The Jewish democratic state
Yoel Meltzer
Published: 22.09.10, 00:02
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1. There only a slight ambiguity...
Jonathan   (09.22.10)
The only thing you are correct in saying is that Israel will never allow the Arab populus taking over the country in a "one man-one vote" system. Israel couldn't be clearer. Israel a safe haven for the Jews; however, other religions have the same rights as in any democracy. The minorities need to understand where they live however. In Saudi Arabia, Jews would be considered secondary citizens- and granted no rights at all-- assuming of course, they aren't murdered first. Don't complain about democracy. When it comes to the ME, Israel is the best you can get.
2. A unique problem?
Geoff ,   London, UK   (09.22.10)
Don't many European countries face essentially the same problem? For example, how would the indigenous British react if the size of the Muslim population in the country grew dramatically?
3. So France Norway Japan Czech are not democratic?!?
ben yaacov ,   herzliya il   (09.22.10)
There is no contradiction, otherwise no state built on a common national/ethnic identity can be democratic. France, Czech, Japan, Korea, Norway. Finland... Stupid and vapid argument!
4. Jewish democratic state
David Owen ,   Beer Sheav   (09.22.10)
The premise of Yoel Meltzer article is flawed. There is no necessity to make the choice between a Jewish & a democratic state. As time goes on, the ambiguity will be forged and defined by our choices. Ours is an existential definition. It is neither a pure democracy nor a 'totally' Jewish state.
5. "Jewish Minority State" with 8.5 M Arab
Steve Benassi ,   Silver Bay, MN USA   (09.22.10)
... facts on the ground in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and refugees from 1948. Arabs outnumber the 5.6 mostly immigrant Jews from Europe, Russia, and the ME. Ethnic cleansing by the Zionist should not be rewarded with a "Jewish Minority State".
6. Good article, there is no question
David   (09.22.10)
The two terms conflict at their core. This is actually the cenral question facing Israel today, not what others recofnize or accept it as such but their own definition of the state. Both Jewish and totaly democatic do not go hand in hand.
7. One democratic state
Palestinian refugee   (09.22.10)
Well, The writer presented the problem very well but when you read his last paragraph presenting his view for the only solution as the Jewish state. This means that he probably doesn't understand his own words he wrote from the beginning. When he admits that there is a large Arab minority, how can this minority live in a Jewish state, provided that we, the refugees, will not return, which is impossible. I thought that I'll read at the end after his excellent analysis that the only solution would be a one democratic state for all its residents but was surprised with his conclusion. I feel that most of the Israelis believe in that solution. We have to start talking to each other and find a way to establish together a one democratic state for all its Jews, Muslims and Christians people.
8. EU is democratic, soon will be turned into Islamic EU !!
democrazy go to hell   (09.22.10)
If being democratic means giving the enemies within the permit to joing the Arab enemies outside the country and work against the country, through bycott and even propagand for racist Arab enemies of Israel, soon Arabs will have more power, and when they have power, they will do to Israel the same thing that is happening in Arab countries. They won't hesitate to kill everyone and stablish an Islamic khalifat.
9. Can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
Alexander ,   NJ, USA   (09.22.10)
How would you define a Jewish State in contrast to a Democratic Jewish State? What would be the difference?
10. To: No 1: Israel, The Closest you get to a "Democracy" in ME
Raed ,   Jersualem, Palestine   (09.22.10)
I think you maybe on to a new catchy slogan for Israel, we are a democracy....but..
11. hey, dummy! what does "nation-state" mean?
dante ,   uk   (09.22.10)
try to sell your argument to the chinese, poles, koreans, japanese, czechs, magyars, norsk, russians, irish, franks, english, etc., etc., etc. meltzer, another clueless clown.
12. The answer
Ricardo Macher ,   Karnei Shomron IL   (09.22.10)
Ia very simple, between being democratic or Jewish, I prefer to be Jewish! That's not Barak's idea, no matter which one of them you choose! Israel is the country of the Jews and this is the land of Israel!!!
13. Germany is Christian and Democratic...
yael ,   Israel   (09.22.10)
Many countries are both Democratic and Christian. Germany is a Christian country. All shops are legally required to be closed on every Saint's day for instance. They are required to be closed on Sunday. It doesn't mean there aren't any non-Christian citizens and it doesn't mean those non-Christians have fewer rights. In Israel we are even more of democracy. We, for instance, allow Arab shops to be open on Shabbat rather than, as in Germany and in other places, forcing the non-Christians to conform in an economic sense to Christian religious observance. Israel is far from unique in this respect.
14. Israel never has been a democracy, but a theocracy in waitin
Alex   (09.22.10)
It's not the Israeli government that's rules Israel, but the settlers and rabbinate, that's quite apparent to anyone.
15. Jewish? Democratic?
moshe ,   jerusalem   (09.22.10)
I don't think Israel is either "Jewish" (except for some symbols) or "democratic" (except for meaningless elections). But the article is thoughtful. What needs to be emphasized is that Israel is, was, and will be the national and historical homeland of the Jewish People.
