Advertisement

Understanding a “Religious” Western Democracy: Israel and Its Complexities

Chapter
  • 95 Downloads
Part of the Studies in Humanist and Atheism book series (HRC)

Abstract

The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai describes the air in Jerusalem as “filled with prayers and dreams … Hard to breathe.”1 Jerusalem is holy to three world religions: two billion Christians, one and a half billion Muslims, and thirteen million Jews—together half of the world’s population. Israel’s major industry may well be prayers and dreams, even if Israelis are also very adept at falafel and nanotechnology. Psychiatrists describe something called Jerusalem syndrome, when visitors are so overwrought to be where supposedly Jesus walked and Solomon reigned that they imagine THEY are Jesus or Solomon.2 Even the socialist and secular Jew David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of the state and its first prime minister, loved to imagine himself in the image of the Biblical David. It does not matter that Amichai himself and a sizable plurality of the Jewish Israeli population are self-described “secular”—the air is saturated with the prayers of others, and all that pious aspiration makes secular respiration more difficult.

Keywords

Jewish People Religious School Jewish State Civil Marriage Jewish Religion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Amichai, Yehuda. “Jerusalem Ecology” in Yehuda Amicha: A Life of Poetry 1948–1994 (tr. Benjamin and Barbara Harshav) ( NY: HarperCollins, 1994 ), 332.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Nir Hasson. “Seculars use God’s name against Haredim in Jerusalem fight,” Haaretz, December 1, 2009. Cited from http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/seculars-use-god-s-name-against -haredim-in-jerusalem-fight-1.3095. Last viewed December 11, 2012.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Heather Sharp. “Israeli pig-farming kibbutz draws religious ire,” BBC, June 30, 2010. Cited from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/ hi/8708541.stm. Last viewed December 11, 2012. A picture of a platform is available at http://forward.com/articles/13245/on-israel -s-only-jewish-run-pig-farm-it-s-the-/, last viewed December 11, 2012.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Ari Elon. From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven ( Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996 ).Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Described in Amos Oz. In the Land of Israel (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1983). Talmud reference is Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 32b.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Thomas Jefferson. Notes on the State of Virginia, “Query 17: Religion.” Cited from http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JefVirg.sgmandimages=images/modenganddata=/texts/english/modeng/parse dandtag=publicandpart=17anddivision=div1. Last viewed November 26, 2012.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Actually written by Zechariah Chafee, “Freedom of Speech in Wartime,” 32 Harvard Law Review 932, 957 (1919).Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    Derek Penslar. “Zionism and the Muslim World” in Chalom, A. ed. Jews and the Muslim World: Solving the Puzzle ( Farmington Hills, MI: IISHJ, 2010 ).Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    Tracy Wilkinson, “Israel Has Eye on Christians Who Have Their Eyes on 2000,” The Los Angeles Times, January 10, 1999. Cited from http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jan/10/news/mn-62263, last viewed October 17, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    See Jacques Berlinerblau, How to be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom ( New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012 ), 195–99.Google Scholar
  11. 25.
    Herzl, Theodor. Altneuland (1902)—a longtime motto of the Zionist movement.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony B. Pinn 2014

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations