Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Gidon Sapir


From the establishment of the State of Israel until very recently, the issue of religion and state was handled in Israel according to the doctrine of status quo. As a result, matters of religion and state have changed little from the time the State of Israel was established. Underlying the status quo-viewed as an informal "gag rule"-was the perception that it served as a necessary condition for the emergence, maintenance and stability of democracy in Israel. Yet on many occasions over the past several years, once latent disagreements over matters of religion and state have become a major source of political and cultural tensions in Israeli society.

Drawing on political and constitutional theory, this essay advocates that Israel abandon the status quo and in its stead adopt an entrenched, formal gag rule. Although concerned with gag rules in Israel, this paper has broader relevance; it analyzes and evaluates various types of gag rules.