Slouching toward theocracy: Tehran and Tel Aviv may have something in common

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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A friend of mine who graduated from journalism school in Iran several years ago (and is now living and working in the U.S.) recently returned from a trip back there, only to learn this:

Iranian University Drops 13 Humanities Majors

“The Etemaad newspaper reports that the country’s top humanities university will only offer courses in law, Arabic language and literature, Persian language and literature, theology and Islamic studies, ECO insurance and tourism administration.

“Journalism, political science, sociology, history, philosophy, communications, pedagogy, accounting, administration, education administration, pedagogy for special needs, early childhood education and economics have been omitted from the offerings at Allameh Tabatabai University . . . .

“The humanities became a target after Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, blamed the widespread protests that followed the 2009 presidential elections partly on the millions of students enrolled in humanities departments across the country. He said the courses need to be taught by professors committed to Islam, which are lacking in university faculties.

“Minister of Education Kamran Daneshjoo has also announced that the curricula in all humanities department are being reviewed with regard to Islamic values.”

Once again, Iran’s leadership is imposing religious orthodoxy on its people, ostensibly as a moral order in keeping with the “will of the people,” but in actuality as a way to further stifle free-thinking individuals who might contest their grip on power.

Of course, it is impossible we could ever see something like this happening in Israel. Iran only pretends to be a democracy, while Israel is a democracy! Right?

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

If the Israeli right’s newly proposed Basic Law to define Israel as a Jewish state does become law, they will certainly have the Iranian model to crib off of in making civil society conform to religious orthodoxy. Not that the Israeli right needs any pointers: the Basic Law is a witch’s brew of frightening policy proposals, but its key tenet can be boiled down to this: from this moment on, preserving Israel’s “Jewish character” trumps Democracy. The Basic Law is a witch’s brew of frightening policy proposals, but its key tenet can be boiled down to this: from this moment on, preserving Israel’s “Jewish character” trumps Democracy. Or as MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), the bill’s drafter, explained to Haaretz, the law is designed to provide courts with the legal framework to rule in favor of “the state as the Jewish nation state … in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character.” It also stipulates that Jewish law — or Jewish-style Sharia, to put a rather sharp point on it — should serve as the the guiding influence for the legislature and the courts in instances where no other law exists. As the bill states: “If the court sees a legal question requiring a ruling, and finds no solution in legislation, custom or clear analogy, it will rule in light of the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace in Jewish heritage.”

One of the main groups behind this Basic Law, the neoconservative Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), has close ties to the like-minded Hudson Institute think tank in the U.S. and has worked with Im Tirtzu, among other organizations on the right, to demand the removal of “radical leftist” “post-Zionist” content from liberal arts programs (it already is happening, it seems – at Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Universities, for starters) and allow the Knesset to conduct political inquiries against Israeli nonprofit groups whose work has riled the right (B’tselem, for example).

MK Elkin, readers may recall, recently proposed a bill that would give greater conservative oversight of judicial appointments to a committee dominated by Yisrael Beitenu MKs. He was also one of the chief architects of the recently-passed Boycott bill as well as several other legislative stink-bombs (including the bill requiring NGOs to disclose their foreign funding) which are still pending.

With the enshrinement of “Jewishness” in a Basic Law (and so far there’s every indication the bill will pass), Israel is on course to take another giant step toward theocracy.  So what will happen to all those Israelis who would rather not conform to the right’s (and it’s allied rabbinical legal reviewers‘) position, be they Muslims, Christians, Druzes – or even non-orthodox Jews?

Reform Jews have noted (albeit in an entirely different context from this debate) that the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in 1986 that sectarian disputes among Jews cannot be allowed “to drive a wedge into the people who dwell in Zion, and divide it into two peoples, Jews and Israelis,” but this legislation could open the door to such a reality – in addition to perpetuating instutional discrimination and disenfranchisement of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

Fortunately, the bill’s backers have already considered these concerns: “The state is permitted to allow a community, including people of another faith or nation, to maintain a separate community,” reads the legislation. Well, crisis averted! After all, no matter how second-class an Arab (or Jew) might be treated in Israel, flying Israel second-class is better than flying Arab any-class.

