Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

Israel's Coming Crisis Over “Jewishness”:
The Rebellion Against the Religio-Ethnic State

- Abstract

It was surprising to me that Ernst Simon’s article “Are We Israelis Still Jews?” (in Commentary of April 1953) evoked so little response in this country. It could not be that American Jews are indifferent as to whether or not Judaism survives in Israel. Perhaps they neglected to read the article, thinking the question more rhetorical than serious, merely a dramatic device introducing a sermon that ended, “Of course we Israelis are Jews—good ones.” But Dr. Simon’s question was serious, and grew out of a serious, troubling situation.

Evidence of this was the reaction of the Israelis when Luach Haaretz published Professor Simon’s article in Hebrew early in 1952. It occasioned at least two public forums in Jerusalem, at which there was spirited debate between the supporters and the critics of Professor Simon’s views. The Israeli public, it was amply clear, whether agreeing or disagreeing, took these views very much to heart.

About the Author