A Democratic Jewish State, How and Why

The question of whether Israel can be a democratic Jewish state, a liberal Jewish state, is the most important question with which the country must wrestle, and it can have no answer until we arrive at an understanding of what a Jewish state is. A great deal of pessimism is in the air. Many people attach to the adjective “Jewish” ultra-nationalistic and theocratic meanings, and then make the argument that a Jewish democratic state is a contradiction in terms, an impossibility. On the left and on the right, among the elites and the masses, people are giving up on the idea that both elements, the particular and the universal, may co-exist equally and prominently in the identity of the state. This way of thinking is partly responsible for the recent convulsions in Israeli politics, for the zealotry and the despair that run through it. Yet it is an erroneous and

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