Halachic State

The Torah encourages the establishment of a Jewish state. In fact, such a state is an obligation: A significant fraction of the 613 commandments can only be performed within the framework of a Jewish government. This emphasizes the importance of having a Jewish state, aside social and nationalistic factors. A Jewish country must be "operated" by Jews and not by Gentiles. Thus even the subject of a "Shabbat Gentile" must be approached in an entirely novel way in a Jewish state as compared to private or public life outside of Eretz Yisrael.

 During the many years of exile before the State of Israel was established, most of the laws of halacha dealt with personal issues or at the most at the level of a community. The establishment of the State of Israel presents a great challenge for the rabbis involved in halacha. The fact that the nation is dwelling on its own land and is responsible for such elements as security and life in general is very significant for halachic rulings. Mortal danger of an individual is very different from mortal danger of an entire community, and this is also true if there is doubt whether mortal danger exists or not. A national need may be considered as vital even if similar needs of an individual or a community are less essential. It is also clear that the need for the help of a "Shabbat Gentile" might be different within a Jewish state or an independent society.

 The treatment by The Zomet Institute on public issues of Shabbat – such as the army, police, electricity and water supply, communications, hospitals and homes for the elderly, and such elements as industry and agriculture – are all built up on an approach of faith combined with the outlook that a concept of "public halacha" exists and should be taken into consideration.


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