New Article: Lerner, Religion and Personal Status Regulations in Israel and India

Lerner, Hanna. “Critical Junctures, Religion, and Personal Status Regulations in Israel and India.” Law & Social Inquiry 39.2 (2014): 387-415.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/lsi.12068/abstract

 

Abstract

The article aims at advancing our understanding of critical junctures in the evolution of religious/secular regulations, referring to those moments in history when one particular arrangement is adopted among several alternatives, establishing an institutional trajectory that is resistant to change in the following years. It traces the regulation of personal status laws in Israel and India, which, despite attempts by political leaders at time of independence to defer clear choices regarding the role of religious law, became generally entrenched in later decades. Based on the Israeli and Indian cases, and in contrast with common approaches, the article demonstrates how decisions made by influential political actors during the foundational stage of the state appear difficult to reform, regardless of the content of these decisions—whether they introduce a radical change or maintain existing practices—or the level of decision making—whether constitutional or ordinary parliamentary legislation.

Conference: Israel at 65, The Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia University

The Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia University

is pleased to announce its inaugural conference:

Israel at 65 Years: Dimensions of National Identity

Date: November 11 & 12, 2013

Keynote address:

“Israel Studies in Israel, North America  and Beyond”

by Professor Ilan Troen

Stoll Family Professor and Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies (Brandeis University)

Where: Gelber Conference Centre, 5151 Cote St Catherine , Montreal, Canada

Time: Monday November 11, 7:00 pm

Conference sessions

Time: Monday November 12, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Where: H-767, Henry F. Hall Building, Concordia University

1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West

Abridged Program:

9 .AM                         Cultural Diversity – Israeli Responses

11 PM                        Religion and the State

1:30 PM            The Making and Re-making of a National Culture

3:45 PM            Future Trajectories

For the complete program

please check http://azrieli-institute.concordia.ca/news-and-events/news/

ToC: Journal of Israeli History, 32.2 (2013)

Ben-Gurion’s view of the place of Judaism in Israel

Nir Kedar
pages 157-174

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822728

 

Yom Kippur and Jewish public culture in Israel

Hizky Shoham
pages 175-196

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822732

 

Returning to religious observance on Israel’s non-religious kibbutzim

Lee Cahaner & Nissim Leon
pages 197-218

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822727

 

Holocaust memory in ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel: Is it a “counter-memory”?

Michal Shaul
pages 219-239

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822731

 

In search of Ahad Ha’am’s Bible

Alan T. Levenson
pages 241-256

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822729

 

Israeli Intelligence and the leakage of Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech”

Matitiahu Mayzel
pages 257-283

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.822730

 

Book Reviews

 

The Political Philosophy of Zionism: Trading Jewish Words for a Hebraic Land

Noam Pianko
pages 285-286

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.829663

 

Law and the Culture of Israel

Nir Kedar
pages 286-290

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.824730

 

The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel

Jonathan Rynhold
pages 290-293

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.824731

 

Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimization

Eli Tzur
pages 293-297

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.824732

 

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.849091

 

Cite: Tepe, Democratic Challenges of Political Fragmentation in Israel and Turkey

Tepe, Sultan. “The Perils of Polarization and Religious Parties: The Democratic Challenges of Political Fragmentation in Israel and Turkey.” Democratization 20.5 (2013): 831-56.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13510347.2013.801254

Abstract

With their “deeply divided societies”, distinctive electoral rules and pivotal religious parties, Israeli and Turkish politics offer crucial cases to probe into “polarization” processes and the ways in which religious parties play a role in them. Using a large sample of public opinion and experimental survey data, the analysis shows how polarization can be marked by some contravening trends. Despite declining social trust, religious party supporters do not denounce any institutions categorically; yet disregard some opposing parties as viable political alternatives. The political positions of religious partisans differ from their party leadership. Supporters assign different levels of significance to polarizing issues and carry the potential of forming issue-based coalitions across different ideological groups. Although they acquire news and political information from different venues, most partisans tend to process factual information through partisan lenses, reinforcing partisan ideological commitments. While religious party supporters increasingly reject the existing markers of politics and show signs of political apathy, they do not withdraw from politics. With their multifaceted commitments, religious party supporters do not fall into mutually exclusive political groups. Given the tendency of the political elite to exacerbate divisions for political expediency, it is ultimately the ability of individuals to engage in politics beyond the confines of party politics that presents an escape from these polarization traps.