But what specific examples of “justice,” “integrity” and “peace” do the bill’s backers have in mind for those who don’t possess sufficient Jewishness in Israel? A general idea might be gained from comments MK Elkin has made in the past: “In the struggle for Gush Etzion in 1948, the Jews fought for a Jewish Jerusalem. In the present struggle for the hills of Judea and Samaria . . . the struggle is for the future of the Jewish state, no more and no less. For there is no room on these hills for two states. It’s either us or them. And so, each hill says ‘We are here’ – and if us, it’s us, and not them.”

Perhaps Foreign Minister Lieberman is looking for sites to locate that “separate community” as we speak?

Postscript: The journalism program at Allameh Tabatabai University is (was) Iran’s oldest collegiate journalism program. A public university, Allameh Tabatabai University is regarded within Iran as the country’s top scientific institution.

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.

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  1. annie
    August 10, 2011, 10:37 pm

    excellent read paul, thank you very much. i’m going back to mine the links some more.

    • annie
      August 10, 2011, 10:42 pm

      oh, and thanks for this link : “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” i missed it before.

      • annie
        August 10, 2011, 10:54 pm

        from your ‘explained to haaretz’ link about dropping arabic as an official language.

        Another clause states that Jewish law will be a source of inspiration to the legislature and the courts.

        This would mean that MKs would be asked to legislate in the spirit of Jewish law, and courts to adjudicate by it in cases where no other express law exists.

        what exactly does ‘jewish law’ entail. i am asking because UCBerkeley has a new Institute for Jewish Law. maybe they should open a department for sharia law too. this is a state funded institution.

        February 24, 2011
        UC Berkeley Gets Institute for Jewish Law and Israel

        Less than a year after the student government at the University of California, Berkeley fell one vote short of pushing through a bill to divest from American companies providing materials to the Israeli military, UC Berkeley’s School of Law on Thursday, Feb. 24, announced the launch of a new institute to advance the study of Jewish Law and of Israel on campus.

        With the help of a $750,000 seed gift from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the new Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society will advance academic work in these fields through coursework, grants and support to faculty and through public forums.

        “The law school has deep strengths in both the study of Jewish law—and religious law more generally—and also focuses on the study of Israel,” said Kenneth A. Bamberger, an assistant professor and the institute’s faculty director, who has been teaching courses in Jewish law and ethics at the UC Berkeley law school for the past two years. “As more people got involved, it seemed like a real contribution could be made to those engaged in the discourse around Jewish law and Israel on campus.”

      • Paul Mutter
        August 10, 2011, 10:59 pm

        It says a lot that the institute’s name actually separates Jewish from Israeli Law. Kind of suggests where things are going back in Israel.

        And at Berkeley, *every* law program is Sharia Law program. Like how parents say “every day is children’s day.” It’s Berkeley. They’re West Coast IslamoMaoists.

      • annie
        August 10, 2011, 11:05 pm

        It says a lot that the institute’s name actually separates Jewish from Israeli Law.

        that was written in february. a lot has happened w/israeli law since february.

      • Hostage
        August 10, 2011, 11:24 pm

        To borrow a phrase from Jabotinsky, there are no meaningful differences between our “militarists” and our “vegetarians.” Left-wing retired President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, has said exactly the same things about the state of Israeli constitutional law as right-wing MK Elkin.

        I’ve pointed out many times before that the purpose of the Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty is to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state (article 1). A law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose is permitted to violate the provisions of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (article 8)
        link to knesset.gov.il

