Here is statement from Rav Aviner issued on Friday. Can we use this to test EJ’s desire to use Rawls? How would you solve this statement of Rav Aviner?
I am not interested in the halakhic or politics aspects. I want a continuation of the discussion on the use of Rawls. Hartman preached pluralism of as the solution, Menachem Kellner makes an ahistoric typology between rational Maimonideans and irrational racist Halevi followers. Rav Aviner defines democracy as the will of the people and the fulfillment of ideals in a Platonic state way. He does not know that here we define democracy as civil liberties, civil right, representation democracy or minority rights.
Rav Aviner on… Without Loyalty There is No Citizenship
[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Shemot 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]
Question: A law has been proposed in the Knesset that any non-Jew who wishes to receive citizenship in our country must swear a loyalty oath: “I declare that I will be a faithful citizen to the Jewish state, and I undertake to respect the country’s laws.” Is this law appropriate?
Answer: Obviously, I don’t deal with laws and jurisprudence, but with the Torah. And so, here is how things look according to the Torah:
1. It is halachically possible for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel. The Torah allows for a ger toshav, or resident alien. The Poskim [halachic decisors] write that even in our times there is room for a status similar to that of the resident alien (see Rambam, Ra’avad, Kessef Mishneh). In other words, it is possible for a non-Jew to live in the L and. Yet there are two preconditions to this, one moral and the other political.
2. The first condition is moral: undertaking the seven laws commanded to Noach, the foundations of human morality, by virtue of which man is called man. True, some take the lenient view that it suffices for a non-Jew to undertake not to worship idols, and such was the ruling of Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Kohain Kook (Mishpat Kohain), and our Rabbi Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook (Sichot HaRav Tzvi Yehuda – Eretz Yisrael). After all, this is the Land given to Avraham, who fought against idolatry. Hence it cannot be that somebody who goes against this should live here. Therefore, this is not the place of the various types of Christians, and of various pagan faiths from the Far East. By contrast, Islam is not idolatry.
3. The political precondition is that the candidate must accept the state’s authority (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim). This is something obvious and logical that exists throughout all the nations of the world. Certainly, somebody busy destroying our country and killing us cannot live here. That goes without saying.
4. Let’s just point out that there is no racism in either of these conditions. Racism is a biological doctrine that distinguishes between races, but within the Jewish people there are Jews from almost all of the races, whether they were born Jews or converted.
5. All that said, the idea of a Jewish-Democratic state can find expression, but note that I place the word Jewish first. In other words, there is room for democracy on condition that it does not contradict Judaism. That is certainly how things must be. After all, this is the State of Israel, or, in the words of Theodore Herzl, “the state of the Jews”, in both Hebrew and German, or, “the Jewish state”, in Yiddish and French. This is a Jewish state, and not a state of all its citizens.
Certainly, democracy, i.e., the will of the majority, cannot force an immoral or antinational law. Examples would include a law that would force Shabbat violations or a law that would decide to erase the State of Israel and make it part of the United States. Even the philosopher Plato described an idealistic democracy aimed at the general good as an organism and not just a utilitarian gathering of individuals. Certainly there are timeless ideals that transcend the law. After all, a nation is not built solely on economics and security, but on ideals and history as well.
To cut a nation off from its history, from its soul, is an immoral act, and the most antidemocratic act there could be.
Let us support real, exalted democracy: responsibility and loyalty to the Nation down through the generations
I repeat I am not interested in politics or the halakhic status of Christianity. I want a Rawlsian discussion. Or do we need the basics of Locke? Should we be pushing Rav Hayyim Hirschenson as one who saw the need for democracy? Is this just a problem of Israel not having a constitution? Would Habermas or Charles Taylor work better in Israel were we allow the voice of non-democratic positions a say in the public discourse. We are speaking to a group that does not realize that Plato is seen as the opposite of the democratic society.
From a politic perspective see Jeffrey Goldberg article from this morning “What If Israel Ceases to Be a Democracy?”. Can we create a Judaism with some of Locke, Rawls, or any other democratic thinker?