Cite: Balázs, The Conflict of Conscience and Law in a Jewish State

Balázs, Gábor. “The Conflict of Conscience and Law in a Jewish State.” Shofar 31.2 (2013):118-136.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.feldheim.html

Abstract

Founded in 1998, the Mehadrin bus lines adhere to strict separation of men and women: women must board the bus at the back and sit only at the back, and men at the front. In addition, women must adhere to strict modesty rules in their attire, that is, for example, wear long skirts, no pants, and sleeves. The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) became involved after being approached by five women reporting physical or verbal abuse when not conforming to the segregation or modesty rules on the buses. The fear of those active in defense of the rights of women was that segregation will extend further into public spaces. Indeed, the issue of gender segregation became a major issue about preserving the presence of women in public spaces in Israel. On the other hand, the segregation issue raises the question of whether secular Israelis have the right to force Western standards on the ultra-Orthodox. This article examines the background, and the legal, religious, and political arguments raised in reconciling the rights of women and rights of religious observance yet supporting the Israeli nation’s goal of advancing democracy.

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.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.cohen-almagor.html

Abstract

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.

Cite: Feldheim, Women’s Rights and Religious Rights: The Issue of Bus Segregation

Feldheim, Miriam. “Balancing Women’s Rights and Religious Rights: The Issue of Bus Segregation.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 73-94.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.feldheim.html

Abstract

Founded in 1998, the Mehadrin bus lines adhere to strict separation of men and women: women must board the bus at the back and sit only at the back, and men at the front. In addition, women must adhere to strict modesty rules in their attire, that is, for example, wear long skirts, no pants, and sleeves. The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) became involved after being approached by five women reporting physical or verbal abuse when not conforming to the segregation or modesty rules on the buses. The fear of those active in defense of the rights of women was that segregation will extend further into public spaces. Indeed, the issue of gender segregation became a major issue about preserving the presence of women in public spaces in Israel. On the other hand, the segregation issue raises the question of whether secular Israelis have the right to force Western standards on the ultra-Orthodox. This article examines the background, and the legal, religious, and political arguments raised in reconciling the rights of women and rights of religious observance yet supporting the Israeli nation’s goal of advancing democracy.

Cite: Rubin, Integration of Religion in Democratizing Societies: Lessons from the Israeli Experience

Rubin, Aviad. “Integration of Religion in Democratizing Societies: Lessons from the Israeli Experience.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 31-54.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.rubin.html

Abstract

Throughout the twentieth century, the treatment of religion in the social sciences had been heavily shaped by the premises of modernization theory. This theory was responsible for the development of two concepts—the secularization thesis and the traditional school of civil society—which deny any space for religious content and actors in the public and political spheres. Both concepts rely on the exceptional experience of the west and share deterministic, static and essentially pessimistic assumptions regarding the ability of religion and the state to mutually coexist in democratic settings. In view of the above Israel’s treatment of religion stands out. Israel challenged the premises of the secularization thesis and instead granted a significant official role to religious contents and actors in the state. Contrary to common beliefs, this research demonstrates that Israel’s policy resulted in mainly positive consequences and contributed to the stabilization of its democratic regime. Furthermore, Israel’s inclusive policy on religion proved successful in containing and isolating mounting religious challenges to the state in recent decades and in securing the stability of the democratic regime. Israel’s account reveals two important lessons about the nature of the state-religion relationship. First, it offers a dynamic and mutually constitutive perception of the relationship between the state and religion. Second, it advocates development of a case-sensitive approach toward religion, depending on specific social, historical, and cultural attributes. These lessons might prove highly relevant for post Arab spring societies in transition.