        Barak has written

        A “Jewish state” is, then, a state of the Jewish people. “The natural right of the Jewish people is to be independent in their own sovereign state.” [16] This is the state to which every Jew has the right to move and to become a citizen; the ingathering of exiles is one of its basic values. [17] A “Jewish state” is a state whose history is integrated and intertwined with the history of the Jewish people, whose main language is Hebrew, and whose holy days reflect the Jewish heritage. [18] A “Jewish state” is a state that perpetuates the memory of the Jews massacred in the Holocaust, and that was designed to be “the solution to the Jewish problem, resulting from a lack of both a homeland and independence, by renewing the Jewish state in the land of Israel.” [19] A “Jewish state” is a state which cultivates Jewish culture and Jewish education. [20] A “Jewish state” is the “realization of the aspiration of generations for the redemption of Israel” [21] is a state in which the values of “freedom, justice, equity, and peace of Israel’s heritage,” [22] are its values. A “Jewish state” is a state whose values are also drawn from its religious tradition, a tradition in which the Bible is the most basic book, and the prophets of Israel are the foundations of its ethics. [23] A “Jewish state” is a state in which the values of the Torah of Israel, the values of the Jewish heritage, and the values of the Halacha(religious law) are among its most basic values. [24]
        .
        This interpretation of “the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish state,” leads to the conclusion that the values of the State of Israel have two primary aspects. One is the Zionist aspect. The other is the aspect of heritage, or tradition. The Zionist aspect is expressed, for example, in the right of every Jew to move to Israel, and become an Israeli citizen – a right guaranteed in the Law of Return (1950). [25] The heritage aspect is expressed, for example, in the law which states that a gap (lacunae) in legislation, which cannot be filled by analogy, [26] must be completed according to the “principles of freedom, justice, equity, and peace of Israel’s heritage.” [27]

        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        So the only new facet of Elkin’s proposal is that it would drop Arabic as one of the official languages. There already is a law that requires the use of the Torah and Halacha to fill any gaps in the law.

  2. davidsc
    August 10, 2011, 10:46 pm

    Israel’s Declaration of Independence (a covenantal document) has been given quasi-constitutional status by the courts in lieu of a formal bill of rights, since it specifies the basic principles of the nation. In particular new lawmakers will need to struggle with these inviolable statements:

    WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

    WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

    • annie
      August 10, 2011, 10:59 pm

      what date were those appeals made david? may 15/ 48? “the onslaught launched against us ” do they mean after they ethnically cleansed over 200 villages and 400000 people? that onslaught? nothing like codifying your victimhood status into your quasi-constitutional status.

      also, how can you have a quasi-constitutional status when you don’t even have a constitution?

      • davidsc
        August 11, 2011, 12:51 am

        Annie, the origins of the Palestinian problem are dealt exquisitely by Efraim Karsh in ‘Palestine Betrayed’, an astounding book that blows the ‘new historians’ completely out of the water.
        Otherwise I am saying that a foundation document such as Israel’s Declaration of Independence will hopefully protect against the infiltration of power from the religious right. The emergence of the right as a overly potent force in Israel is largely as a consequence of the constant belligerency faced by Israel since its independence by the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbours.

      • annie
        August 11, 2011, 3:18 am

        Israel’s Declaration of Independence will hopefully protect against the infiltration of power from the religious right.

        check out hostages comment quoting the knesset. the declaration “does not have constitutional validity” according to the knesset. good luck wrt your hopefull protection against the power from the religious right., you’ll need it.

        The emergence of the right …. is largely as a consequence of … the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbours.

        uh huh. heard that before.

      • Hostage
        August 11, 2011, 4:23 am

        Annie, the origins of the Palestinian problem are dealt exquisitely by Efraim Karsh in ‘Palestine Betrayed’, an astounding book that blows the ‘new historians’ completely out of the water.

        Beginning with Simha Flapan and his research assistants from Harvard University, the so-called New Historians have been debunking Zionist mythology by citing thousands of declassified documents from US, UK, and Israeli state archives. Efraim Karsh avoids discussing the US archive materials like the plague because there is so much there that completely discredits his contrived narrative. Apparently he doesn’t realize that the Foreign Relations of the United States series is available online in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection (1861-1958/1960) and the US State Department Office of the Historian (1961-1976). The UK National Archives have also digitized “The Cabinet Papers 1915 – 1980″. So, the information supplied by the New Historians can be easily verified. Try using the search function here at Mondoweiss. I’ve frequently cited them and the original UN and LoN records to blow Karsh et al out of the water;-)

      • mig
        August 11, 2011, 4:38 am

        davidsc :

        “origins of the Palestinian problem are dealt exquisitely by Efraim Karsh in ‘Palestine Betrayed’, an astounding book that blows the ‘new historians’ completely out of the water.”

        ++++ Only in your dreams David.

