religion and state

Publications Regarding religion and state

Articles

Press Release

Israelis Support Deportation of Asylum Seekers

66% of the Jewish public and half of the Arab public support the government’s decision to deport asylum seekers to African countries that are prepared to absorb them. 

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

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

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

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

Haredi women lead change

Are women leading the change in ultra-Orthodox society or are they preserving their unique way of life? Learn more about the tension between the possibilities that the modern world offers ultra-Orthodox women and the many complex challenges facing them. 

Press Release

Proposed Conversion Law

Prof. Yedidia Stern, Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institution said that the proposed conversion law is an important step. The state must take responsibility and resolve the issues that affect so many lives

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.

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.

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

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

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

Press Release

Women in the Military

Prof. Yedidia Stern: "These rabbis, who loudly extol the virtues of Jewish statehood, do not hesitate to drag the people’s army into the arena of conflict with their irresponsible statements."

Article

Most want minimarkets, public transport on Shabbat

Large majorities of the Jewish public support allowing minimarkets to open and the operation of public transport on Shabbat, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute has found.

 

Press Release

How Many Israelis Keep Kosher for Passover?

A special update from the Peace Index by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute shows that that two-thirds of the Jews in Israel eat kosher for Passover outside the home and prepare the their house for the holiday - but 58% oppose the ban on cafes and restaurants from serving chametz (bread).

 

Article

Charedi Women Increasingly Having It All

Growing numbers of ultra-Orthodox women postponing marriage to pursue a career path, new study finds.

Op-ed

Too Much Religion in the Knesset?

The best estimate is that the religious and ultra-Orthodox will account for nearly a third (!) of the next Knesset. Should we be concerned that the Knesset is getting more religious?

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

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

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.'

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

Women’s Service in the IDF: Between a ‘People’s Army’ and Gender Equality

Over the years and especially in recent decades, the concept of gender equality has also become relevant to the discussion of military service, and more and more roles have been opened up to women serving in the IDF. Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman presents an overview of 70 years of women in the IDF.

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

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

Time to Allow Everyone to Worship at the Foot of the Temple Mount as they Wish

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.

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

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

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

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

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

An Israeli Version of Repentance

The High Holy Days are a time of reflection and personal growth. But since the founding of the State of Israel, personal repentance is no longer enough. IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern stresses the need to transform Jewish traditions from the personal sphere to the public sphere and calls for collective, national repentance, Israeli style.

Op-ed

Israel Should Recognize Judaism's Main Denominations

IDI President Yohanan Plesner writes that Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and secular Jews are all members of the Jewish people. The Israeli government must grant equal recognition to the central movements within Judaism, including equal funding for all.

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

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

Civil Unions in Israel as a Democratic Compromise

Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, author of an IDI policy paper proposing a spousal registry as a framework for civil unions in Israel, welcomes the reintroduction of this issue to the public agenda but expresses some concern about the formulation of the current bill.

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

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

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.

Policy Statement

Civil Unions for All

Prof. Shahar Lifshitz explains why IDI's proposal for civil unions, which was first presented in his IDI policy paper The Spousal Registry, is the best solution possible today for alleviating the distress of couples who cannot or do not want to marry in a religious ceremony in Israel.

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 Really Cares about Converts?

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.

Op-ed

Who is Entitled?

The question of who is a citizen of Israel is tied to many issues in the forefront of debate in Israel: questions regarding the Jewish and democratic nature of the state, questions regarding conversion, and questions regarding the absorption of refugees and foreign workers into Israeli society. In this article, guest columnist MK Aryeh Eldad shares his views on who is entitled to be and who should be a citizen of the State of Israel.

Op-ed

The Chief Rabbinate: A Religious Version of the State President

In an op-ed in Maariv, Yair Sheleg argues that the current roles of the Israeli chief rabbinate should be split and the rabbinate should serve solely in its representative capacity in the future.

