Are Jews a race or a religion?

: The Jews - Race, Religion, Nation?


Read on one side

By Otto F. Best

Some may recall a trial that took place in Israel years ago and that deserved attention because of the question of whether a Christian who had converted to Christianity was entitled to Israeli citizenship. The judgment represented a victory for clericalism: It postulated an identity between religion and nationality, defined Israeli as a person of Jewish faith and Israel as a theocratic state.

But since the religious parties of this state received only 14 percent of all votes cast, a strange paralox is constituted. It characterizes Israel as a state that is "not Jewish" and at the same time "intolerant".

Since those who made the above-mentioned decision did not start from the well-known Chinese of a Jewish race and the former Jew refused the "donkey bridge" of second citizenship granted to so many unwilling American Jews for religious reasons, one could consequently ask the question of what under one Jewish people ". Or is what one has got used to calling" Jewish people ", more correctly drawn with" Israeli nation "? But then how would the relationship of the people of the Jewish faith living in the diaspora to Israel be defined?

Israel's struggle for survival has deepened the affective ties of Jews and Christians alike to this European country on Near Eastern soil in a decisive way. At the same time, he encouraged the tendency towards idealization, towards an admiration in which there is no doubt still alive something of the tapping recognition that the executioner may associate with his victim. The real problems of this country laden with heritage and with the (life-saving) mortgage of thousands of years of history have so far only been seen by a few, as the publications, which are mostly panegyric, show.


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What sense is it supposed to have, one could realistically have asked oneself, in view of the permanent danger of war, to discuss the paradox that Israel still sees its mission in "bringing peace to the world", but on the other hand in order to To stay alive, to raise one's youth in a spirit of national and military pride? In the spirit of that nationalism that is close to chauvinism?

Nevertheless, behind the cloak of pride in one's own achievement, in the imposing realization of a dream, lives the old tendency to self-analysis, further encouraged by the presence of a manageable "field" and corresponding scientific methods. Scarcely any attention was paid to a wealth of primarily sociological studies, all of which endeavor to interpret individual features of the phenomenon of Israel.