Unconstitutional: The establishment of a private prison in Israel
By Bambi Sheleg | 15/04/2010
The first issue of Eretz Acheret, which appeared ten years ago, focused on the “Jewish avant-garde.” That issue discussed the likelihood of the emergence of a new Israeli society, which would be a product of the identity crisis that was then sweeping both the secular and religious segments of Israeli society. At the time, we thought that these two fragments would merge into a single cultural and social world that would create an organic link between Israeli identity and Judaism. In other words, Judaism would no longer be the exclusive province of “religious Jews” and an authentic Israeli identity would no longer be the exclusive province of “secular Jews.” We wanted to anchor our agenda with, inter alia, Israeli and Jewish texts that would faithfully express our feelings and values.
However, with each succeeding issue, we could see that the nature of the mission we had undertaken was becoming very different from our original concept. The challenge that our society must tackle is to learn the nature of the Israeli reality while taking into consideration all its manifestations and all its many complexities. The next step that Israeli society must take is to study how the Israeli reality fits in with the value systems all of us have “brought from home.”
The attempt to understand Israeli society and the nature of the challenges it faces led us, at this particular bend in the road, to the issue of the establishment of a private prison and to the far-reaching ramifications that such a decision could have for Israel's character and image.