if the annual memorial day for the late prime minister were to be observed as Israeli Democracy Day, Rabin's legacy for the future would be even greater.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

In an op-ed in Maariv, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer calls for an election campaign that focuses not only on foreign policy and Israel's social gap, but on the nature of Israeli identity and the value of Israeli democracy itself.

IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg outlines four steps that can allay fears, contribute to dialogue, combat hatred, and improve relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel

Dr. Amir Fuchs discusses the proposal to add an override clause to Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom that would enable the Knesset to bypass the High Court and deal a a severe blow to the main safeguard of human rights and minorities in Israel.

IDI Researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler presents a brief overview of the Israeli High Court of Justice's decision to strike down Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and explores several themes that may be of comparative constitutional interest. 

IDI researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler explains why he believes the Supreme Court should overturn Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Act just as it invalidated its predecessor.

In an article in the Hebrew weekly <em>Makor Rishon</em>, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs argue against the current initiative to pass Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, which they see as divisive and problematic.

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.

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.

Dr. Amir Fuchs discusses the Israeli High Court of Justice's decision to uphold the "Admissions Committees Law," which allows small communities to reject applicants due to a lack of social suitability. 

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.