In a speech given at the Prime Minister’s conference Lapid addressed the tension created by Israel being a democratic Jewish state, and laid out his philosophy: “Israel is not just a place – it is an idea”
Finance Minister Lapid, archive Photography: Chen Galili ShiloPro
On the day that the “civil union” law was proposed, the Chairman of Yesh Atid party declared that the separation of church and state cannot be possible in Israel. The Finance Minister arrived at the Prime Minister’s conference today (Tuesday) and addressed the tension created by Israel being a democratic and Jewish stat. “Other countries announced a separation of church and state” Lapid said and made it clear: “this will not happen in Israel”.
The tension between Judaism and democracy the Yesh Atid party Chairman defined as “a problem without a solution”. “It is a problem we avoid” he said “we tend to suppress the definition, we prefer to stress the Israeli democracy, the fact that there are Members of Knesset, judges and Arab officers, and we all pretend that if there is an Arab footballer in the Israeli national team – then there is no problem”.
According to him, the non-solution is a result of the fact that the definition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state “is not a clinical definition or an analytical formula. If the state is democratic, then how can it belong to one people? How can the state of Israel claim that everyone is equal before the law, when the law defines Judaism as the national and legislative basis of the country? And on the other hand – how can this state be Jewish if it also wants to be democratic?”
“Life is battered and dusty”
He explained that other countries solved the conflict created between religion and tradition and democracy by separating church and state – but it is not an idea that could work here. “The state of Israel as opposed to other countries is not just a place, it is also an idea” he explained, “it was established after the world proved to the Jews time and time again, victim after victim – that we have nowhere else to go”.
Lapid argued that the Jews in Israel have yet to reach an agreement on what is the meaning of a Jewish and Democratic state. “There are problems in life that carry constant tension” the Finance Minister said, “life is not a laboratory or judicial experiment it contains contradictions. Life is not a theory, it is battered and dusty, it is not a display window of a luxury store but the dirty window of a moving car”.