Cite: Kaye, Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism

Kaye, Alexander. “Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 8-30.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.kaye.html

Abstract

Religious Zionists who wanted to preserve their commitments to tradition and the Jewish state had to address the difficulties of applying tradition to new realities. The main challenge for them arose from the democratic nature of the new State of Israel. Between 1948 and the mid-1950s, Zionist leaders and thinkers contributed to the evolving dialectical relationship between a secular, modern democracy and traditional Jewish culture based on halakah. Religious Zionists were very much aware of the challenge that democratic principles posed to the Jewish tradition and were often reluctant to compromise their halakic commitments for the sake of the demands of a democratic state. Thus, scholarship has focused on the confrontation, compatibility, or compromise between religion and modernity in the Zionist context as if they are two distinct and opposing spheres. In these sketches of halakic argumentation among religious Zionists in the early years of Israel, I try to complicate this picture.

Cite: Stern, Jewish Law and Matters of State: Theory, Policy, and Practice

Stern, Yedidia. “Jewish Law and Matters of State: Theory, Policy, and Practice.” Journal of Law, Religion and State. Available online 2012.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/ccst/2012/00000016/00000008/art00007

Abstract

In recent years Jewish religious leaders have often expressed religious opinions in matters concerning the foreign and security policy of the State of Israel. The present article focuses on the internal religious legitimacy of halakhic rulings in these matters and reveals the prerequisites that decisors must satisfy before voicing a binding halakhic opinion on issues concerning the Israeli Arab conflict, peace agreements, Jewish settlements in Judah and Samaria, etc. The article is divided into three parts that answer the following questions: (a) are matters of State policy subject to halakhic norms or are they situated outside the realm of Halakha? (b) does Halakha have a judicial policy seeking to rule on these issues? (c) what are the practical difficulties that decisors face if they wish to rule on them? The article points out the diversity of internal halakhic opinions on the questions under investigation, and outlines an analytical method for a halakhic discussion aimed at answering them.

Cite: Lehmann, State Management of Religion or Religious Management of the State?

Lehmann, David. “Israel: State Management of Religion or Religious Management of the State?” Citizenship Studies 16.8 (2012): 1029-1043.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/ccst/2012/00000016/00000008/art00007

Abstract

In Israel, the Jewish religion, which is unique among world religions in the primacy it accords to filiation rather than belief as a criterion of belonging, operates as a formal criterion of citizenship, but in substance different ways of being Jewish are expressed in different political forces which in turn struggle for control of the state’s religious orientation. This political struggle leads the state to favour ultra-Orthodox observance and criteria of belonging, even though that is a minority strand in the country itself and even more so outside. Religious interests and ideologies have found substantial niches in the legal system, in education, in the army and in the West Bank settlements, by exploiting the state’s corporatist character, leading to a type of multiculturalism in which the once-secular centre has been seriously eroded.

Conference Program: Zionism in the 21st Century, February 17-18 2013, Brandeis University

“Zionism in the Twenty-First Century”

Brandeis University, February 2013

Israel Studies and Jewish Studies in America

 

February 17-18 (President’s Day Weekend)

Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

 

Announcing an upcoming conference, "Zionism in the Twenty-First Century:

Contemporary Perspectives from and about Israel"

 

An academic conference on Sunday, February 17 and Monday, February 18, 2013

at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The conference is sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

 

 For more information please contact scis@brandeis.edu or call 781736-2154

 

Conference Chairs:

S. Ilan Troen, Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies and Director, Schusterman Center, Brandeis University

Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Family Professor in Jewish Studies and

Professor of Government, Smith College

 

Conference Overview:

The conference will explore what Zionism has meant and might continue

to mean for the development of Israel’s highly sophisticated

and multicultural society.  Academics have done a great deal to understand

Zionist ideas and policies in their early historical context. We have paid

less attention, however, to how Zionism has continued to influence Israel

through more recent years of military dangers, economic upheaval, and

social and cultural transformations. Less still have we explored the

potential role of Zionism in the future of Israel. The leading scholars in

the field will discuss their views regarding the continuing relevance and

role of Zionism.

