Interpretations of Jewish Tradition on Democracy, Land, and Peace

Journal of Church and State, 43:1 Winter 2001

Posted: 29 Oct 2017

See all articles by Gerald Steinberg

Gerald Steinberg

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Political Studies

Date Written: December 1, 2001


The relationship between democratic institutions and practices, on the one hand, and policy on issues related to war and peace, on the other, is one of the most intensely debated topics in international relations. Under the framework of "democratic peace," a wide range of theories and models has been presented in the attempt to clarify these links. From the basic neo-Kantian argument that democratic states are less likely to go war against each other, compared to dyads involving at least one non-democratic country, the literature has developed a number of variations and refinements. Some analysts conclude that democratic processes and institutions reduce the proclivity towards the use of violence in the context of international disputes, and others present evidence that cultural similarities between Western liberal democracies explain the perceived variance in behavior.

The objective of this article is to explore aspects of Israeli policy with respect to Middle East peace processes in the framework of the Jewish polifical tradition and its influence on the Israeli polity and government policies. Following an analysis of the nature of democracy in the Jewish tradition and in Israel, we will examine the interaction of the three principle variables -- religion, democracy, and policies with respect to war and peace -- in terms of the three central approaches to the "land for peace" formula that have developed in the Israeli religious sector.

Keywords: Israel, democracy, peace, Arab-Israeli conflict, Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Suggested Citation

Steinberg, Gerald, Interpretations of Jewish Tradition on Democracy, Land, and Peace (December 1, 2001). Journal of Church and State, 43:1 Winter 2001. Available at SSRN:

Gerald Steinberg (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Political Studies ( email )

Ramat Gan, 52900

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