Gideon Levy: The dark religious side of Israel
We must admit that this society has rather dark religious aspects. Foreigners landing in Israel might ask themselves what country they’re in: Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia? In any case, it’s not the liberal, secular and enlightened society it purports to be. Thieves’ hands do not have to be hacked off or women’s faces covered to be a religious country. Just as an occupying state, which controls 3.5 million people lacking basic civil rights, cannot call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” so a country that has no bread for a week because of its religion cannot call itself secular and liberal. Actually, there has been increased openness in recent years. More entertainment venues and supermarkets are open on Saturday in some of our cities than ever before, like before the Heichal movie theater riots in Petah Tikva. The dead can finally be buried in a civil ceremony in exchange for a fistful of shekels. But that’s not enough to be able to call ourselves a secular society. We must not delude ourselves: From the cradle to the grave, from marriage to divorce, almost everything is still religious.
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