November 1: ‘Jewish democracy’

Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated in a speech that Israel’s being both a Jewish and a democratic state was contradictory (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” October 30).

October 31, 2013 20:45
3 minute read.

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

‘Jewish democracy’

Sir, – Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated in a speech that Israel’s being both a Jewish and a democratic state was contradictory (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” October 30).

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

It appears that Lapid is confused about the words “Jew,” “Jewish” and “Judaism.” The term “Jew” comes from “Judea,” a geographic unit that was once a sovereign state.

When Judea was captured all the residents were called “Judeans” or “Jews” for short. We see this in the Arch of Titus, erected to commemorate Rome’s conquests. The memory of being a nation was kept alive in words, as in prayers and some community events, and in learning the laws that once applied, and, hopefully, would apply when political independence was reestablished.

Today we use the term “Jew” interchangeably as a religious designation and a national designation.

When writers, politicians and others want to make a comparison between Jews and other groups, the word “Jew” changes to meet the need. When “Jew and Arab” is used it refers to cultural or ethnic groups, while “Jew and Muslim” or “Jew and Christian” refer to religions.

Lapid also seems to forget, or didn’t learn, that Judaism does support democracy. In the Bible the Jewish people are to have one law (one Torah) for the Jew and the stranger. The Bible also says for the people to choose their leaders, specifically judges, police and other representatives, for various tasks.

Returning to the main point and supposed contradiction, Israel is the state of the Jews and Jews are the “national entity” by definition, and have a democracy.

Hatzor Haglilit

Sir, – With regard to “Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” democratic? Hardly. We can’t marry when we wish or be married by whom we wish, for starters. We have no personal representative in the Knesset who looks out for our interests ahead of his or his party’s.

When we get these things fixed we can call ourselves Jewish and democratic.

Until then, the oxymoron stands, for we can’t be Jewish and democratic at the same time, as Jewish came first, and democracy much later.


WoW’s magnanimity

Sir, – How magnanimous of the Women of the Wall to present a list of conditions for a solution to their prayer rights (“WoW lists demands needed to give up woman’s section,” October 29) – or, if you take the opposing view, for their offensive religious exhibitionism.

As was said by Ronit Peskin, director of Women for the Wall, the group set up to represent those ladies who actually pray there on a regular basis, “The very idea that a group that can hardly muster 100 women on a good month should dictate to the government how to run the Kotel plaza is mind-boggling. The list of demands is yet another example of WoW’s preoccupation with themselves at the expense of the Jewish people.”

As Peskin’s colleague Leah Aharoni put it, “The WoW claim to give women a voice at the Kotel, yet in reality they are there to squash the voice of hundreds of thousands of women who oppose their antics and want to preserve existing Jewish tradition.”

Salford, UK

New math

Sir, – In “Fixed-line fees for connectivity to fall” (Business & Finance, October 30) we read: “The current fee averages NIS 0.04 and will be cut to NIS 0.099.”

Will wonders never cease? ROSALIE BROSILOW Rehovot The business editor responds: This misprint came from Globes. There was a missing zero. It should have read: “The current fee averages NIS 0.04 and will be cut to NIS 0.0099.”

APOLOGY The Jerusalem Post apologizes to subscribers for having included in its Friday, October 25, issue a flyer that was inappropriate.

In the future, the Post will ensure that such material is properly vetted.

Related Content

OVERVIEW OF the Human Rights Council at the UNHRC
July 22, 2018
EU member states should follow the US and leave the UNHRC