The State of Israel as a Modern Jewish Enterprise: An Introduction


was instead subjected to military rule ; and , not least , six additional wars , which , in addition to the heavy price in casualties , imposed a tremendous burden on the society and economy ; and many more daunting challenges . The approaches to these challenges , charted out for the most part by David Ben-Gurion and his Mapai party , were , and still are , a matter of national controversy , at times caustic , with criticism from both right and left . In spite of impressive accomplishments in almost all areas , critics are not deterred from drawing attention to weaknesses and failures . One of these - not the least important of them - is the absence of a democratic constitution that would lay a different basis for the status of religion in the state , and would ensure not only freedom of religion , but also freedom from religion . The Basic Laws that were enacted over the years , and which were meant to be elements of the future constitution - especially the Basic Law : Human Dignity and Liberty - corrected this lack in great measure , but they do not completely answer the needs of a modern , democratic , free and open state . Even those who did not abandon their demand to enact a constitution for Israel did not delude themselves that the adoption of a constitution would immediately change reality . A Basic Law that ensures the principle of equality would not on its own complete the revolution in the status of women , nor would it put an end to the ongoing , shameful discrimination against the country’s Palestinian Arab residents ( even though this discrimination has been admitted by all Israeli governments since the last decade of the twentieth century ) . A Basic Law on social rights would not , on its own , effect the necessary changes in socioeconomic policy to reverse the social-moral deterioration , decrease gaps , lessen poverty rates , and take Israel down from the top of the list of unequal societies in the democratic world . Those who continue to demand a constitution believe that it would serve as a permanent element in educating the public and an important impetus in the struggle to implement the values that it would express . An Amazing Outpouring of Creativity Forty authors contributed to this section . Their entries discuss different aspects of the life of the State of Israel and of the Yishuv that preceded it . This section does not aim to cover all the political , social , and cultural aspects of Israeli life . It includes those topics that typify Israel as the product of complex processes , of which the modernization and secularization of Jewish life were central . This section of the encyclopedia also seeks to highlight the exceptionally diverse outpouring of creativity that characterized the Jewish Yishuvin Eretz Israel ( in the pre-State period ) , from economic and settlement creativity to the establishment of educational systems and cultural consumption . By any standards , this is an amazing development : in a period of twenty-five years , from the early 1920 s to the late 1940 s , the Jewish population increased by a factor of 7 . 5 ; its gross product increased at an exceptional rate ranging between 14 and 17 percent ; per capita income increased at an annual rate of about 5 percent ; the number of students in its educational institutions rose from 10 , 000 to 88 , 000 ; the number of motor vehicles rose thirty-fold ; the number of physicians , by a factor of twenty-two ; and all cultural spheres developed impressively ( see “ Culture in the Yishuv Period ” in this section ) . This impressive development overshadowed , but did not conceal , the distortions and negative phenomena that accompanied it . Above all , this is decisive proof of the creative force of a secular revolution that was the twin of a national revolution . Thus , the basis of the rise of the State of Israel is a revolutionary shift from the straitjacket of “ politics by the grace of Heaven , ” that was usually grounded in the individual and his family , or , at most , the community , with its worthies , rabbis , and religious officials , in the direction of modern and secularized politics of national scope . Since this transition has yet to be completed , even if it long ago crossed the watershed , many of the entries in this section reflect the social , cultural , and political struggle to meet

Posen Foundation

לצפייה מיטבית ורציפה בכותר