The Debate Between Religion and State by Carly Gimbel

Jewish people are opinionated, but I don’t think that is a surprise to any of you. This is clearly seen in issues of synagogue and state in Israel. Today Cohort 8 learned about the religious issues that are present in Israel with Elliot Glassenberg. We talked about the past, present and hopes for the future. Before there was the Ottoman Empire with a Millet System meaning there were a bunch of people with different religions, which played a big part in the formation of Israel. In 1947, the “Status Quo” was the law of the land and there was an agreement between the Jewish Agency and Religious Zionists creating the four main components including Shabat, kashrut, marital law/personal status, and education. The Declaration of Israel clearly states “… establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel…?” So does that mean Judaism is the main religion? The question of Judaism being the main religion has caused the conversations of many debated topics. When Israel first became a country the education system was split into secular learning and religious learning and they didn’t learn the same thing. In education many religious schools are funded, but secular schools aren’t. Is that fair? In my opinion, the answer is no. Education is very important and everyone should be able to be properly taught. It is also debated on whether there should be public transportation on shabbat and open malls, grocery stores and community centers. Along with the topic of kosher food in all hotels. In 2011, social justice was a big topic and there were even protests. At that time it seemed like the rich were getting richer and the poor stayed poor. The topic of same sex couples was also protested for due to Israel not allowing same sex marriage. Many couples go to Canada to get married and then go back to Israel. Rabbis are unwilling to marry same sex couples. For a small country there are people from all different backgrounds and follow different religions. Is it fair for the state to put in place restrictions and rules all for people whether or not they are observing Judaism?