Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poll Answers and Results: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State

The poll results were very interesting. 205 people answered the poll, and I belatedly found out that on SurveyMonkey the free account only allows you to views the data on the first 100. Regardless the first 100 answers were certainly enough to get a feel for what people knew.

Some answers were obvious and most people knew them or figured them out. Other questions were tricky or at least non-intuitive if you didn’t already know the answer.

Below are the correct answers and the explanation for each one.


1. Who coined the term describing Israel as a "Jewish and Democratic State"?

(a) Ben Gurion (b) The Israeli Declaration of Independence
(c) Peace Now (d) Rabbi Meir Kahane

Many people believe that this term is as old as the state, but that is not the case.

This phrase was coined and first used by (a) Peace Now in after 1967 to explain why Israel must divest itself of significant and important historical sections of the Jewish homeland.

Peace Now forwarded the argument that if Israel is to remain a Jewish and democratic state, Israel must rid ourselves of the Arabs that threaten Jewish majority control of the state of Israel. Quite interesting, at the time, Peace Now espoused the same exact goal as Rabbi Meir Kahane, just through a different method.


2. Was Israel founded as:

(a) A Jewish and Democratic state (b) A state of all it’s citizens
(c) A Jewish state (d) The 51st state

The majority knew that Israel was founded exclusively as (c) a Jewish state, as explicitly declared in the Declaration of Independence and not a Jewish and Democratic state (they probably read our earlier posts and comments on that).

In the Declaration if Independence, Israeli is defined as a Jewish state that also offered equal political rights and personal freedoms for its non-Jewish residents. While clearly offers special interests and policies to Jewish nationals first.

Israel certainly wasn’t founded as a state of all its citizens as the term is used today.

In 1948 there were only 48 states in the union, so Israel would have been the 49th.

3. Where is Israel legally defined as a "Jewish and Democratic state"?

(a) Israeli Declaration of Independence (b) The Torah
(c) Israel’s Basic Laws (d) None of the above.

The answer is (c) Israel’s Basic Laws enacted on March 17, 1992.

Rights protected by Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty

• Section 1: The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law tile values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Former Chief Justice considers the Basic Laws as a precursor to an Israeli constitution and gives them similar powers, even though, those that voted in the Basic Laws did not understand them as such at the time.

More than half the people thought the answer was (d) None of the above.


4. Who is against defining Israel a Jewish and Democratic state?

(a) PA President Mouhamad Abbas (b) Peace Now
(c) New Israel Fund (d) Israel’s Labor Party (e) All of the above

Nearly everyone correctly identified the right answer as (e) All of the above.

To one degree or another, all of the above want to change Israel’s Jewish character and definition and make Israel a state of all its citizens and not a Jewish state (see next question).

5. Is Israel, as a state of all its citizens:

(a) a Jewish state (b) a non-Jewish state
(c) a future Islamic state (d) The end of the Jewish state

The only (possibly) wrong answer is (a) a Jewish state.

By removing the Jewish from the Jewish state and defining it as a state of everyone, by definition you no longer have a Jewish state. (“If everyone is special, then no one is special” – Dash)

You might have a state that temporarily retains a Jewish majority, but that is not sustainable if the state can’t unequivocally work to maintain the Jewish majority, in part through a selective immigration policy that favors Jewish nationals.

All the other answers are what would inevitably happen if Israel were no longer defined and run by the principles of it being a Jewish state.

Surprisingly, more than half the respondents believe that even if Israel were defined as a state of all its citizens, it would somehow inexplicably remain a Jewish state regardless – even though that would remove any vestige of Jewish national centrality from the government’s policies, laws, immigration policies and character.

I first thought they didn't understand what the term and consequences meant and assumed that because Jews would temporarily still be the majority and temporarily shape the character of the country, those that answered (a) simply weren’t thinking of what would be a few years into the future.

But I realized their answer must be far more subtle than that.

Presumably they meant that the Land of Israel, by definition, will always be the Jewish state, no matter if the Jews are in exile, the minority, or if the country is democratically overthrown and turned into a “state of all its citizens”.

Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People exclusively, and so even if no one calls Israel the Jewish state, and even if the Jews become a minority (or non-existent), and Jerusalem is ripped away from the control of the people of Israel and given to the Palestinians or to an International body to govern, the land of Israel can never lose its basic definition as the Jewish state.


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14 comments:

Nachum said...

I answered (a) to 5, because I was thinking present tense, when Israel tries to be both. I agree that it can't be.

Anonymous said...

"Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People exclusively, and so even if no one calls Israel the Jewish state, and even if the Jews become a minority (or non-existent), and Jerusalem is ripped away from the control of the people of Israel and given to the Palestinians or to an International body to govern, the land of Israel can never lose its basic definition as the Jewish state."