 

Conference Speakers:

 

*Keynote Address: Anita Shapira* *– *(Tel-Aviv University, Ruben Merenfeld

Professor of the Study of Zionism and head of the Weizmann Institute for

the Study of Zionism)

 

*Zionist Theory*

 

*Allan Arkush- *(SUNY, Binghamton) “Cultural Zionism Today and Tomorrow”

 

*Rachel Fish- *(Brandeis University) “Visions for the Construction of the

State of Israel”

 

*Chair and Commentator: Eugene Sheppard *(Brandeis University)

 

*Culture: Literature and Music*

 

*Alan Mintz*- (Jewish Theological Seminary) “Jewish Literature in Israel

and Israeli Literature in America: Some Reflections”

 

*Edwin Seroussi*- (Hebrew University) “Zionist Soundscapes: The Sonic Past

of the Israeli Nation and Its Future”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Rachel Rojanski *(Brown University)

 

*Cultural Orientations and Dilemmas*

 

*Tuvia Friling*- (Ben-Gurion University) “The Evolution of Holocaust Memory”

 

*Aziza Khazoom*- (Indiana University and Hebrew University) “Internal

Ethnic Relations and Orientation of Israeli Culture”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Maoz Azaryahu *(Tel Aviv University)

 

*Politics and Law*

 

*Donna Robinson Divine*- (Smith College) “Zionism and the New Politics of

Authenticity in Israel”

 

*Suzanne Last Stone*- (Yeshiva University and Shalem Center) “Legal

Discourse – Law and Human Rights”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Pnina Lahav *(Boston University)

 

*Economics and Land*

 

*Kobi (Jacob) Metzer-* (Hebrew University) “Economy and Society in Israel:

Past Experience, Current Issues, and Future Prospects”

 

*Ilan Troen*- (Brandeis University) “Competing Concepts of Land in Eretz

Israel”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Alan Dowty *(Notre Dame University)

 

*Israel’s Relationship with its Neighbors and the Palestinian Arab Citizens*

 

*Elie Rekhess-* (Northwestern University)“Jews and Arabs in Israel:

Reconsidering the 1948 Paradigm”

 

*Asher Susser*- (Tel Aviv University) “Israel’s Place in the Middle East”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Shai Feldman *(Brandeis University)

 

*Religion and Society*

 

*Eliezer Don-Yehiya*- (Bar-Ilan University) “The Political Transformation

of Religious Zionism”

 

*Yoel Finkelman*- (Bar-Ilan University) “The Ambivalent Ultra-Orthodox Jew”

 

Chair and Commentator:* Yehudah Mirsky *(Brandeis University)

 

Cite: Shlaim, Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel

Shlaim, Avi. “Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel.” European Judaism 45.1 (2012): 28-35.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berghahn/ejud/2012/00000045/00000001/art00005

 

Abstract

Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.

TOC: Israel Studies Review, 27.1 (Summer 2012)

Announcement: TOC: Israel Studies Review, 27.1 (Summer 2012)

 

Israel Studies Review

Volume 27 • Issue 1 • 2012

http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/isr/

EDITORS’ NOTE

FORUM

Introduction: The ‘Religionization’ of Israeli Society (pp. 1-3) Yoram Peri

1. More Jewish than Israeli (and Democratic)? (pp. 4 – 9) Tamar Hermann

2. Yes, Israel Is Becoming More Religious (pp. 10 – 15)

Shlomo Fischer

3. Religious Pressure will Increase in the Future (pp.16 – 20) Asher Cohen and Bernard Susser

4. Seculars Jews: From Proactive Agents to Defensive Players (pp. 21- 26) Nissim Leon

5. A Need for an Epistemological Turn (pp. 27- 30) Yaacov Yadgar

ARTICLES

1. Inverted First and Second-Order Elections: The Israeli Case (pp. 31- 54) David Nachmias, Maoz Rosenthal, Hani Zubida

2. Russian Israelis and Religion: What Has Changed after Twenty Years in Israel? (pp. 55 – 77)

Larissa Remennick and Anna Prashizky

3. Avoidance of Military Service in Israel: Exploring the Role of Discourse (pp. 78 – 97)

Oren Livio

4. Wedding Ceremony, Religion and Tradition: The Shertok Family Debate, 1922 (pp. 98 – 124) Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman

 

REVIEW ESSAYS

1. Gender on the Hebrew Bookshelf (pp. 125 – 141) Hanna Herzog

2. Israel’s Palestinian Minority: From ‘Quietism’ to Ethno-nationalism (pp. 142 – 160) Jonathan Mendilow

 

