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Articles

Op-ed

One Judaism, Two Nations

The Jewish people have been debating questions of Jewish identity and the definition of "who is a Jew" for thousands of years. While this debate has worn different faces and taken on different shapes at different times, it is a debate that has weighed on all sects and sectors of Jewish society. However, with the formation of the State of Israel, and especially over recent years, there is a palpable feeling that there are two nations caring out separate and different discussions. One lives and operates out of Israel; the other is overseas. This op-ed originally appeared in the Jewish Week.

Op-ed

Passover To Independence Day: From Miracles To Responsibility

The transition between Passover and Israel’s Independence Day is a symbolic transition from a holiday that centers on Godly miracles to a holiday that centers on human actions. 

Op-ed

Singling out Israel is a Very Modern Antisemitism

Old anti-Semitism insisted that Jews had no place in the national community. New anti-Semitism insists that Israel has no place in the international community, explains Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at King's College, London and a member of IDI's International Advisory Council. "Modern anti-Semitism begins by singling out Jews for the deprivation of the right of self-determination. Its final aim is the elimination of Israel," writes Bogdanor in an op-ed published by the Jewish Chronicle.

Op-ed

Conversion in Israel: From Bethlehem to Chelm to Sodom

IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern responds to the State Comptroller's findings on conversion in Israel and calls for a solution that will enable Israelis from the former Soviet Union to join the ranks of the Jewish people.

Op-ed

Replace ‘Who is a Jew?’ with ‘Who is a Jew for What?’

In a time of fluid identity, Jews understand the need to be pragmatic in defining Jewishness.

Article

These Four Conflicting Visions Will Determine Israel’s Future

Israel is a success story on many levels — social, economic, scientific, and in terms of protecting its security. Nevertheless, many of its citizens see the country as treading water. What is the source of this dissonance?

Article

Israel-Diaspora Rift Isn’t As Bad As You Think

The rift between the Israeli Jewish community (as opposed to the Israeli government) and the U.S. Jewish community is not as deep as it is portrayed in the media.

Article

Being Able to Say No

How can we reverse the growing rift between Israel and diaspora Jewry? Both sides have their work cut out.

Op-ed

The Jewish Happiness Index

Article

25 Events that Impacted Israeli Democracy

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Israel Democracy Institute, we feature a list of the 25 formative events that shaped Israeli democracy.

Article

Israel: A Society of Immigrants

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel's demographics have shifted greatly due to large immigrant waves (aliyot). This article examines several models of cultural absorption, analyzes the success of Israeli absorption efforts in the past, and proposes possible improvements for the future.

Op-ed

Israel at 60: On the Road to Democratic Maturity

Barak Cohen discusses how Israel's lack of a constitution manifests itself today as unanswered fundamental questions of seemingly irreconcilable identities. The steps of progress and maturity have to consist of compromises and rationality.

Op-ed

Have No Fear: On the Inclusion of People with Intellectual Disabilities in Society

An op-ed by IDI Senior Fellow Admiral Ami Ayalon, Project Head Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau, and Shira Ruderman of the Ruderman Foundation, stressing the need to dispel the fear of the Other and the Different. 

Op-ed

Is Israeli Society Healthy or Afflicted?

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is an opportunity to stop and ponder how much we love to forget or forget to love. This article was originally published by the Jewish Journal

Op-ed

New Jew?

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

Op-ed

Rabbinical vs. Personal Converts to Judaism: What’s the Difference?

These two types of converts display different profiles and patterns of Jewish engagement, and both differ from the 5.1 million individuals who were born Jewish.

Op-ed

Personal Holocaust, Personal Responsibility

As a second generation Holocaust survivor, Dr. Shuki Friedman says that, "beyond the responsibility of building our own lives and the state, there is also a personal responsibility not only to remember, but to pass on remembrance to the next generation."

 

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

Is it time to do away with Tisha B’Av?

Israel has evolved into an economic and military superpower; what must we mourn?

Op-ed

Are We Guilty? Are We Traitors?

Shared responsibility, engraved in Jewish tradition, is one of the secrets of the State of Israel's success and the use of the plural form in confession reflects this perception.

Op-ed

Trump, Clinton and the King of Moab

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. 

Article

ISIS: Is the Islamic State Really a State?

What criteria must the caliphate of the Islamic State meet in order to be considered a State under international law? This article presents an analysis of this question by IDI experts on terrorism and democracy.

Article

One on One: "As Great a Threat as Iran"

An interview in which IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon discusses the Institute's achievements, his views on the government and its size, and the connection between his expertise on Nazi Germany and his research on democracy. 

Op-ed

Joining Together to Remember Yitzhak Rabin

On the 19th anniversary of the Rabin assassination, Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau, head of IDI's Human Rights and Judaism in Action project, looks at the youth of Israel and shares a vision of hope.

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

My Jerusalem: Thoughts for Jerusalem Day

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.

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

Holocaust Studies for Preschoolers: Another Missed Educational Opportunity?

In a <em>Times of Israel</em> op-ed, Dr. Arye Carmon advocates a new approach to educating Israeli school children about the Holocaust, which will humanize both the victims and the perpetrators.

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

Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky are Turning in their Graves

The text of an ad placed by IDI in three major Israeli newspapers soon after the Knesset passed the Anti-Boycott Law and just before its vote on legislation that would mandate investigations of human rights organizations, calling on Israel's legislature and judiciary to defend Israeli democracy from an onslaught of irresponsible legislative initiatives.

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

Basic Law: Israel as the Nationalist State of the Jewish People

In an op-ed originally published in Maariv, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs warn that the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People would undercut the balance between the "Jewish" and "democratic" nature of the State of Israel.

Op-ed

An Anti-Zionist Law

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.

Op-ed

A Zionist State, a Binational State and an In-Between Jewish and Democratic State

In this article, reprinted from Nationalism and Binationalism: The Perils of Perfect Structures, Prof. Sammy Smooha presents three models of Israel's national character, focusing on Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

Op-ed

A Jewish and Undemocratic State?

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.  

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.

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

From Institutions to Community Housing

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Lau, head of IDI's Human Rights and Judaism in Action project, presents the transition from institutions to homes in the community for people with disabilities as a Jewish imperative.

Op-ed

Israeli Democracy Day: Yitzhak Rabin's Legacy for the Future

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.

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

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

A Social Iron Dome for Jewish-Arab Relations

In an op-ed in <em>Yedioth Ahronoth</em>, Prof. Yedidia Stern warns that the Iron Dome could not protect Israel from hatred between Jewish and Arab citizens, and stresses the need for both sides to use imaginative empathy to mend the fabric of Israel's shared society.?

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

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

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

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.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People – A Danger to the Zionist Enterprise

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.

Article

Israeli Public Opinion on Reducing Funding to Organizations that Mark Independence Day as the "Nakba"

What do Jews in Israel think about the law mandating the reduction of government funds to institutions that mark Israel Independence Day as a day of mourning for the Palestinian "Nakba"? Find out in this mini-survey conducted by IDI's Guttman Center. 

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

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

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

Is Israeli Society Frail Or Flourishing?

Is Israeli democracy weak, fragile and on the brink of collapse, or is it robust, stable and resilient? 

Press Release

Surveys: 50 Years Since the Six-Day War

The Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research (then the Guttman Center) carried out a series of surveys just before, during and after the war.

Op-ed

The Admissions Committees Ruling: A Lack of Ripeness or Refusal to Decide?

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.