World Religions and Democracy: Judaism and Political Life

Issue Date July 2004
Volume 15
Issue 3
Page Numbers 122-137
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The question of the relationship between Jews and Judaism, on the one hand, and democracy on the other, is of extraordinary complexity. It requires examining both the Jewish religion, and above all its holy book, the Hebrew Bible, plus three thousand years of Jewish historical and political experience. Today, Jews everywhere are among democracy's strongest supporters and the Jewish state, modern Israel, is the only securely democratic regime in the entire Middle East. The Bible cannot exactly be called a handbook of modern political democracy, but it does often recommend an ethical approach of working toward the good or righteous with and through flawed human persons and institutions, and approach that has a certain affinity with modern democracy's need for sobriety, moderation, and prudence.