BOOK REVIEWS

1. Jacob Shamir and Khalil Shikaki, Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion: The Public Imperative in the Second Intifada Review by Murad Idris (pp. 161 – 163)

2. Eytan Gilboa and Efraim Inbar, eds., US-Israeli Relations in a New Era: Issues and Challenges after 9/11 Review by David Albert (pp. 163 – 166)

3. Uri Cohen and Nissim Leon, The Herut Movement’s Central Committee and the Mizrahim, 1965-1977: From Patronizing Paternship to Competitive Partnership Review by Yitzhak Dahan (pp. 167 – 170)

4. Sharon Aronson-Lehavi, ed., Wanderers and Other Israeli Plays Review by Nancy E. Berg (pp. 170 – 173)

5. Shalom Goldman, Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land Review by Barbara U. Meyer (pp. 173 – 175)

 

INDEX OF PREVIOUS ISSUES

Israel Studies Review Index, Fall 1985 to Winter 2011 (pp. 176 – 208)

Cite: Kaplan, Enforcement of Divorce Judgments in Jewish Courts in Israel

Kaplan, Yehiel S. “Enforcement of Divorce Judgments in Jewish Courts in Israel: The Interaction Between Religious and Constitutional Law.” Middle East Law and Governance 4.1 (2012): 1-68.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/melg/2012/00000004/00000001/art00001

Abstract

In the State of Israel, Rabbinical courts are granted sole jurisdiction in the adjudication of marriage and divorce of Jews. In these courts, the husband presents the divorce writ of Jews, the get, to his wife on the occasion of their divorce at the end of the adjudication process. When Jews sue for divorce in Rabbinical courts, the courts occasionally determine that the man should grant his wife a get or that the wife should accept the get granted by her husband. Sometimes one spouse disobeys the ruling. Although the Rabbinical courts occasionally impose sanctions in an attempt to enforce divorce judgments, they are generally reluctant to do so. The implementation of inappropriate measures can lead to the conclusion that a given divorce is in fact a legally ineffectual coerced divorce. Consequently, the Jewish courts occasionally delay the imposition of these sanctions out of concern that inappropriate coercive measures invalidate the get, rendering the couple still legally married. The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled, though, that the Rabbinical courts in Israel should act in light of the constitutional principles in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom. However, the Supreme Court of Israel has not clearly or specifically addressed the balance between the rights and obligations of the husband and wife in the process of enforcing divorce judgments, neither before nor after the enactment of the of the two important constitutional Basic Laws enacted in 1992. A detailed policy analysis of the sanctions against recalcitrant spouses in Rabbinical courts in Israel—in light of the principles of Jewish and constitutional law in the country—has not yet been undertaken. The aim of this essay is therefore to present the appropriate formula pertaining to the imposition of sanctions against recalcitrant spouses given the principles of Jewish and constitutional law. The formula is presented in light of constitutional law in Israel. However, it is also applicable in other countries with similar constitutional legislation, such as Canada, where legislation sometimes allows for the civil enforcement of Jewish divorce.

ToC: Israel Affairs 17,2 (2011)

Israel Affairs: Volume 17 Issue 2 is now available online at informaworldTM.
This new issue contains the following articles:

Original Articles

Israel’s prime ministers and the Arabs: Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin

Pages 177 – 193

Author: Yossi Goldstein

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547273

Transjordan’s attack on the Etzion Bloc during the 1948 war

Pages 194 – 207

Author: Ronen Yitzhak

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547274

The dynamics of state-religion issues on the agenda in Israel: the case of the right to die with dignity (passive euthanasia)

Pages 208 – 223

Author: Michal Neubauer-Shani

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547275

How many Palestinian Arab refugees were there?

Pages 224 – 246

Author: Efraim Karsh

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547276

Is there a Palestinian civil war? The concept and the impact

Pages 247 – 258

Author: Hussein Sirriyeh

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547277

The use of parliamentary questions in the Israeli parliament, 1992-96

Pages 259 – 277

Author: Osnat Akirav

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547278

Discrimination vs. permissible preferential treatment regarding University of Haifa dormitories: or when Cicero met Adalah in the cafeteria

Pages 278 – 295

Author: Nahshon Perez

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547279

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Pages 296 – 312

Author: David Rodman

DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2011.547280

New Publication: Lehmann and Sibzehner, Shas (in Hebrew)

David Lehmann and Batia Siebzehner, Shas as a Challenge. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2010 (in Hebrew).

