What Israel Has Done for Jewish Life, and What It Could Do Next

Jan. 16 2015

In researching his recent book, Like Dreamers, which follows the lives of seven heroes and veterans of the 1967 Six-Day War, Yossi Klein Halevi “was constantly amazed at the intensity of life in Israel, from the very founding of the state. I kept wondering how one small country could contain so much history.” (Interview by Philip K. Jason).

One of the characters in the book . . . participated in every one of Israel’s wars, beginning in 1948. Where else does life make such demands on the citizens of a nation? Sometimes it seemed to me as if we were trying to compensate for centuries of Jewish life without sovereignty by cramming as much experience into our national life as possible. . . .

My sense—maybe it’s only a hope—is that the next great outbreak of utopian energy in Israeli society will be spiritual, not political, and will focus on creating the next phase of Judaism. What kind of Judaism will we live as a sovereign people in its land? So far, we’ve mostly imported forms of Judaism that emerged under conditions of a persecuted, ghettoized minority. We need forms of Judaism that are worthy of the profound transformation in Jewish life we’ve experienced over the last two centuries, and especially since the creation of Israel.

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More about: Judaism, Messianism, Six-Day War, Yossi Klein Halevi

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics