According to observers who know much more about the situation than I, the debate over judicial reform in Israel suggests a profound struggle over the country’s basic character as a Jewish and democratic state. Israel’s founders thought they could have it both ways–that a political religious identity could exist together with secular pluralism in a creative tension. The events of this summer show that the balance is becoming harder. A new book from Cambridge University Press, Israel’s Declaration of Independence: The History and Political Theory of the Nation’s Founding Moment, discusses the perhaps unsustainable vision of the people who founded the Jewish State. The authors are Neil Rogachevsky (Yeshiva University) and Don Zigler. Here is the publisher’s description:
Israel’s Declaration of Independence brings to life the debates and decisions at the founding of the state of Israel. Through a presentation of the drafts of Israel’s Declaration of Independence in English for the first time, Neil Rogachevsky and Dov Zigler shed new light on the dilemmas of politics, diplomacy, and values faced by Israel’s leaders as they charted the path to independence and composed what became modern Israel’s most important political text. The stakes began with war, state-building, strategy, and great power politics, and ascended to matters of high principle: freedom, liberty, sovereignty, rights, and religion. Using fast-paced narration of the meetings of Israel’s leadership in April and May 1948, this volume tells the astonishing story of the drafting of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, enriching and reframing the understanding of Israel’s founding and its ideas – and tracing its legacy.