Israel is the Jewish homeland, and its identity as such is both a biblical mandate (Genesis 48:3-4) and a present-day reality which must not and, we believe will not, be changed. At the same time, the country is home to a number of groups of non-Jews.
As a state, Israel has laws and structures in place to ensure protection of the equal rights and dignity of all its citizens, Jew and non-Jew. Fundamental to Jewish law as given by God is the unequivocal command to the people of Israel to treat the “stranger in your midst” with equality and justice: Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 24:17
The Jewish people remember well how they were treated as second-class minorities in other countries, and their leaders are committed to ensuring that the minorities in Israel are not prejudiced against in the same way.
Providing a place of freedom and equality for all ethnic groups proves challenging at times, as some of Israel’s minorities openly oppose their government. The country’s minorities all belong to religions other than Judaism, and in the Middle East religion reigns supreme. As difficult as it is, the democratic Jewish state remains committed to this task.
Despite the difficulties, it is Israel’s minorities that give the nation much of its cultural diversity and flare. More than any other, these groups maintain the nation’s Middle Eastern atmosphere.
Join us for a closer look at these communities, their histories, backgrounds and cultures. Increased knowledge of who they are will provide a better understanding of the way they view having to live as minorities in the Jewish homeland.