 

See English version:

David Lehmann and Batia Siebzehner, Remaking Israeli Judaism. The Challenge of Shas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Conference: Israel as a Jewish State

Israel as a Jewish State

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland

March 7-8, 2010

URL for Registraton: http://www.israelstudies.umd.edu/conference/index.html

Ever since Theodore Herzl’s time, argument has raged over the meaning of the “Jewish State”. Much of it has focused on the appropriate role of religion in the state’s laws and practices.

With the growth of religiosity in the state and the sharp increase in the number of religious citizens – neither development foreseen by Israel’s founders – the arguments have become fiercer. Different streams of Jewish practice – Haredi, Modern Orthodox, conservative, Reform, and “secular” compete either for recognition or to delegitimize their rivals.

Meanwhile, many citizens define themselves as simply “Israeli” rather than “Jewish”.

This conference will address the provocative themes of the nature and role of democracy, identity and Jewish religion in the Israeli context. How can Israel balance the competing claims of its Jewish self-definition with a commitment to democratic pluralism? Moreover, how can it best choose among frequently contradictory religious and social values, a path that all its citizens can live with?


Program:

Sunday March 7

Tyser Auditorium,
Van Munching Hall (Smith School of Business),
University of Maryland, College Park.



8:30am-9:00am
Breakfast (coffee and pastries) and registration



9:00am-9:15am
Welcome and opening



9:15am-11:00am
Session 1:

Is Israel “ the Jewish State”?

How the avowed Jewish character of Israel influences – or should influence – the politics and government of the State

  • Professor Shlomo Fischer,
    Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem
  • Professor Shlomo Hasson,
    The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Dr. Bernard Avishai,
    The Hebrew University, Author, Jerusalem
  • Profesor Amiel Ungar,
    Journalist, Tekoa, West Bank



11:00am-11:15am
Break



11:15am-12:00pm
Keynote address

  • Professor Yuli Tamir,
    Member of Knesset and former Minister of Education
    ,
    Tel Aviv



12:15pm-1:45pm
Lunch



1:45pm-3:30pm
Session 2:

Do Jews in Israel Have Religious Freedom?
The Issue of Pluralism

The competing goals and values of semi-official religious Orthodoxy and those of secular and non-orthodox religious groups and interests

  • Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum,
    Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Jerusalem
  • Rabbi Avi Shafran,
    Agudath Israel, New York
  • Professor Bernard Cooperman,
    University of Maryland
  • Chair: Professor Eric Zakim,
    University of Maryland



3:30pm-4:00pm
Break



4:00pm-5:45pm
Session 3:

Religion and Democracy in Israel:
Are Judaism and Democratic Values Compatible?

Are citizens’ rights unacceptably diminished by Israel’s Jewish character?

  • Dr. Aviad Hacohen,
    Van Leer Institute and The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Professor Yoram Peri,
    Gildenhorn Institute, University of Maryland
  • Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt,
    Israel Advocacy Office of the Rabbinical Assembly, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Phyllis Chesler
    Psychologist and Author. New York



5:45pm-6:00pm
Break



6:00pm-7:00pm

Annual Elizabeth and Richard Dubin Lecture
and Ambassador’s Reception

  • His Excellency Michael Oren,
    Ambassador of Israel to the United States



7:00pm-8:00pm
Reception


Monday March 8

Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars,
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C.



Noon – 2:30pm
Session 4:

Luncheon
Religion and the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Religious values and ideologies – Jewish, Muslim, Christian – and their consequences for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

  • Professor Yuli Tamir,
    Member of Knesset and former Israeli Minister of Education, Tel Aviv
  • Professor Shibley Telhami,
    Anwar Sadat Chair, University of Maryland
  • Professor Edward Luttwak,
    Center for Strategic and International Studies,
    Washington, D.C.
  • Chair: Professor Yoram Peri,
    Gildenhorn Institute, University of Maryland