This is Israel Today

October 19, 2011  

Tel Aviv from Jaffa

Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaims many of the same democratic principles that the United States adheres to, including “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex…(and) freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture….”

Israel Has a Vibrant Press and Legal System

Israel has a robust free press with myriad publications representing all views within its society; hundreds of foreign journalists are free to report on every political and diplomatic development. Civil rights are guaranteed by law, and guarded by numerous private organizations and citizens action groups that often openly challenge the government. Israel is considered to be the most advanced and tolerant country in the Middle East on such matters as the guarantee of a fair trial and the protection of minority rights. It is also the leading nation in the region in the protection of gay rights, with strong anti-discrimination laws. Furthermore, it maintains an independent judicial and court system. In Israel, nobody is above the law.

Israel Respects Freedom of Worship for All Religions

Israel’s Declaration of Independence explicitly guarantees the rights of religious minorities, and Israel’s Knesset has reaffirmed these rights by statute. In most Middle East countries, minority religious groups suffer from persecution and discrimination. In Israel, each faith has its own religious council and courts,
recognized by law, with jurisdiction over all religious affairs and matters of personal status.

Women Play a Vital Role in Israeli Society

Unlike any other Middle Eastern nation, women are at the forefront of many aspects of Israeli society. Israel has always had at least one woman on its Supreme Court, and Israel is the only country in the Middle East to elect a woman, Golda Meir, to the position of prime minister. Currently, the leader of the major opposition party is a woman who previously served as the country’s foreign minister.

Women have played an integral part in the founding and flourishing of the state. Regardless of religion or ethnicity, all women in Israel enjoy equal rights, protections under the law and opportunities to succeed and
contribute to society. From the founding of the state, women have long held important academic posts and leadership positions in government and served alongside their male counterparts in the defense of the state.


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