On Religion and Nationality
Are the Jewish people unique in that their nationality and their religion are tied together?
Dr. Alexander Yakobson of Hebrew University believes that Israel is one of many democratic countries which equate religious identity with national identity. He draws parallels with Greece, Ireland and Tibet (to name a few).
Yakobson explains: “There is nothing extraordinary about a nation-state of a people whose history and culture strongly connect it to a certain religion. This connection, apart from being a fact of cultural and social life, can also be enshrined in a country’s constitution and embodied in its national symbols” – even, he adds, if the people who describe themselves by that identity do not, in fact, follow the religion.