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Religion and quality of democracy in Israel

Giommoni, Valentina (2013) Religion and quality of democracy in Israel. Advisor: Morlino, Prof. Leonardo. Coadvisor: Masala, Dr. Antonio . pp. 359. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Abstract

This research aims to answer the following questions: How does religion (in particular Judaism) affect the quality of democracy in Israel? Why, historically, religion assumed this role? How the correlation between religion and democracy affects the life of the so called "dominant" Jewish group? Using the TODEM method for democratic deepening, the procedural dimensions are investigated. The dimensions are: rule of law, electoral and inter-institutional accountability, participation and competition. After analyzing of all of them, a strong influence of religion is found in rule of law, participation and competition. This influence is evident at the institutional as well as at the social level and deeply affects the quality of democracy. Although the research does not question the belonging of Israel to the democratic group, a label is created to underline the shaping influence of religion: Orthodemocracy. This term refers both to the institutional role of religion (all recognized religions in Israel are given this role) and, in a more specific acceptation, to the role of Orthodox Judaism. The legal validity of religious norms in Orthodemocracy creates paths of discrimination and inequality that greatly impact on the daily life of the citizens. Jewish citizens, that a popular ethnic approach portrays as dominant in the Israeli society are all but exempted from the discriminatory effects. The strong influence that religion plays has historical reasons: this research argues that the source of power, since the diffusion of the nationalistic ideology, was the need for the state-enterprise to be agreed upon among all Jews. Religious legitimization, especially at the international level, was an absolute necessity for the Zionist project. Benefiting from this very political need, the religious minority managed to achieve astounding victories in terms of autonomy and influence in the society. After the dominance of the Zionists political leadership extinguished, the power was maintained through a new political role that the religious parties acquired in the fragmented Israeli society: that of Kingmakers.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
PhD Course: Political Science and Institutional Change
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/110
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 14:25
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/110

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