Yael Dayan: it takes more than birth to be Jewish
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11/12/10 Doris Norrito
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

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Yael Dayan, Israeli human rights activist


photo by Doris Norrito

Yael Dayan says Jewish identity is a concern of everyday life for Jews. She grew up in Israel and describes herself as a secular Jew. Beyond religion, beyond the common Hebrew language and traditions, Dayan says common values bind Jews from all over the world.

Around the world Jews were usually a minority, and that led to discrimination. Dayan said that in Israel, for the first time, Jews became a majority, and that such a big change created other problems.

Dayan acknowledges the diversity of Israel’s population. Although Israel was established as a Jewish state, according to ABC News, 20 percent of the population is non-Jewish, and many who identify themselves as Jewish, are not religious.

Dayan served in the Knesset where she legislated for the rights of women and gays. Some of the practices of the Orthodox Jewish community are still practiced. She said all women must fight for legislation that gives all women freedom to choose.

Dayan asks hard questions about being Jewish when Israel acts against its own fundamental beliefs.

Dayan said she believes in a two-state solution -- separate states for Israelis and Palestinians with East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine. Referring to the proposed oath that non-Jews in Israel take an oath of allegiance to a Jewish state, she said “it would never happen.”

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