Chapter 2 Halakhic Guidelines for Relating to Non-Jews in the State of Israel

In: Jews in Dialogue

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Abstract

Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, there existed a sizable Muslim and Christian minority whose rights to citizenship were enshrined in the democratic aspirations contained in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Since then the State of Israel has been challenged by balancing democratic values and Jewish Law. The article seeks to determine how Jewish law relates to the non-Jewish “Other” for the expressed purpose of discovering an alternative model with historically based halakhic precedent. A review of traditional texts will show a trend in Jewish Law (Halakhah) that mandates equality as a religious imperative. Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation strengthened this trend which encouraged halakhic deciders to search for ways that a new paradigm can exist in how Judaism views the Gentile. They influenced the early official Rabbinate of the Land and State of Israel who set a precedent of using ancient terminology to affirm the validity of non-Jewish participation in Israeli society. The study’s conclusions seek to help the Jewish religion depart from being a force conducive to discrimination and instead embrace a mandate conducive for equality and constructive interreligious dialogue with all the different sectors that are part of the State of Israel.

Jews in Dialogue

Jewish Responses to the Challenges of Multicultural Contemporaneity. Free Ebrei Volume 2

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