Tensions inside Israel

The Arab-Israeli conflict often overshadows other issues and tensions inside Israel. When Israeli police detained Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior religious Zionist, for an hour of questioning, it set off protests by his supporters and a range of reaction across the Israeli punditry. Jews in Israel differ on the role of religion in state affairs and on the importance of the (secular) rule of law vs. halacha (Jewish law).

Lior was asked about a preface/endorsement of a book on Jewish law that dealt with when Jewish law permits killing non-Jews. Over the past year, he had declined to come in for police questioning.

Yigal Walt typifies those who are alarmed:

The greatest threat faced by Israel today is not external, but rather, domestic; the wars of the Jews may be more dangerous than any battle waged by our enemies.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Prime Minister Netanyahu should have done more to defend the state and uphold the rule of law.

This kind of spat takes place against a shifting demographic backdrop: the religious Jewish population is growing faster than the secular Jewish one. [For a future discussion: exploring what the term ‘religious-secular’ obscures. Haredi, religious Zionist, traditional and more…]


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