      • davidsc
        August 11, 2011, 5:22 am

        And you’ll hear it again. The Palestinians need to take the blame for the situation they are in, because they have significantly contributed to it. Preaching victimhood for ever more isn’t very productive.

      • justicewillprevail
        August 11, 2011, 7:15 am

        Yes, blame the people you have assaulted and robbed for not collaborating fully in their dispossession. Preaching victimhood is a speciality of Israel and Zionism, used as a boilerplate excuse for every injustice and crime they have committed against a defenceless people.

      • Hostage
        August 11, 2011, 7:48 am

        Preaching victimhood for ever more isn’t very productive.

        So Zionists realize the Holocaust Industry™ can no longer conceal all of their wrongdoing? Quick, someone alert Norman Finklestein.

      • Don
        August 11, 2011, 8:02 am

        “Preaching victimhood for ever more isn’t very productive.”

        Uh..you are kidding, no? I nominate this sentence for the annual “RW Lack of Self-Awareness Award”.

      • eljay
        August 11, 2011, 8:08 am

        >> The Palestinians need to take the blame for the situation they are in, because they have significantly contributed to it.

        Yes, the victim is always to blame for the fact that she was – and continues to be – raped. Why does she keep punching the rapist? Why doesn’t she just “humanize” him and make “better wheels”? Surely she cannot expect the rapist to just stop raping her – after all, she has significantly contributed to the situation she’s in!

        >> Preaching victimhood for ever more isn’t very productive.

        This one is a keeper. Thanks. :-)a

      • davidsc
        August 11, 2011, 8:46 am

        First it was the Ottomans, then the British and now the Jews who are to blame.
        Right across the Arab world it’s the same, they can only be understood as victims, never as aggressors or perpetrators. This grievance culture is more or less ubiquitous and forms a central element of Islamist and wider Muslim political culture the world over. They take no real responsibility for their own failure to achieve a viable productive national identity. The “logical” response to criticism is, therefore, to attack the critic rather than address the problem. And it is a strategy that is validated and encouraged by the left liberal establishment across the West.

      • eljay
        August 11, 2011, 9:00 am

        >> davidsc: First it was the Ottomans, then the British and now the Jews who are to blame. Right across the Arab world it’s the same, they can only be understood as victims, never as aggressors or perpetrators. This grievance culture is more or less ubiquitous and forms a central element of Islamist and wider Muslim political culture the world over.

        First it was the Nazi Germans and now the Arabs/Muslims who are to blame. Right across the multi-national Jewish world it’s the same, they can only be understood as victims, never as aggressors or perpetrators. This grievance culture is more or less ubiquitious an forms a central element of Zionist and wider Jewish political culture the world over.

        Hey, this is fun! :-)

        I also like how, despite stating in another thread that reducing everything to black and white is unproductive, you’ve written at least two posts in this thread alone that do exactly that.

      • Hostage
        August 11, 2011, 9:48 am

        First it was the Ottomans

        The leaders of the Arab revolt were all Ottoman officials. They simply favored decentralization of power and opted for Arab independence when that didn’t happen. The British and the French accepted the Arab declaration of independence and recognized the belligerent government as one of the Allied Powers.

        Hussein issued a unilateral Declaration of the Independence of Arabia (“Arabistan” in Turkish) on June 27, 1916. That declaration was soliticted and acknowledged by the other Allied and Associated Powers. See “International law documents”, by the Naval War College (U.S.), 1917, page 17 or International law studies, Volume 73, by Naval War College (U.S.), 1918, Proclamation of the Sherif of Mecca

        We all know that the Arabs were betrayed thanks to the infamous Balfour memo from the Versailles Peace Conference.

        link to scribd.com

      • Charon
        August 11, 2011, 6:50 pm

        It’s ironic that you believe this

        What is your definition of an Arab anyways? Did you know that Apple is now the most valuable company in the world? Who runs Apple? Steve Jobs, an Arab. 34% of Jews, mostly in Israel, are genetically Arab and many are more Arab than the Palestinians.

        Palestinians have a large ethnic makeup. Bedouins tend to have more physical characteristics with the people of the Arabian Peninsula. Most Palestinians are Levantine people. Arabized in culture and language but descended from the all the different groups from the fertile crescent including Jews.

