Constitutionalism, Law, and Religion in Israel: A State's Multiple Identities
J Civil Legal Sci 2016, 5:1, doi: 10.4172/2169-0170.1000169
11 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 16, 2016
In this paper I address the question of how the State of Israel deals with legal pluralism of different religious groups regarding status rights. Law and religion are two competing cultural systems that constitute individual and collective identities, as well as social interaction. In the history of Israel, a religiously as well as ethnically deeply divided society, various individual and collective religious and national identities have developed. These issues are reflected in the constitutional regulations, as well as in the different legal systems of the country, existing parallel to each other.
In the first chapter I deal with the historical relationship of Judaism and Zionism, while the second discusses the constitutional conflict between Jewish and the democratic character of the State of Israel. The third chapter analyzes the millet system of religious laws (inherited from the Ottoman Empire) for both Jews, as the religious majority, and for different minorities. The main question is, whether or not this pluralist legal system can be considered as liberal, providing equal rights, and what other alternatives are feasible in Israel today. The more general constitutional question behind the legal one is, whether or not the Jewish and the democratic character of the State of Israel based on Zionism can be consolidated.
Keywords: comparative constitutional law, Israel, religious rights
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