Article

Israeli Public Opinion on the Women of the Wall

IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Tamar Hermann, head of IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys, shares findings on the Israeli Jewish public's support of the right of the Women of the Wall to pray while wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries.

Op-ed

Habayit Hayehudi and Refusal of Orders: The Real Question

Naftali Bennett's statement that he would refuse orders if commanded to evacuate settlements raises questions about the type of insubordination that he and his party condone. In an op-ed in Yedioth Ahronoth, Prof. Yedidia Stern calls on Habayit Hayehudi to clarify its position on the matter.

Op-ed

From Ruth to Natasha

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.

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

Conversion – Implications for Jewish Culture and Peoplehood

IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg argues that it is time to modify the requirements for those who wish to join the Jewish People, with the State overriding the religious establishment through legislation in order to resolve this issue, if necessary.

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

A Coalition of Hope

Following the elections of 2013, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern hails the incoming Knesset as a unique opportunity to change the nature of the State of Israel so that it is both more Jewish and more democratic at the same time. 

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

Religious Incitement: A Test Case for Freedom of Speech?

In an op-ed in Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President Yedidia Z. Stern responds to the proposed "Dov Lior Bill" and decries the possibility that members of the clergy—of any religion—be above the law and immune from prosecution for incitement to violence when their religious teachings may encourage criminal behavior.

Op-ed

On the Need for Civil Unions in Israel

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau expresses support for the proposed civil union bill, which would allow couples who do not want to marry in a religious service to form a legally recognized union and be eligible for the benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage.

Op-ed

Who’s Afraid of Ultra-Orthodox Israelis?

Ultra-Orthodox society is moving toward a more Israeli, more modern future, while also maintaining its unique characteristics. 

Article

On This Day the World Stands on Trial

Do we really believe that our fate for the coming year is determined on this day?

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

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

When the Government Provides Religious Services

Full separation of religion and state isn't possible, but why is the Chief Rabbinate in the kashrut business?

Research

Population & Demographics

The first out of five chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Education

The second out of five chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Poverty & Standard of Living

The third out of five chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Employment

The fourth out of five chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Way of Life & Voting Patterns

The fifth out of five chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Standard of Living

The third out of six chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Employment

The fourth out of six chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Research

Ultra-Orthodox Lifestyles

The fifth out of six chapters of the Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel

Head of IDI’s Religion and State Program: ‘It Should be Forbidden to Appoint Rabbis to Senior Posts who Copy-and-Paste Laws from Biblical Times and Apply them to Today’

Head of IDI’s Religion and State Program: ‘It should be forbidden to appoint rabbis to senior posts who copy-and-paste laws from Biblical times and apply them to today’

'The Mikveh Bill Harms the very Ethos of the State of Israel as a State for all Jews,’ IDI Researcher Yair Sheleg

In advance of Wednesday’s discussion in the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee on the Mikveh Bill, the head of IDI’s Religion and State program, Yair Sheleg, sent a policy paper to committee MKs asking them to vote against the bill. He said the bill unacceptably discriminates, something which is known to its sponsors and clear in the bill’s explanatory notes. The legislation was presented by its sponsors in reaction to a Supreme Court ruling that public ritual baths could be used by the wider public, including for non-Orthodox conversions.

Press Release

IDI's Yair Sheleg on the Coalition Agreement

The decision by Yisrael Beiteinu to concede on its demands related to issues of religion and state in order to join the coalition reflects a problematic reality.

Press Release

One Year Since the Passing of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Rav Lichtenstein, a noted Orthodox rabbi, rosh yeshiva and authority in Jewish law. Rav Lichtenstein received the Israel Prize for Jewish Religious Literature for 2014.

Press Release

Yair Sheleg Praises Beit Hillel Document Urging Greater Acceptance of Homosexuals within the Orthodox Community

Yair Sheleg, head of the Israel Democracy Institute's Religion and State program, today reacted to a document presented Sunday by rabbis from the nonprofit Beit Hillel urging greater acceptance of homosexuals within the Orthodox community.