        In 1947, Jews made up 1/3 of Palestine and owned 5% of the land. That 1/3 included Palestinian Jews. They were NOT on the same page as Zionist colonist Jews. Of the remaining 2/3, 40% were Christians. Most were expelled in 1948 as if they were deliberately targeted. Today 10% of Palestinians are Christian in and around Israel. 80-90% of Arabs are Christians. Only 20% of Muslims are Arabs. Why do I bring this up?

        Because your racism and ignorance is showing. Race and religion and nationality are used to divide us and make us hate each other. It’s BS. We’re more assimilated than it looks. It’s ironic that you mention the victim when my entire 30+ year life I’ve heard Israelis play the victim. They’ve never been the victim, they’re the oppressor

    • Hostage
      August 11, 2011, 12:27 am

      Israel’s Declaration of Independence (a covenantal document) has been given quasi-constitutional status by the courts in lieu of a formal bill of rights, since it specifies the basic principles of the nation. In particular new lawmakers will need to struggle with these inviolable statements:

      There is nothing inviolable or constitutional in the Declaration. Any conflict between its provisions and an ordinary statute befitting the values of the State of Israel can be resolved in favor of the statute.

      The Knesset website explains

      Some were inclined to view the Proclamation of Independence, and especially its declaratory section, as a constitution, but the Supreme Court stated, in a series of decisions, that the proclamation does not have constitutional validity, and that it is not a supreme law which may be used to invalidate laws and regulations that contradict it. link to knesset.gov.il

      Most of the content regarding the bill of rights was included in accordance with a mandate contained in the UN Plan for the Future Government of Palestine, Resolution 181(II) Part C. Declaration. You can read more about that at the links below.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to mondoweiss.net

    • Daniel Rich
      August 11, 2011, 4:47 am

      Does the Sykes–Picot Agreement ring a bell?

  3. DICKERSON3870
    August 10, 2011, 10:51 pm

    RE: “So what will happen to all those Israelis who would rather not conform to the right’s (and it’s allied rabbinical legal reviewers’) position, be they Muslims, Christians, Druzes – or even non-orthodox Jews?” ~ Paul Mutter

    MY COMMENT: Gazing into my trusty crystal ball, I saw the most horrendous civil war a few decades from now. It started looking like nukes might be involved, but then my crystal ball suddenly got very cloudy and turned pitch black! I think it’s kaput for good (if you’ll pardon the redundancy).

  4. DICKERSON3870
    August 10, 2011, 11:15 pm

    RE: “The state is permitted to allow a community, including people of another faith or nation, to maintain a separate community,” reads the legislation.

    MY COMMENT: I read somewhere that some Israelis wanted an area in northern Israel designated as a nature preserve. But they were told that the area (somewhere in Galilee, I think) had already been promised to the Christian fundies. This area is where the fundies plan to fight Zog and/or Magog and get raptured up. It’s confusing, so you might want to consult your local fundies for more details. Suffice it to say that “Pastor” John Hagee has some very big plans!

  5. tombishop
    August 10, 2011, 11:17 pm

    Thank you for making the connection of what the Muslim fundamentalists in Iran have in common with the Zionist fundamentalists in Israel. The same applies to the Religious Right in the U.S.

    At least the common absolutism of the fundamentalists in the three monotheistic religions is being exposed for all to see. What they all share in common is hostility to the ideas of the Enlightenment and humanist thought for the last 500 years (source of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution).

    For them reason must be guided by faith, rather than faith be guided by reason. They are putting their faith in a reactionary ideology that theological justifies the ruling elites in their societies instituting authoritarian forms of rule to hold on to power. They are advocating an end to democracy and a return to a monarchical authoritarian government. Such a government will only be possible with severe repression wherever these fundamentalists are allowed to flourish.

    Now that their agenda is being exposed, what are we going to do about it?

  6. CTuttle
    August 10, 2011, 11:33 pm

    Aloha, ya’ll…! I was sorely disappointed with Haaretz’s latest Editorial… Between London and Tel Aviv…

    I mention it in my latest Linkapallooza at myFDL…! ;-)

    Déjà Vu Part LXIV…

  7. Nevada Ned
    August 10, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Years ago, a bill was introduced in the Knesset that would outlaw the processing of pork. Opponents pointed out that if the bill passed, Israel would join Libya, the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The bill failed.

