Avigdor Lieberman and his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party say that only they will keep Israel “liberal” by beating back the rabbis. Were we wrong to think that the right, by nature, admires religion?

This is a segment from The “Godlessness, in Theory & Practice” Edition.


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2 comments on “Godlessness: The Practice

  1. Shalom!

    Please please don’t blame Ben Gurion for our present religious or constitutional situation.
    Politics and specifically democracy is the art of the possible, Ben Gurion wanted a constitution but constitution means compromises as does the religion vs state issue and these were not possible then and not now, I regret to say.

    1. Noah Efron says:

      Dear Alan,

      Thanks for writing. I don’t blame Ben Gurion for the role that religion plays in politics here these days (I think, in the podcast, it was Allison who said that). I do think that the compromise he struck back in 1947 is part of the genealogy of today’s state of affairs, but I rather think he did the right thing in providing religious folks with a voice (at a time when it would have been possible to ignore them, in a tyranny-of-the-majority sort of way, because they were a rather small minority in the Yishuv back then). But then, I think that historians of Judaism will look back at these years as years of great and positive change in Jewish orthodoxy, in part because of the ongoing need to consider this-worldly, practical issues, as part of their participation in politics. (Yaakov Litzman, the United Torah Judaism Minister of Health has been insistent on fully funding, say, AIDS treatment and prevention regimes, including the provision of PREP, which allows men-at-risk to have sex without risking infection – that’s a remarkable thing).

      Of course, I realize that your defense of Ben Gurion comes from a different perspective. Still, we agree on the bottom line.

      I am sure you have tons of more important things to do than to write to us, so I am doubly grateful for your note!


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