This week on Inspired:
Defining “Jewish” in the Jewish State
We talk to cultural anthropologist Joyce Dalsheim, author of the forthcoming book, Israel Has a Jewish Problem: Self-Determination as Self-Elimination. Dalsheim researched the differing views of Israeli Jews – who make up 75 percent of the population – on the relationship between Judaism and the state. When nationalism and religion are conflated, she says, one set of religious values will predominate… with often challenging consequences. As evidence, Dalsheim points to the most recent elections in Israel. Many voters expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alliance with strictly religious parties, and he now struggles to form a governing coalition.
Religious Freedom: A Global Assessment
We’ve been talking about religious restrictions on Israeli Jews within Israel. What about the rest of the world? In 90 percent of countries, religious freedom is written into law. But 90 percent of countries engage in some sort of religious discrimination. So reports Roger Finke, director of the Association of Religion Data Archives, a resource for faith-related data from around the globe. Finke, a professor of sociology, religious studies and international affairs at The Pennsylvania State University, fills us in on how religious freedom is protected, and thwarted, in nations that are religious, secular and everything in between. And we ask him about the United States, which used to lead the world as a guarantor of religious liberty. Does it still?