Press Release

IDI President Yohanan Plesner on the Supreme Court Decision to Recognize Private Orthodox Conversions

Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) President Yohanan Plesner today responded to last week's Supreme Court decision that the state must recognize private Orthodox conversions, calling it inevitable, due to the continued failure of the state conversion institutes.

Press Release

IDI Program Director Response to Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef

Yair Sheleg says head of Israel's rabbinical court should not take public stances on controversial non-religious issues.

Press Release

IDI on the Proposal to Overturn the Supreme Court Ruling on Mikveh Use

The proposed legislation was presented by Knesset Finance Committee head Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and would require that mikvehs be run only in accordance with the directives of the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. 

Press Release

The Israel Democracy Institute on the Bill That Would Forbid the Use of Loudspeakers In Houses Of Prayer:

Policy statement: 'The current law already completely provides a way to deal with these kinds of issues, and there is no reason to change it.'

Press Release

Egalitarian Prayer at the Western Wall

IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern responds to government's January 31, 2016 decision to allow egalitarian prayer at some parts of the Western Wall.

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

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

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.

Article

Israelis Are More Traditional Than You Think

More than 25 years ago, the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty” affirmed that Israel is a “Jewish” and “democratic” state but did not define either of these terms in the Israeli context. Now is the time for us to turn to the Jewish identity that has been adopted by a large portion of Israel’s Jews and allow it to shape the country’s Jewish character.

Article

Shabbat in the City

A recent law stripped local authorities of the power to decide on allowing commercial activity on Shabbat and handed it over to the Minister of the Interior, a development which was met with public uproar. Would it not be better to leave these powers in the hands of the municipalities, which act according to the profile of their resident population? Dr. Shuki Friedman makes the case for leaving these decisions in the hands of the local authority.

 

Op-ed

Faith and the City

In an op-ed for the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Shuki Friedman, Head of IDI's Center for Religion, Nation and State, explains how local government plays a critical role in balancing religion and state in day-to-day life in Israel.

Op-ed

Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv

How despicable is a mob that calls for non-partisanship but is unwilling to listen to a voice that speaks for a majority of Israelis today?

Press Release

Kashrut Supervision Services Bill

IDI is calling to amend the Kashrut Supervision Bill, so that instead of creating an additional layer of intermediaries, the market will be open, transparent and regulated by Rabbinate authorized rabbis.

Podcast

A Kosher Military

Yohanan Plesner discusses with Tipping Point the "People's Army". Can a compromise be reached and is "sharing the burden" of military service a realistic goal? 

Press Release

Calling on Our Leaders to Lead

Leading public figures avoid dealing with issues that are of national importance when it entails confronting the ultra-Orthodox community.

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

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.

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

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.

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 Peri Committee Recommendations: Fanning the Flames of Haredi Extremism

IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern warns that the Peri Committee recommendations on the ultra-Orthodox draft will undo progress already made in integrating Israel's Haredi community into Israeli society.

Op-ed

The Need for Equal Sharing of the Burden and Strengthening of Torah Study

The need for the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel to share the burden of military service and participate equally in the Israeli economy was a central issue in the 2013 elections. IDI researcher Dr. Benny Porat shares his thoughts on how to bring about this change in the Haredi community.

Op-ed

The Haredim and the State of Israel

In an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, IDI's Prof. Yedidia Stern, who served on the Plesner Committee for Equality in National Service, and Mr. Jay Ruderman analyze the Haredi community's reluctance to serve in the Israeli army and present an approach that will facilitate Haredi integration into Israel's army and society.

Op-ed

The Haredi Draft: The Need for an Alliance of the Moderates

Prof. Yedidia Stern calls for a historic alliance between religious and secular moderates that will yield a solution that will  that will yield a solution that addresses the need for ultra-Orthodox army service while taking into account the most important values of the Haredi community.

Op-ed

The Founding Vision: Israel as a Democratic State. Period.

