(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Knesset has legislated a clear basis for Israel’s democracy, but it has fallen behind in dealing with Israel’s Jewish character, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said on Sunday.
Edelstein was speaking at “Tamar’s Wings – Groundbreaking Young People,” a conference in memory of Tamar Ariel, the first female religious IAF navigator, who was killed in an avalanche in Nepal in 2014.
“We can’t have a situation in which we are only a democratic or only a Jewish state,” he said. “It’s all a matter of balance.”
It is “very good that the Knesset established the democratic side well,” Edelstein said, but it is “unclear that we sufficiently established the Jewish side.”
“It’s all done with a wink – ‘this is clear,’ ‘this is obvious,’” he said. “When a judge hears that something is obvious, he doesn’t know how to understand what it means. Therefore, I think it’s important to invest thought in establishing this country as a Jewish State, not just by winking, not just through behavior. A lot can be improved though behavior, but there can also be laws for the so-called formal matters.”
Edelstein’s comments were made in response to an essay by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that called for deregulation, less judicial activism and, in general, less government intervention in people’s lives. The essay was published this month in the inaugural issue of the conservative journal Hashiloah.
In her comments, which were criticized by many on the Left, Shaked suggested that democracy and Judaism are not contradictory and, in fact, support and strengthen one another.