Religion and Political Development in Israel and the Arab States,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF EXTERNAL RESEARCH
Pagination or Media Count:
Although numerous scholars and journalists have focused on the religious question in Israel and the modernization of Islam in the Arab countries, only rarely have they compared these similar struggles over the social and political role of religion. This paper will make that attempt. In Israel, the religious question is the most fundamental, unresolved social and political problem. The controversy rages around matters such as officially-enforced observance of the Sabbath, the consumption of the nonkosher food in the Defense Forces, and on El Al Airlines, civil, vs religious, marriage, and the question of who is to determine who is a Jew for the purposes of immigration. Basically, it is the question of whether the Israeli state shall enforce, through statute and the police power, the ancient precepts and laws of the Jewish faith. Israelis are divided on the issue, one-quarter to one-third favoring the religious position and the rest the secular position. The Jewish Bible, stripped of its religion and interpreted in solely a national fashion is a bond that today unifies secular and religious Jews in Israel.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Humanities and History