    It would be intriguing if Israel tightened up the definition of “who’s a Jew”, to make only orthodox Jews officially designated as Jewish, and excluding Reform Jews and secular Jews. A lot of the New Republic readership, not to mention the Commentary crowd, would get letters saying, “thank you for your past support of Israel, but please be advised that now you’re in the same racial category as the Palestinians.”
    If that happened, what would Alan Dershowitz say?

  8. longliveisrael
    August 10, 2011, 11:59 pm

    Actually, all you anti-Israel types are closer to Iran, your comments about Israel mirror theirs.

  9. Michael W.
    August 11, 2011, 2:59 am

    Hasn’t Kadima withdrawn its support for this bill?

  10. GalenSword
    August 11, 2011, 3:00 am

    There is an immense chasm between the politicized Islam of Iran and the ethnic fundamentalism or ethnic monism associated with Zionism and the State of Israel.

    Zionists reinterpreted the Eastern European Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim ethnic group as the pan-Judaic ethnonational group in order to justify stealing Palestine from the the native population and to justify the ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians.

    The Zionist belief system has no connection to traditional Judaism except that Zionists slice and dice Jewish religious beliefs, theology, and scripture in an ongoing effort to legitimize Zionist crimes.

    It is also worth mentioning that Zionist understanding of Jewish exile is more congruent with historical Roman Catholic interpretations than with traditional Jewish concepts.

    • kapok
      August 11, 2011, 2:37 pm

      Congruent? How? The Catholic Church is catholic: Jesus died for ALL of our sakes.

  11. Brewer
    August 11, 2011, 3:57 am

    A dark new philistinism is behind Britain’s arts funding cuts

    Looming cuts to university arts and humanities departments destroy the consensus that the arts have inherent value
    link to guardian.co.uk

    Denmark.
    Minister faced down humanities’ protesters
    link to universitypost.dk

    More UK Humanities Under Attack
    Early hopes that governmental and university authorities in Scotland might resist the siren call of cutbacks in the humanities and social sciences appear to have been premature.
    link to utotherescue.blogspot.com

    ….and the good old U.S of A.
    Budget cutbacks at colleges and universities across the country have brought on waves of bad news for the humanities
    link to pbk.org

    …the last from Cass Sunstein’s former squeeze, Martha Nussbaum .

    See how its done?

  12. marc b.
    August 11, 2011, 3:12 pm

    “If the court sees a legal question requiring a ruling, and finds no solution in legislation, custom or clear analogy, it will rule in light of the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace in Jewish heritage.”

    if i recall, the court has largely deferred to the rabbinate on questions of jewish identity, i.e. who is a jew under israeli law and as a consequence how are they registered on their identity card, although there is some tension between zionist needs and halakha.

  13. Keith
    August 11, 2011, 5:20 pm

    “Of course, it is impossible we could ever see something like this happening in Israel. Iran only pretends to be a democracy, while Israel is a democracy! Right?”

    It has already happened in Israel. In his 2004 book “Towards an Open Tomb,” Michel Warschawski notes:

    “When he formed his new government Ariel Sharon was prepared to let the Labor Party have foreign affairs and defense, but not education. He gave this ministry to Limor Livnat, one of the leaders of Likud’s right wing.

    In the space of a few months Livnat carried out a thorough housecleaning of the school system. Under the motto, ‘More Zionism, more Bible,’ she reorganized the curriculum and scrubbed all ‘defeatist’ odors out of the manuals for history and civics instruction. In particular she banned the history books that the Rabin government had introduced a decade earlier, in which the ‘new historians’ influence was detectable, and eliminated the courses on peace and democracy.”

    The goal was the ‘reeducation of Israeli society, which (had) acquired a taste for peace, security, prosperity, and the beginnings of normality during the last two decades.’ Therefore, Israeli society was re-indoctrinated with the fighting spirit of Zionism circa 1948 to maintain its status as a warfare state, the Middle East Sparta. This is, of course, consistent with the roots of “blood and soil” Zionism.

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