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secularism

  • ‘Religion and politics’ in Israel: The mythology of Jewish nationalism

    The State of Israel has never attempted to build a national identity that would be ‘liberated ’from Jewish ‘religion.’ Instead, it has focused on the construction of a national identity distinct in one critical respect: it is reserved for Jews only. By Yaacov Yadgar One of the more controversial legislative bills being currently pushed forward by the ruling coalition in Israel, a proposed ‘Basic Law:  Israel—the Nation-State of the Jewish People’, seeks to enshrine and ensure, constitutionally so, the State of Israel’s ‘Jewish identity’ as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Several aspects of the proposed bill draw immediate attention: first,…

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  • Will surprising results stop a status-quo Netanyahu-led government?

    Despite the surprising weakness of the Right-ultra-Orthodox bloc, the final result of the elections, according to exit polls, is still likely to be a status-quo Netanyahu-led government. Why? Because the big winner in this election, media personality Yair Lapid, is a vapid centrist who is likely to join Netanyahu’s coalition and make little noise on policy -- either on Israel-Palestine, or any other topic The exit-poll results are in, and Noam has an excellent summary of the headline figures. A lot of the attention, as actual results pour in through the night, will be focused on the balance between the…

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  • Dispute over wine festival in Be'er Sheva mosque: 'Muslim rage' or Israeli hypocrisy?

    Controversy erupted after local Arab residents complained that the Salut Wine and Beer Festival would be held on the grounds of a mosque-turned-museum. The public outcry from the festival-goers reveals both a fear of the 're-Islamification of Be'er Sheva,' as well as a liberal approach that takes for granted the ways in which the state religion affects the daily lives of its non-Jewish citizens. By Nasser Rego There has been some brouhaha about Arabs whining about wine. The sixth annual Salut Wine and Beer Festival was scheduled to take place in Be'er Sheva on September 5-6. Attendees were promised a smorgasbord of…

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  • State's attempt to challenge radical rabbis so meek it will backfire

    The state's meek attempt to detain two prominent rabbis who've been evading police summons for weeks only underscores how helpless the state has become before the decentralised rabbinical church. This morning, police briefly detained prominent rabbi Yaakov Yossef on suspicion of incitement by virtue of giving his blessing to the notorious King's Torah tractate, which deals with the permissibility of killing unarmed Gentiels, including children, during conflict . Yossef is the son of Shas spiritual leader and one of the pre-eminent Halachic thinkers of the 20th century, Ovadia Yossef; he is also a former Shas MK and a Jerusalem municipal…

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