Jewish Law and Matters of State: Theory, Policy, and Practice

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
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  • 1 Bar-Ilan University, The Israel Democracy Institute

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In recent years Jewish religious leaders have often expressed religious opinions in matters concerning the foreign and security policy of the State of Israel. The present article focuses on the internal religious legitimacy of halakhic rulings in these matters and reveals the prerequisites that decisors must satisfy before voicing a binding halakhic opinion on issues concerning the Israeli Arab conflict, peace agreements, Jewish settlements in Judah and Samaria, etc.

The article is divided into three parts that answer the following questions: (a) are matters of State policy subject to halakhic norms or are they situated outside the realm of Halakha? (b) does Halakha have a judicial policy seeking to rule on these issues? (c) what are the practical difficulties that decisors face if they wish to rule on them? The article points out the diversity of internal halakhic opinions on the questions under investigation, and outlines an analytical method for a halakhic discussion aimed at answering them.

  • 76

    Blidstein, supra note 71, at 249 [Heb].

  • 79

     See Gad Tedeschi, “The problem of Legal Lacunae and Clause 46 to the King’s Council Rules”, in Studies in Our Country’s Law (1959) 132, 160-161 [Heb]. (“We must say there is no fault in the law here… if [the legislator] wishes to leave the regulation of certain matters to other social forces such as religion, morality, etc. or even to other independent legal forces.”)

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  • 85

     See Elon, supra note 77, at part II [Heb].

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