Adjudicating the spiritual world in Israeli courts: dilemmas of equality of justice

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In this article, I examine how the Israeli legal system grapples with cases involving the spiritual world. Many Israelis do not separate the natural from the supernatural in their understanding of causation or in their attribution of responsibility and culpability, and as a result, they expect the legal system to regulate social life in the spiritual world as well as the natural one. This article examines the ways in which the Israeli legal system confronts three cases culled from the lives of religious Israeli Jews: claims of domestic abuse; ceremonial curses conducted in public; and political parties' appeals to voters with promises of religious salvation and/or threats of damnation. This article raises significant questions regarding legal equality for those citizens whose understandings of justice extend into the spiritual world, when the law fails to follow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalReligion, State and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Israel
  • Religion
  • law
  • secularism
  • state


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