That was my reasoning for answering a for 5.

However, I also think it is possible for Israel to be a jewish state even while it is a "state of all it's citizens."

I just can't see the government deciding that friday and sunday are now not work days, and I can't foresee a declaration that Shabbat is no longer a day off.

I also think the demographic fears are "worst case scenario." More and more Jews are making aliyah every year, and as arabs become wealthier they have less children.

JoeSettler said...

More and more Jews are making aliyah every year, and as arabs become wealthier they have less children.

That's the common assumption as to where the only threat to a Jewish majority lies.

But that is only part of the picture.

Leftwing organizations are doing their utmost to obtain citizenship for foreign workers who illegally overstay their visas, refugees and illegal immigrants who hop the southern fence, and anyone else who wants it.

They're actively working to dilute the Jewish majority and character of the country.

There are over 150,000 illegal foreign workers in Israel who overstayed their visa, are building families and refuse to leave.

The few hundred families of illegal foreign workers that Eli Yishai wants to deport back to their native countries is just a tip of the iceberg.

If the radical leftwing groups that are lobbying for them have their way, all anyone will need to do to automatically gain Israeli citizenship will be to give birth to a child in Israel.

That is how you destroy the Jewish character and definition of a Jewish state.

S said...

I enjoyed that - thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed by both your lack of knowledge and your palpable baseless hatred of progressive Zionists.

That Peace Now "coined" the term "Jewish and democratic" in 1967 is impossible. The group was established in 1978.

Are you proposing they had a time machine?

And while the term democratic isn't used in the declaration of independence, the concept is hardly foreign:

"The State of Israel... will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants..."

This goes to your wacky interpretation in number 2, what part of "complete equality" don't you understand?

Is it the word "complete?" Or is it the word "equality?"

It seems to me that it is not Peace Now, Labor, or the New Israel Fund that wants to re-write Israel's intended nature as a Jewish and democratic state, but rather all those Joe Settlers out there.

JoeSettler said...

As per Amnon Rubinstein, winner of the Israel Prize for law, former member of Knesset for Shinui, and dean of IDC Herziliya:

"The term 'Jewish and Democratic state' was first used by Peace Now after the war in 1967".

I will try to post the .wav file with him saying that, next week.

But you are correct, I meant to write 'after 1967'.

JoeSettler said...

what part of "complete equality" don't you understand?

Well perhaps you can explain to me how "complete equality" matches with only Jews having an automatic right of return under the law? Obviously Jews have precedence in certain areas under Israeli law.

JoeSettler said...

You can believe whatever you want.

Anonymous said...

"Well perhaps you can explain to me how "complete equality" matches with only Jews having an automatic right of return under the law? Obviously Jews have precedence in certain areas under Israeli law."

This is a common misconception.

Once somebody is a citizen of Israel they have "complete equality."

What is not "equal" is the means to which any particular person becomes a citizen to begin with.
But this process is not "equal" in any country in the world. It is fair and lawful, but not equal

Jameel @ The Muqata said...


"The State of Israel... will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants..."

This goes to your wacky interpretation in number 2, what part of "complete equality" don't you understand?

Is it the word "complete?" Or is it the word "equality?"


Anonymous: There can be equal civil rights, yet different levels of national rights.

For example; is it unequal in the USA, that foreign born US citizens can't be President of the USA?

Raymond said...

Jameel you idiot: Obama wasn't born in the USA, and HE'S President!!!

Stop writing stupidity.

JoeSettler said...

Once somebody is a citizen of Israel they have "complete equality."

As much as Israel is a vibrant democracy and provides tremendous equality under the law for everyone, it isn't 100% true.

There are laws in Israel that, for instance, place restrictions only on Jews, and there are laws that place restrictions only on non-Jews.

And those laws exist because of the Jewish nature of the state.

There is an inherent contradiction between Jewish and Democratic, but for the most part Israel manages to find a balance between them.


(To give an example. It is illegal for a Jew to sell Chametz on Pesach. AFAIK there is no such law for a non-Jew in Israel. And even if there was one law for all, it is totally and openly unenforced in the non-Jewish sectors - that is not the equal application of the rule of law or how a secular democracy functions).

Anonymous said...

"To give an example. It is illegal for a Jew to sell Chametz on Pesach."

Really? My trip to Israel suggested that if such a law exists it isn't enforced at all.


Also, the statement that Jewish and Democracy can't mix is false. Perhaps Jewish and -universal- democracy can't mix, but there is nothing in the definition of democracy which suggests that a democracy which only gives voice to Jewish members of society isn't a democracy.

After all, for hundreds of years only land owners in America were part of the democracy.

Batya said...

There are things that aren't subject to vote or referrendum. Democracy can be very dangerous.

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