On Human Dignity and Rights: The Dialectics of Religious and Secular Law in Israel
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Throughout the history of Judaism some Jews have defended human rights and dignity while other Jews have sought to deny these especially to those who are perceived either to endanger Israel’s existence, Jewish continuity, or Jewish control of the land. In the 1948 Declaration of the Founding of the State of Israel (thereafter known as the Declaration of Independence) the values of justice, freedom and peace are identified as being rooted in the traditions of the Hebrew Prophets, and a commitment to the practice of these by the State of Israel is given to ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex. Based on this clearly articulated commitment one would assume therefore that the principles of human rights and dignity for all those living within Israel was afforded full constitutional status. However, as this discussion shows there is a clash between religious and secular law regarding gender quality and the role and status of women.
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