Cite: Cohen-Almagor, Religious, Hateful, and Racist Speech in Israel

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael. “Religious, Hateful, and Racist Speech in Israel.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 95-117.



This essay is a study in politics and law. It begins with an introductory background which explains Israel’s vulnerability as a Jewish, multicultural democracy in a hostile region, with significant schisms that divide the nation. In the next section I present the State Attorney’s stance regarding extreme statements made in the context of the disengagement from Gaza. I proceed by addressing the issue of religious incitement, both Jewish and Moslem. I argue that the State cannot sit idly by while senior officials incite racism and undermine its democratic values. Such officials should be discharged of all responsibilities. The State ought to weigh the costs of allowing hate speech as well as the risks involved, and balance these against the costs and risks to democracy and free speech associated with censorship.

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