There is a constant tension between Orthodox Jews and the secular society in Israel over the separation of state and religion. Orthodox Jews believe the nation should adhere to Jewish Law (Halacha), while secular Jews push back with the argument that Israel, a democratic state, should not be controlled by religion.
With 13% of Israel’s population being Orthodox Jews pulling to one side and 40% seculars pulling in the opposite direction, logic would imply that the stronger would win this tug-of-war, but not so.
For decades, Orthodox Jews have enjoyed political and societal power implementing laws in favor of Rabbinic beliefs, such as prohibiting the sale of unleavened food during Passover, outlawing public transportation on the Sabbath, and control over civil marriages.
In an unprecedented turn of events with the rise of Naftali Bennet as Prime Minister in 2021, the Jewish Orthodox parties fell from power, leaving important matters of state in the hands of liberal politicians, and the Orthodox community in upheaval.
Many secular Jews see Jewish law and traditions as primitive, noninclusive and sexist.
Become a Member
Read all member content
Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.
Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel
Connect with Israel, right from your home.
Lift up the voice of truth and hope
Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.
Already a member? Login here.