Israel's Higher Law makes a valuable sociological contribution to the important debate about Israel's status as a Jewish and democratic state. The heart of the book lies in a series of lively interviews with a range of representative Israelis about their own interpretations of the problem. Informative and characteristic, these interviews are the next best thing to actually being on the ground and hearing Israeli voices directly. The method of addressing a problem of political theory through lay interviews is rich and innovative, producing surprising results that subvert more formalist approaches and remind us that political philosophy is alive and well as a popular vernacular practice. (Noah Feldman, New York University)
Based on extensive interviews in 2000 with thirty-one Israelis from various sectors of the society (secular, Religious Zionists, ultra-Orthodox, traditional, and Arabs), Mazie probes how ordinary Israelis see and experience various conflicts between the Judaic religion and the Israeli state. Indeed, Mazie's ample selections from these interviews give the book an engaging, animated tone, which complements nicely the author's theoretical, Rawlsian interests. (Journal of Church & State
Can Israel be at once a Jewish and democratic state? Against a background of political theory, history, and constitutional law, Steven Mazie skillfully explores the responses of a wide range of Israelis—secular and religious, Jewish and Arab—to this core question of national identity. The results are complex, often surprising, and always illuminating. (William A. Galston)
About the Author
Steven V. Mazie is Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan and has taught previously at Bard College, New York University, and the University of Michigan.