16. are European countries e.g. England? Christian by definition
elianna ,   Jerusalem   (09.22.10)
chaim gaĺil ,   Prague   (09.22.10)
18. Yoel Meltzer's Op-Ed re Israel cannot be Jewish and Democrat
Yardena Anat Even   (09.22.10)
Please correct his errors as it is true Israel can be both according to Judge Barak as per this link. I could not paste the whole commentary of his as it is longer than 4000 words alotted here http://www.myjewishlearning.com/israel/Contemporary_Life/Politics/Supreme_Court/Democratic_and_Jewish_State.shtml
19. i believe
hala ,   jerusalem   (09.22.10)
that seocracy is older than any religion but not older than faith .it was from the begining when adam was created the evil lost its faith but he had the democracy to live forever and when adam lost his faith lisitnedeto the evil he had the punishment ..her in israil they can put the democracy by respecting laws .i think there are not respecting the laws to evry one . but religion is not changed by laws and by punishment . so it must be democracy first and the religion must not be to get benifits from it ...i think faith is presented in all religions it is the oldest then the democracy lastly the religion
20. Can "Israel" become a democratic ?!!
Salma ,   Palestine   (09.22.10)
yes and in one case: When "Israel" recognizes it is built on the ruins of another people, and begin to correct this historical error, then we will believe that the "Israelis" are already real democrats, Otherwise, in our view "Israel" is the state of occupation and colonization no more, no less ! Occupation , racial discrimination and religion-based classification of the people is the antithesis of democracy, this is what we have learned in schools and universities.
21. Democracy has brought Europe to its knees
michael redbourn ,   Arad - Israel   (09.22.10)
Europe is now faced with either giving up its democracies or becoming Islamicized and each country there will have to make its own choice. Democracy in the US is also causing major problems. Better to be a Jewish state. The average age of a democracy is only around 250 years after which it collapses, so let's not make democracy a golden calf.
22. Democracy & Judaism, European & US Christianity go together
Esther ,   Amsterdam   (09.22.10)
The Netherlands is a Christian nation. Only in the last decade shops are allowed to be open on SOME Sundays a year, not all Sundays, even though there are some exceptions to this rule, which are disputed in Parliament constantly. Just like opening shops on Shabbat is in Israel. Christian holidays are school holidays. Every year Jewish children must request days off for theirs as a favour. Still. no one in their right mind can deny that Holland is a democracy. This is because everyone can pursue the Dutch dream if that dream is studying at every school, building non-Christian prayer houses and having a meaningful career. The same applies for the Israeli Arabs. They can chase the Israeli dream of living and learning and building mosques and earning. Universities are open for Arabs and Arabs use them. Israel has Arab doctors in and lawyers. Israel's health care and courts of law are equal for Arabs and Jews.There is only one Jewish state in the world and so many Arab ones. People who don't like living under Jewish rule can leave, just as Dutch Jews are free to leave the Netherlands. Jews are not welcome among Arabs the whole world over, so the Jewish state is doing exceptionally well given the challenge that even a Jewish state seems unwelcome in our world. Joel Meltzer should know better!
23. All countries have this problem
Jacob Erickson ,   Holon, Israel   (09.22.10)
No country can be purely democratic because of consolidated interests. Wether these interests come from a religious, national, or corporate standpoint, some set of beliefs will always influence the vote. But in the end, we can always say that at least our democracy isn't like the great democratic republic of Iran.
24. Civic vs National rights
Menachem ,   Israel   (09.22.10)
The writer of this article obviously doesn't understand the meaning of a democratic nation-state. Democracy is about equal CIVIC rights, not national rights. Democratic nation-states like Israel, Denmark and Holland are characterized by equal CIVIC rights for all citizens and NATIONAL rights for the respective national majority which founded the state, in these examples Jews, Danes and the Dutch. Only ignorant or biased people see a contradiction between the two mutually inclusive concepts.
25. Jewish state with some democratic aspects!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PERIOD!!!!!!!   (09.22.10)
26. What kind of Jewish?
Yehudi ,   Jerusalem, Israel   (09.22.10)
If it was a Jewish state would it be orthodox, liberal, conservative or reform?
27. Yoels False Premise
Yossi ,   Israel   (09.22.10)
is that Democratic and Jewish is a contradiction in terms. Pure democracy in the sense he implies cannot exist in any nation state. From the ancient Greeks who invented the term and only gave the vote to some of the members of the state to todays USA democratic values never have been applied in the absolute and purest sense as a number of writers here testify. That the state of Israel can be Jewish and apply Democratic values is not a contradiction in terms but a fact of our history. Democracy with all of its imperfections is the glue that currently holds together the extreemly diverse Jewish population of the State not to mention the other goups that live under its soveriegnty. While Democracy and Jewish may be in tension in the Jewish State if its understood that applying democracy in a purest sense is not possible then the Balance generated by the tension between the two can become a source of strength not weakness.
28. Jewish national home
Ilan ,   Ariel   (09.22.10)
Israel is the home of the Jewish people. That is enshrined in the Law of Return. A natural consequence is that the State has an obligation to respect Jewish tradition and practice. This doesn't contradict Israel also being the home of non-Jewish citizens or of respecting Moslem practice. When Netanyahu speaks of a Jewish democratic state he is making reference to the Law of Return mainly that Israel will continue in the future to be a Jewish national home. This is also what the Palestinians have and will continue to oppose. They do not recognize Zionism as legitimate and never will.
mary for JEWS ,   singapore   (09.22.10)
IF ISRAEL ISN'T A DEMOCRATIC STATE? see whether Hamas or Fatah's papers allow Jews to talkback, my toes can laugh!
30. they author is correct ... stop worshipping democracy
naftali ,   jerudalem   (09.22.10)
#3 is correct also... democracy is mauable, it is not an absolute. these other democratic countriesare proof ... but foremost we need to udnerstand that we are a jewish state.... with limited democracy....
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