Most Israeli Jews Can’t Say If They’re More Israeli or More Jewish. And That’s a Good Thing

Sept. 17 2019

In their recent book #IsraeliJudaism, Camil Fuchs and Shmuel Rosner examine the perceptions and practices of Jewish Israelis regarding religion and identity. They find, among other things, that most, if asked whether they feel themselves to be Jews first and Israelis second or vice-versa, answer that they weigh both identities equally. Speaking with Rosner, the eminent legal and political theorist Ruth Gavison explains what this finding says about Israeli society and argues that, across the political spectrum, Israelis agree that the country should be Jewish; they disagree only about how much so and in what ways. Even growing numbers of Arab citizens have shown themselves willing to accept this premise. Gavison concludes by forcefully making the case that the Jewish state can best overcome its religious-secular divides if each side avoids attempts at compulsion. (Video, 25 minutes.)

 

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Israeli society, Judaism in Israel, Religion and politics

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror