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Israel Has a Jewish ProblemSelf-Determination as Self-Elimination$
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Joyce Dalsheim

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190680251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190680251.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2021

Is Israel a Christian State?

Is Israel a Christian State?

(p.130) 5 Is Israel a Christian State?
Israel Has a Jewish Problem

Joyce Dalsheim

Oxford University Press

This chapter opens with an ethnographic vignette in which an ultra-Orthodox man explains the dangers of Zionism. He says the founding father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, “actually wanted to convert all the Jews to Christianity.” This opens a discussion about the character of the Jewish state, building on the previous chapter about assimilation. It focuses on government efforts to change the ultra-Orthodox and to integrate them into Israeli society. It deals with conflicts over “freedom,” which has often come to mean self-realization and individual autonomy, but should not be limited to this Western liberal definition. While anthropologists have long argued that such normative terms like freedom do not have a universal definition, in this case, we find that the secular state interprets freedom in a way that does not coincide with the understanding of at least some of those it intends to make free.

Keywords:   assimilation, Christians, supersession, individualism, freedom, sovereignty, Israel, Haredi, ultra-Orthodox Jews

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