Menachem Mautner

in Law and the Culture of Israel

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600564
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729188 | DOI:

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To disagree is part of the human condition. When people of different cultures need to reach agreement, it is not only the case that they may lack a shared normative platform on the basis of which to deliberate, but opting for a solution borrowed from one culture might even be interpreted by those of another as a threat to their personality and identity. There is an unbridgeable gap between the uniformity of modern law and the prevalence of disagreement among human beings, as also between the uniformity of modern law and the complexity of the societies to which it applies. The profound disagreement between secular Jews and religious Jews over the nature of the country's regime, political culture, and law has become a central feature of the life of Israel in the waning decades of the 20th century and early years of the 21st century. Additionally, there is an even profounder disagreement between the Jewish group and the Arab group over the definition of the state and the nature of the mechanisms by means of which the country should be run. The two disagreements are interrelated. This is the ‘zero-sum game’ of Israel's multicultural condition. Israel should cultivate the category of Israeliness to denote an overarching Israeli national identity common to all the state's citizens. This should be complemented by the cultivation of the republican notion of the common good.

Keywords: disagreement; multiculturalism; Zionism; Arab citizens of Israel; decentralization; republicanism; common good

Chapter.  1892 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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