Critics charge that the humanistic views expressed by the founders of Israel through its Declaration of Independence have been diminished and that an antidemocratic virus has taken root in the State in recent years. Examination of Megillat Ha'atzmaut, the Israeli Declaration of Independence; the debates that swirled around it at the formation of the state; and the concurrent views of Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog on the issue of Israel as a democratic state reveals that these disagreements about the character of Israel as being both “Jewish and democratic” are rooted in ideological positions present in Israel's first years. A failure to resolve them so that democratic values can be affirmed remains an ongoing challenge to the nation.

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