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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
The issue of the exclusion of women and their marginalization in Israeli society has dominated the media in Israel during the past few weeks. In this article, which was originally published in The Seventh Eye on December 25, 2011, Dr. Debora Lederman-Danieli argues that the media's struggle against the phenomenon of the degradation of women requires much more than disingenuous, populist outcries.
Why is the marginalization of women in Israeli society and their exclusion from the public sphere on the rise in Israeli society? In this op-ed, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern focuses on the religious Zionist community and the power struggle to determine who will control the public sphere and the space of the religious community.
In an op-ed originally published in Haaretz on June 18, 2010, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern responds to the dramatic events in the city of Immanuel, warns secular society about the growing demonization of the Haredi community, and urges the Haredi community to have greater faith in the courts—the ultimate protectors of the rights of minorities.
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.
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.
The State of Israel needs to come up with appropriate living solutions for the ultra-Orthodox, whose numbers are expected to increase significantly.
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.
Religious Zionism and Israeli Society
Religious Services, Public Administration and Politics
“Shall your brethren go to war, and shall you sit here?” (Numbers 32:6)
What’s Jewish in Israeli Law?
Orthodoxy and Non-Orthodoxy in Israel – Positions, Propositions, and Accords
Religion and State: The Role of Halakhah
Religion and State: The Role of Halakhah
Facing Painful Choices: Law and Halakhah in Israeli Society
Civil Leadership as Halakhic Authority
Volume I: The Haredim in Israel