Authentic Jewish Values for a Jewish State
Hardly a day goes by without someone invoking Jewish Values to justify things that by and large do not have a basis in traditional Judaism. Jewish Values are not merely things that a particular Jew values, rather they are values that are at the very heart of Judaism and whose roots can be traced back to traditional Jewish texts and law.
Today's example is courtesy of David Forman from the Jerusalem Post who shares with us his view on the issue of Israel being both a Jewish and Democratic State (very worthwhile to read the entire article):
The Jewish state can legitimately call itself Jewish only so long as it is Jewish and democratic and humane.
For Jews, the building of a society based on a prophetic vision of social justice, equality and humanity...
No people should be more sensitive to the notion of “separate laws” than Jews.
Ultimately, by introducing racist laws, it is not others, but we who are challenging our own legitimacy as a people and a nation.
Forman seems to imply that:
* According to the teachings of the Prophets, there must be full equality in the Jewish State, between Jew and non-Jew.
* The notion of separate laws concerning Jews and non-Jews is racist.
* That a Jewish State is only legitimate if it is in fact a democratic state.
Now consider the following points in response:
* What is the basis for Forman's claim that a Jewish State must also be democratic? Neither the 1st, nor the 2nd Jewish commonwealths were run according to democratic principles.
* Throughout the nearly 2,000 year long exile, the Jewish People did not pray to return to Zion in order to become "The Only Democracy in the Middle East", but to create a truly Jewish State where they could serve Hashem as they were meant to.
* The Torah, as well as the Prophets make it very clear that the non-Jew in Israel is limited to a Resident-Stranger status, with all of the limitations that go along with it. (Perhaps Forman isn't familiar with those sections).
* The Torah makes it very clear that the Jewish people are not meant to live amongst the nations of the world - that they are meant to live in a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, to create a society based on Torah values (protected from the foreign, secular values of the outside world) and serve as a light unto the nations. (See: Lev. 20:24-26, Bamidbar Rabbah, 18:7, Num. 23:9).
For the sake of brevity I refrained from delving into specific sources to prove out these points. If there is interest for me to do so, please let me know, and I would be happy to elaborate on this issue.