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.

Op-ed

The Comeback of Polarization

IDI researcher Dr. Benjamin Brown discusses the sense of attack experienced by the Haredi community in the 2013 election campaign and calls for a process of gradual change in integrating the ultra-Orthodox in the Israeli army and workforce.

If They Give, They Will Receive

In this response to the Supreme Court ruling on the Tal Law, IDI Senior Researcher Yair Sheleg asserts that the exemption of ultra-Orthodox men from military service is an unparalleled <em>Hillul Hashem</em>—a desecration of the Name of God, and shares his views of a possible solution.

Op-ed

Make the Ultra-Orthodox Serve

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.

Op-ed

The Tal Law: Judicial Activism at its Height

The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Tal Law, after 30 years of avoiding the issue of the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, is an expression of judicial activism that illustrates the transformation that the Israeli Supreme Court has undergone in the last generation. In this op-ed, originally published in Hebrew in <em>Makor Rishon</em>, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that the Court went too far in this ruling and that its activism is hard to justify.

Op-ed

In the Aftermath of the Tal Law

Will the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling that the Tal Law is unconstitutional really guarantee that the burden of Israel's defense will be shared equally by the country's citizens? IDI's Prof. Yedidia Stern warns that this ruling may actually hinder the integration of the Haredi community into Israeli society rather than promoting it.

Op-ed

Haredi Integration: Not by Re-Education

IDI researcher Attorney Haim Zicherman warns against attempts to integrate ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army by encouraging them to abandon their lifestyle, and calls for developing mechanisms that will accept and respect their values. 

Op-ed

Finding Middle Ground

In an op-ed in Israel Hayom, IDI researcher Adv. Haim Zicherman argues that a temporary extension of the Tal Law would help the growing trend of ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF and would enable volunteering for civilian service to continue.

Op-ed

Do Not Put an End to Ultra-Orthodox Army Service

Following the dissolution of the Committee to Advance Equality in Sharing the Burden, committee head MK Yohanan Plesner submitted proposals for alternatives to the Tal Law. In this article, IDI Researcher Attorney Haim Zicherman, who served as the content coordinator of the Plesner Committee, warns that some of those measures were personal recommendations rather than recommendations of the Committee, and may reverse trends of increasing army service by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

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.

Discourse on Disengagement: Sensationalism in the Mainstream Press

According to Tamar Guttman, a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Tel Aviv University, there is little room for enthusiasm regarding the way Israel’s mainstream media addressed the subject of the disengagement plan. In this article, originally published in The Seventh Eye on October 31, 2004, Guttman explains that the media was usually preoccupied with the petty, marginal, and sensationalist aspects of the initiative, systematically failing to examine the important issues raised by the withdrawal from Gaza or to ask difficult questions.

Press Release

Proposed Draft Bill Puts the “People's Army” at Risk

Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute cautions that the Ministry of Defense’s proposed draft bill “endangers IDF’s model of service as a “People's Army” based on the principle of mandatory service for all

Op-ed

Integrating Women into Politics: Another Solution

The absolute exclusion of women from ultra-Orthodox parties keeps their specific interests from being addressed effectively in the public sphere.

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

A Ready Alternative to the Nation State Law

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.

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

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

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 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

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.

Op-ed

Israel Is Repeating The Mistakes That Led To The Temple’s Destruction

What message of Tisha B’Av is relevant for life in a sovereign state like Israel? Does the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel make the day of mourning for “the city that is in mourning, laid waste, despised and desolate” an anachronism?

Op-ed

The Jewish and Democratic State: Zionism is Not Racism

In an op-ed in Haaretz, Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that Israel is both the nation-state of the Jewish people and a democratic state, despite the confused Zionism of Mayor Shimon Gapso of Upper Nazareth.

Podcast

The Nation State law

If Israel was founded as the state of the Jewish people, why is a nation-state law so problematic, having already toppled one government? 

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

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

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. 

Books