Wednesday evening marked the onset of one of the most solemn days in the Jewish calendar; the destruction of the First and Second Temples, which ended two brief periods of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel millenia ago. Many Israelis fear that we are on the verge of witnessing the fall of what we call the Third Temple Era, the 75 years since the state of Israel came to exist. The timing of this national crisis is mind-blowing.
Professor Gideon Rahat explains the present chaos in Israel as a conflict between Israelis and Jews. Israel was created on May 14, 1948, when David Ben Gurion read the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the establishment of a Jewish state that would uphold values of equality, freedom and justice, regardless of faith or ethnicity. In the decades since, the ultra-orthodox and other extremist constituencies have grown and they all mistrust the state and its institutions, deeply. The coalition government is held together by a deep hatred of various aspects of Israel – like an independent judiciary. Many would prefer a state in which Jewish religious law prevails over secular state law and authority. It’s as foundational a clash of values as is possible. We explore this unceasing quake that is roiling Israeli society, the economy and the security apparatus, and taking the country to the brink.
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