What kind of state are we celebrating when we commemorate Israel Independence Day? Prof. Yedidia Stern discusses the tension between the "Jewish" and "democratic" aspects of Israeli's identity and explores the attacks of the concept "Jewish state" by three fundamentalist camps: religious, ultra-nationalist, and liberal.
On the practical side, religious conversion hasn’t ‘delivered the goods’ so far. Although it has been officially declared a national mission, less than 10 percent of non-Jewish immigrants and their offspring have completed the process. As a result, one in 20 non-Arab Israelis isn’t recognized as a Jew, despite having made aliyah under the Law of Return.
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.)
In an op-ed first published by The Jerusalem Report, Prof. Yedidia Stern says this intifada of knives has left Israel in a twilight zone. It is not a time of war, in which the army is permitted to use arms more freely. But nor is it a time of peace in which any use of arms is seen as most irregular. Sharp differences of opinion between the public and the army could lead to a crisis in public confidence in the military high command. There is a crying need for responsible leadership.
In an op-ed from Yedioth Ahronoth written in honor of Israel's 63rd Independence Day, IDI Vice President of Research Yedidia Z. Stern reflects on the quality of Israeli independence, and asserts that a connection with the wellsprings of Jewish culture is necessary for maintaining the quality of the independence that Israel holds so dear.
- “The decision is questionable. If the government is really interested in avoiding desecration of the Sabbath, and in ensuring a day of rest, it should focus its energy on stopping the illegal work currently being performed on the Sabbath, which according to reports by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is rarely done.
The "Rabbis' Letter" signed by dozens of community rabbis in Israel in December 2010 asserts that Jewish law forbids the rental and sale of homes in Israel to non-Jews. Is renting property to non-Jews indeed forbidden by Jewish law? IDI Researcher Dr. Eliezer Hadad surveys opinions by contemporary rabbis who adopted a universalistic approach and found a halakhic basis for the equal rights mandated by both international norms and the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
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.
Each year, the Israel Democracy Institute checks the health of Israeli democracy by means of the annual Israeli Democracy Index. In an op-ed in Yedioth Ahronoth, Prof. Tamar Hermann discusses the 2013 Index, which was submitted to President Shimon Peres on October 6, 2013.
Orthodoxy and Non-Orthodoxy in Israel – Positions, Propositions, and Accords
Democracy and Peace in the Israeli Mind
The Doctrine of Da′at Torah at the Turn of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
A Multiculturalist View
What Can History Teach Us?
Lesson Plans for High School Students