Right, Identity and Citizenship
Martin Buber at the Leo Baeck Institute:
The Relevance of Buber in Today’s Israeli Society
Right, Identity, and Citizenship
Introductory remarks: Prof. Paul Mendes Flohr
Welcoming address: Prof. Galili Shahar
Discussants: Prof. Rivka Feldhay and Prof. Raif Zarik
Chair: Dr. Yemima Hadad
Our discussion will address three dimensions: the historical, the conceptual, and the current.
We shall begin with a very brief history of the concept of citizenship that evolved from the reality of subjects of the absolute sovereign ruler in the seventeenth century and which acquired its modern dimensions for the first time in the French revolution. We shall examine the liberating potential of citizenship based on the perception of the citizen as individual, leading up to the declaration of rights of freedom and equality. We shall touch on liberalism and the critique of liberalism from the communitarian perspective, and consider the logic that constructs this critique. Finally, through the concept of the “divided” identity – the two-faced individual as Buber saw it – we shall question the critique and link these themes to the current situation in today’s Israel.