For liberals and centrists, a growing fear of Orthodox power.
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The 15-year-old daughter of an Israeli friend announced to her parents that when she gets older she will leave Israel. “The religious are taking over,” she said. “I don’t want to be treated like a second-class citizen, and anyway I want to live in a democracy, not a religious state.”
“I didn’t have an answer,” my friend said.
Show a Jew a silver lining, the old saying goes, and he looks for the cloud.
Or, more immediately, show Israelis scenes of Cairo, where tens of thousands are protesting each day for their freedom and human rights, and rather than exalt, Jerusalem worries that the result will be not be a new age of democracy next door but a takeover by radical Islamists determined to end Egypt’s peace treaty with the Jewish state, and worse.
I'm hearing a lot of reaction to Jeff Goldberg's ultra-provocative Atlantic blog on “What if Israel ceases to be a democracy” - the inevitable result of Goldberg's stature as one of the most outspoken, well-informed bloggers on the pro-Israel scene and a true centrist
Update: Just one day after Atlantic blogger Jeff Goldberg expressed his anxiety that Israel is turning away from its democratic roots, a new poll suggests his concern may be justified.
In a survey by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, “a full 44 percent of Israeli Jews support a letter issued by leading Israeli rabbis published earlier this month forbidding the sale or rental of properties to non-Jews. The survey reported that 48 percent of Israeli Jews oppose the rabbis' religious edict,” according to a report in Ha'artz.
That edict was termed a “perversion of Jewish and democratic values” by the Anti-Defamation League; I imagine those who share Jeff's concern about where Israel is headed will see that 44 percent as shockingly high in the Middle East's only democracy
Atlantic blogger Jeff Goldberg's anguished assessment that Israel could be well on its way toward abandoning the democracy that was a cherished value of its creators could be the most important blog of the year for Jewish leaders.