Halachic state Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halachic_state

A halachic state (Hebrew: מדינת הלכה, Medinat Halakha) is a Jewish state governed by halakha, Jewish religious law.[1]

Public opinion[edit]

Can Israel both be a democracy and a Jewish state?
All Israeli Jews Yes
Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Yes
Dati (orthodox) Yes
Masorti (traditional) Yes
Hiloni (secular) Yes
% of Israeli Jews who say Israel can be both a democracy and a Jewish state (Pew 2016).[2]
Should halakha or democratic principles precede?
All Israeli Jews Democracy
Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Democracy
Dati (orthodox) Democracy
Masorti (traditional) Democracy
Hiloni (secular) Democracy
% of Israeli Jews who say halakha (religious law) or democratic principles should be given preference if there is a contradiction between the two (Pew 2016).[2]

An opinion poll released in March 2016 by the Pew Research Center found high support for a halachic state among religious Israeli Jews. The poll found that 86% of Israeli Haredi Jews and 69% of non-Haredi religious Jews support making halakha Israel's legal code while 57% of traditional Jews and 90% of secular Jews oppose such a move.[3] At the time, the Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jews) constituted 8% of all Israelis, the Dati (orthodox Jews) 10%, the Masorti (traditional Jews) 23%, and the Hiloni (secular Jews) 40%.[2] There was a majority agreement amongst all Israeli Jewish groups that Israel could be both a Jewish and democratic state.[2] When asked whether they would prefer democratic principles or halakha (religious law) if the two were ever in conflict, 62% of all Israeli Jews combined favoured democratic principles; however, preference for halakha was very high amongst the Haredim (89%), while very low amongst secular Jews (1%).[2]

Support of Jewish religious leaders[edit]

Menachem Mendel Schneerson advocated the transformation of Israel into a halachic state even before the Messiah comes,[4] as did Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz.[5]

Support of Knesset members and Israeli justices[edit]

In 2009, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman stated that "step by step, Torah law will become the binding law in the State of Israel. We have to reinstate the traditions of our forefathers, the teaching of the rabbis of the ages, because these offer a solution to all the issues we are dealing with today". He later retracted his statement.[1] According to 2002 Israel Prize winner Nahum Rakover, who received the Yakir Yerushalayim prize for his research on the use of Jewish law in the legal system,[6] Neeman's opinion was nothing new. He said that the idea is supported in the Foundations of Law Act, passed in 1980, which encourages judges to use Jewish law in their decisions. Yitzhak Kahan, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court, recommended that Jewish law be implemented even in cases of an existing precedent, although his opinion was not accepted and former justice ministers Shmuel Tamir and Moshe Nissim advocated teaching judges and lawyers Jewish law to provide them with the necessary knowledge to implement the law.[1]

In June 2019, Tkuma leader Bezalel Smotrich campaigned for the Ministry of Justice, saying that he sought the portfolio to "restore the Torah justice system".[7] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from the comments and appointed openly gay MK Amir Ohana to the post.[8]

The 2004 attempt to revive the Sanhedrin as an upper house in Israel (with either the resulting bicameral legislature or the lower house inheriting the title Knesset) was also regarded[by whom?] as an attempt to move the Israeli government to a halakhic state of governance and jurisprudence.[citation needed]

National identity bill[edit]

In 2014, Israel's cabinet advanced the Nation-State Bill, which would define Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and also said that Jewish law would be a "source of inspiration" for the Knesset. This was seen by non-Orthodox Jews as a step toward enforcing Orthodox halakha as the law of the land.[9] However, the final version of the law did not include this proposed clause.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wagner, Matthew (10 December 2009). "Religious Affairs: Who's afraid of a halachic state?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Israel's Religiously Divided Society". Pew Research Center. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  3. ^ Eichner, Itamar (3 September 2016). "Major poll: About half of Israeli Jews want to expel Arabs". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Ariel Sharon and The Rebbe". JewishMedia. January 12, 2014. Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  5. ^ "חזון איש - אורח חיים". hebrewbooks.org (in Hebrew).
  6. ^ Selig, Abe (13 May 2010). "Twelve given 'Worthy of Jerusalem' award". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Smotrich says he wants to be justice minister so Israel can follow Torah law". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Netanyahu appoints Amir Ohana justice minister, first openly gay cabinet member". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  9. ^ Ettinger, Yair (25 November 2014). "Ultra-Orthodox and Reform Jews Share Distaste for Nation-state Bill". Haaretz. Retrieved 3 March 2019.