Secularism, religion and the status quo

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Introduction Israel, it is commonly thought, is an emblematic case of conflation of state and religion seen, and now even designated by law, as a <italic>Jewish and democratic state</italic>. It might therefore be totally inadequate to question the state-religion relationship in Israel within the framework of the secularization thesis. Yet, although Israel is not a typical Western democracy built upon the separation of church and state, its modernistic features as well as its democratic procedures are required by the state to adhere to the principle of separation, even if at the end the state renounces its relevance to the Israeli context. An apt example to this duality is the relation of the state to religions other than Judaism. As amply shown by Karayanni (2006), the very definition of the state as Jewish entails relegating all religious affairs of non-Jewish communities to the private realm, presumably a de facto separation of state and church. Still, defining this situation in terms of separation is rather misleading. Not only is the conception of state-church relations embedded in a Christian world history (Asad, 1993; Haynes, 2009: 1051), it is also the case that in Israel the idea of an established rabbinate as the institution analogous to church has come to existence based on the ideas of nationhood and statehood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and the State
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Sociology
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780857288073
ISBN (Print)0857287982, 9780857287984
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 Jack Barbalet, Adam Possamai and Bryan S. Turner editorial matter and selection.


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