Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 2, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5751/1990)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 2, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5751/1990)

"Israel as a Jewish State"

Israel as a Jewish State - Daniel J. Elazar

Beyond Israel's self-definition as a Jewish state, the question remains as to what extent Israel is a continuation of Jewish political history within the context of the Jewish political tradition. This article addresses that question, first by looking at the realities of Israel as a Jewish state and at the same time one compounded of Jews of varying ideologies and persuasions, plus non-Jews; the tensions between the desire on the part of many Israeli Jews for Israel to be a state like any other and the desire on the part of others for it to manifest its Jewishness in concrete ways that will make it unique. The article explores the ways in which the traditional domains of authority into which power is divided in the Jewish political tradition are manifested in the structure of Israel's political system, both structurally and politically; relations between the Jewish religion, state and society; the Jewish dimension of Israel's political culture and policy-making and how both are manifested through Israel's emerging constitution and the character of its democracy.

Jewish Political Traditions and Contemporary Israeli Politics - Alan Dowty

The central puzzle of Israeli politics is how democracy has been maintained at all, given the lack of democracy in countries of origin, the deep internal divisions, and the permanent state of war. At least part of the answer lies in understanding Jewish political traditions. The Zionist movement was, in large degree, a revolt against Jewish history. But inevitably Zionists were influenced by an extensive Jewish experience of self-government in the East European shtetl. This experience involved political institutions that were voluntary, inclusive, pluralistic, and contentious. It was also a closed system, facing a hostile external world and not equipped to deal with non-Jews as a group. It was marked by the necessity of bargaining, lack of defined hierarchy, proliferation and influence of organized groups, and the reality of power-sharing, rather than undiluted rule of the majority. These patterns of behavior have much in common with what contemporary political scientists call "consensus" democracy, in contrast to the more common majoritarian model.

Does Israel Have a Liberal-Democratic Tradition? - Benyamin Neuberger

The central thesis of this paper is that Israel's political culture is mixed, and contains both democratic and non-democratic traditions. Liberal democracy in Israel was built on religious opposition to arbitrary rule, on pluralism in the Jewish tradition, on the practice of self-government in the Jewish communities of the diaspora, on the quasi-federalism of the Zionist movement, on the voluntarism of the Yishuv, and, finally, on the liberal and social-democratic Weltanschauung of the founding fathers of Zionism. On the other hand, the existing tendencies towards authoritarianism originated in the higher law tradition of religious Orthodoxy, in the absence of civil rights as a basic value in the ideologies of all major political camps, and in the oligarchical-secretive patterns of thought and behavior imported from autocratic and revolutionary Eastern Europe.

The Jewish State and the Jewish People: Israeli Intellectual Thought from the Six-Day War to the 1980s - Yosef Gorny

In what ways does the existence of the State of Israel shape the national consciousness and identity of different Jewish circles in Israel? This research explores that question through the perspective of three central concepts around which the conceptions of the different circles move. The first concept is defined as "general normalization," i.e., the view that perceives Jewish existence, whether in its religious expression in the diaspora or in its national-territorial expression in the State of Israel, as a moral phenomenon that does not differ from other nations or religions. The second is "unique normalization," an attitude prevalent among the majority of Jewish intellectuals in the U.S. who, on one hand, consider Jewish existence as similar to that of other ethnic groups in their country in its characteristics and status; on the other hand, they emphasize its unique relationship with the State of Israel. The third concept carries the paradoxical name "Jewish normalization," meaning the streams in public thought that view the Jews as one nation in spite of their territorial dispersion and cultural fragmentation; i.e., the normal element emphasizes Jewish nationality while the unique Jewish element as compared to other nations consists of the disruption of the conscious relation between nationality and national territory that characterizes the other two attitudes. This article examines the first and third of those concepts from the Six-Day War in 1967 to the present.

The Origins of the National and the Statist Traditions in Zionist Foreign Policy - Shmuel Sandler

The dilemma of choosing between goals that emanate from the ethno-national setting of Israel as opposed to those serving the state is rooted in Zionist thought and international behavior. The origins go back to the founding fathers of Zionism in the nineteenth century who responded to different challenges of their environment. Two case studies in which the Zionist movement had to choose between its loyalty to the Land of Israel and the idea of an immediate materialization of a Jewish state are examined. One case is the Uganda Controversy and the second is the partition debate of 1937.

Jews, Jewishness, and Israel's Foreign Policy - Efraim Inbar

This article seeks to clarify the nature and manifestations of the Jewish dimension in Israeli foreign policy. Sensitivity to the interests of diaspora communities is generally subordinated to raison d'etat. External Jewish intervention in Israeli foreign policy is negligible, though greater involvement on the part of diaspora leaders can be detected. The impact of Jewish psycho-cultural factors on Israel's external relations is decreasing as a result of the secularization of Israeli society and the diminishing weight of Jewish cultural baggage.