Rethinking Israel-World Jewry Relations

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By Jose V. Ciprut.. BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 534, July 19, 2017. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Much is being written against the ultra-orthodox fiat over prayer and conversion in Israel, emphasizing the potential consequences if the US “diaspora” were to take offence and become irreversibly alienated. But the US is not Israel’s periphery. American Jewry is not Israel’s diaspora, and no Jew in the US lives in exile. [Photo top right: Context map; Wikipedia Commons] Israel must adapt to modern times – in faith, as it does in technology – first and foremost, for the sake of its own citizenry. It must take a firm, fair, and inclusive position on who is and is not a Jew, who is and is not an Israeli, and how the two attributes can reconcile in a modern pluralistic democracy.

Religion in enlightened democracies should not fall within the state’s purview. It is not a privilege granted, withheld, or withdrawn by some self-arrogating moral authority. Religion is a basic human right, the tenor, tone, and boundaries of which acquire form in the strictest intimacy between individual and deity. What the state says you are, because you ticked a box, does not say who you really are.

In his “Defining ‘Evangelical’” (The Atlantic, December 7, 2015), Jonathan Merritt reported that the meaning of a religious identification in the US differed depending on whom you asked. It would therefore not be wrong to conclude that “evangelicals comprise between 7-47% of the US population.” Read the full story.



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