Size does matter. It is okay to have a house for your family only, not for strangers. It is acceptable to enforce basic shared values in a gated community. It is, however, immoral to impose values on or exclude strangers from a huge country like Germany, and even there it would have been tolerable if the Germans had merely relocated Jews to Switzerland or Palestine. The only difference between the imposition of communist values on one-sixth of the Earth’s surface in the USSR and enforcement of Judaism in Mea Shearim religious district of Jerusalem is the size.

It is perfectly liberal for people to form communities and subscribe to similar values, whether at a nudist beach or in a Quaker village. Israel is a country the size of a community. Religious and nationalist Jews need exactly this minuscule place to practice our values; indeed, no one would suggest a mountaintop to nudists asking for a beach: the land should be proper for the intended use. On the other hand, it makes no difference whatsoever to the leftist Jews whether they live in Tel Aviv or Toronto; indeed, every value of theirs is better realized in Toronto.

trade Olmert for Ovadia Yosef

We don’t need to argue that Israeli Arabs or the ultra-left are bad citizens. Even if they are paragons of loyalty, this state is Jewish. Not only the state of Jews, but Jewish. We want the businesses closed on Sabbath, no leaven sold on Pesach, no Jews taxed to subsidize Arabs, and no Arabs spitting on Jews from the Temple Mount. It is not an issue of an ultra-Orthodox state but of the basic conformance to Jewish values, sort of what Israel more or less practiced even twenty years ago.

The United Stated is a republic, not democracy: it has some basic values which the majority cannot alter. Thus, a majority cannot vote to enslave minorities, and at least for now the Supreme Court would strike down a law allowing polygamy – that’s a purely religious issue since it’s inconceivable that polygamous Muslims are less moral than monogamous Christians. And the exemplary Greek democracies were, by modern standards, totalitarian theocracies: it was unthinkable in Athens to secularize or offend local deities. Israel, the newest civilized state, accepted libertarian nonsense of a pure democracy where all values are subject to majority decision, but even that approach is practiced inconsistently: Israel allows the majority to vote against religious symbolism in public life, but doesn’t allow the same majority to vote on the ostensibly racist proposition of divesting from Arabs.

The call for a moderately religious state is perfectly consistent with republicanism and true liberalism, and even allows democracy in the framework of a Jewish state.