Whose Rights Did Israel Recognize in 1948?


Kramer, Martin. “Whose Rights Did Israel Recognize in 1948?” Mosaic Magazine, 2021, September 23.


It is often assumed that Israel's proclamation of independence declares Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state. In fact, the word “democratic” doesn’t appear in the text. The omission wasn’t just a matter of carelessness. The word appeared in earlier drafts but was then deleted. Why? Do other passages, establishing the equality of all Israel’s citizens, effectively enshrine the state’s democratic character? 

And what of individual rights? Israel’s proclamation, like America’s, justifies the establishment of the state in terms of its pledge to uphold the rights of its prospective citizens. But in the proclamation, all but one reference to rights is to the collective rights of the Jewish people. What does that say about how the founders understood rights?

Sixth part of a seven-part series.


Sixth part of a seven-part series.

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Last updated on 03/10/2022