Schneider Aviel

MembersWho Owns God?

In Israel, the claim to God is part of the political debate, for it is in the halls of the Knesset where the Jewish character of the state is determined

| Topics: Judaism, Jewish State
Reform movement activists clash with security officials outside the Western Wall. Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Israel is not an ordinary state, religion and politics are integrated here, which is also the case in Islamic countries. In contrast to them, however, Israel is probably the only country in which democracy is also possible at the same time. Of course one can appreciate Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East, but reality shows that it’s not so easy to reconcile religion and democracy.

During his speech at a plenary session in December, the ultra-Orthodox Jew and former Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman sharply attacked his fellow lawmaker, Reform Rabbi Gilad Kariv from the Labor Party: “The priest sitting here in our midst is the best proof that Israel is taking money those [Reform Jews] who are destroying the Jewish religion in America,” the Hasidic Jew raged in reference to Reform Jews in Knesset. “Reform Jew, you are falsifying Judaism. You are not a rabbi. Take the yarmulke off your head.”

Litzman’s party ally, Rabbi Meir Porush, could not contain himself and had to add his two cents as well: “This...

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