Israel should be Jewish and democratic and there is no contradiction here – I have described the justification for all that here at TOI at http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/israel-should-be-jewish-democratic-and-torah-based-state-and-there-is-no-contradiction-here/
Each country of Western Judeo-Christian civilization has her unique individual spiritual founding principles legislatively defined in various founding documents. And each country of Western Judeo-Christian civilization has her unique democratic procedures for electing the leaders who are entrusted with the task of tailoring spiritual founding principles – not changing them – to ever changing country-life circumstances. Without founding principles a country sooner or later disintegrates into smaller pieces with their own unique spiritual principles, and disintegration of all empires of the past is a clear evidence of that. Without true democratic procedures for electing the leaders a country can exist, and it is called dictatorship.
The USA constitution defines the American founding principles; the founding documents of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain … define their unique founding principles. In essence, their unique founding principles are Judeo-Christian spiritual principles although no one has a dominant official church. The Judeo-Christian founding principles obligate the elected leaders to prevent any attempts to spiritually change the country for example in a Muslim-way, in a Buddhist-way or in any other non-Judeo-Christian-way. Muslims, Buddhists and other non-Judeo-Christians have the right to live in Judeo-Christian countries but only if they are not trying to change the founding principles of the country (from Torah/Bible to Koran for example).
The State of Israel has to have her own founding principles that define the State of Israel as Jewish state – precisely as the USA founding principles define the USA as American state as described in the Declaration of Independence. Christians and Muslims have the right to live in Israel if they agree to follow the founding Jewish principles of the country.
And now some dictionary definitions in support of legislating the State of Israel as Jewish state.
A classical dictionary definition of “being democratic”
is being governed by elected officials (or an elected official) chosen by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state.
Thus if the people’s majority of any nation votes to make a certain idea the fundamental trait of their nation it should be so. This definition doesn’t impose any limitation on what to vote for. In the 1930th, the people of Germany democratically elected Hitler and his Nazi party to make Germany the “Supreme Arian” nation which rules over and enslaving the others.
About the same time the people of Russia elected Stalin and communists to make Russia the “Supreme Proletariat” nation thus enslaving their own population and population of other European countries. After WWII the people of the USA were electing US governments with clearly pronounced policy of imposing on the world countries the US-approved-democratic-style political systems.
These days the peoples of some Moslem countries elect their governments with clearly pronounced policies of denigrating all “infidels” such as Christians, Hindus … and of course Jews.
So “being democratic” doesn’t impose any limitation on a kind of spiritual environment the people are trying to create and strengthen in their country and how they are going to deal with their neighbors.
A classical dictionary definition of “being Jewish”
defines a Jewish person as someone born to a Jewish family or converted to Jewish faith. Although there are many different authoritative definitions on these two identifiers (what constitutes a Jewish family, what is a true conversion) but in the state of Israel the following is becoming clear: everybody who defends and strengthens Israel is welcome as in essence Jewish.
Defining “being Jewish” for the Jewish people and the state of Israel is the same as for the people of the USA defining “being American” or for the Russians defining “being Russian”.
In the USA, “being American” means (although it is changing rapidly) being first of all a unique individual and using the economic and social freedoms for making your own life in accordance with your own mind-set in the frame-work of American Constitution. If you are a Muslim you can be a good American if your religious activities don’t undermine the social fundamentals of the country and you are not trying to introduce collective-obedience-based Sharia laws in the USA, practice rituals of Islam at your home and at your mosque – in the USA, the social fabric is based on individual freedom.
In Russia, “being Russian” means being an integral part of a social crowd, having a good caring government and obeying it. Russia has over one hundred ethnical groups and most of them obey Russian social order and consider themselves a part of Russian civilization.
In Israel, “being Israeli” should mean “being Jewish” at its best since the Israeli Jews have an opportunity to demonstrate what the Chosen have to do and able to do as the majority in building a better world for everybody including a better world for themselves and the others. It is a difficult task since there is no Jewish unity on the essence of “a better world” and there is no Muslim desire to build a better world together with the Jews. It is difficult but possible … with the inspiration of the Torah.
In Israel like in the USA, Muslim Arabs can live peacefully and enjoy the equal rights – if they agree to practice Islam in their home and mosques and not to introduce collective-obedience-based Sharia laws in Israel where the social fabric is based on Jewish spirituality, and agree to practice rituals of Islam exclusively at their homes and mosques. Like in the USA, Israeli Muslims have to follow the guidance of an Israeli unwritten constitution that is in essence is the Torah (of course not in a strict Haredim’s interpretation).
Thus, the two descriptors of the State of Israel – Democratic and Jewish – have to coexist peacefully, and the suggested legislation of “the Jewish state law” should not be controversial.
However, that is not the case in the divided Israeli nation as could be seen for example in a publication at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187494#.VGiebPnF8eg
“The controversial ‘Jewish State Law’ will be brought before the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for approval Sunday.
The law, which has been frozen for some time, is now being promoted by MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), with the support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The bill, opposed both by Yesh Atid and Hatnua, was transferred by Elkin to a special committee for formulation, after he concluded that the Committee was dragging its feet in drafting the proposal.
According to the bill, all Jewish school will teach Jewish history as well as Jewish tradition and heritage. Hebrew will be recognized as the only official language in Israel. Arabic, which as of now is considered an official language in Israel, will instead be given special status.
The bill also declares that the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which a Jew can exercise his desire for self-determination in accordance with his historical legacy. This right to exercise national self-determination will be provided to Jewish people only.
However, every resident, regardless of religion and nationality, will be entitled to preserve his or her heritage, culture and language.”
It looks like there is nothing controversial in the suggested law.