Rosh Chodesh Aleph
6th Day of Hanukah
Livni enlists Diaspora to fight bill defining Israel as ‘Jewish state’
In a bid to thwart a draft bill defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will begin polling Diaspora Jews for their views on Israel’s character.
Livni sees Diaspora Jewry, whose conceptions of the state potentially differ significantly from those of their their coreligionists in Israel, as a counterbalance to those seeking to pin down Israel’s character once and for all.
...At issue is the so-called Jewish State Law being pushed by the Likud-Beiteinu and Bayit Yehudi parties aimed at resolving the tension between the Jewish and democratic aspects of the state by defining Israel as primarily of Jewish character.
Livni, who expressed fierce opposition to the bill in August, appointed Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison to compose “a constitutional arrangement dealing with the State of Israel’s Jewish and democratic character” as a counterbalance to the various proposals under consideration in the legislature.
The Gavison bill would anchor the elements of the State of Israel’s identity “in a way that balances and integrates these values” of democracy and Judaism, According to Livni.
Another path besides conversion
The religious authorities should not be the only gatekeepers of Judaism
...We believe that some prospective converts to Judaism feel that religious conversion demands what for them would be an insincere affirmation of religious faith. Perhaps they are agnostic or atheist or secular, or even committed to another faith tradition.
...To provide a viable alternative to religious route to becoming a Jew, we propose a second explicitly cultural pathway to join the Jewish people. This pathway, which we call Jewish Cultural Affirmation,....
Accomplished Jewish cultural experts – professors, writers, artists, educators, communal leaders, and others – would constitute boards that would oversee the program and would attest to the validity of the affirmation.