Prominent political theorist Ira Sharkansky looks at the intersection of religion and politics, using the case of Israelwhere a chief rabbi officiates along with a prime ministerto examine how the two inform each other. Focusing more on similarities than differences, Sharkansky demonstrates that both religion and politics can justify their position on the moral high ground. Both are involved in shaping our values and standard of living; however, neither religion nor politics can claim a monopoly of virtue: Political demagogues have their religious equivalents in self-serving prophets and false messiahs, and politicians and religious leaders both may violate the morality that they preach. Sharkansky examines the place of intellectual certainty, doubt, charisma, and passion in both realms. He argues that Israel, among other Western democracies where politics and religion intersect, supports a successful fusion of the two.
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About the Author
Ira Sharkansky is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of many books on policy and politics in Israel and the United States, including Ancient and Modern Israel (1991), Governing Jerusalem (1996), Policy Making in Israel (1997), and Ambiguity, Coping, and Governance (1999).