The state of Israel as a product of the Zionist movement, at the end of the 19th century, considers and defines itself (even 66 years after it was first formed) as a "Jewish and democratic state". The inherent tension in the definition of a Jewish state in Israel, and democracy, do not go hand in hand. The Declaration of Independence on the 14th principles of the established Jewish state:
"[…] the state of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and the gathering of Jews in exile. It will devote itself to the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants. It will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the Prophets of Israel. It will guarantee all its citizens social and political equality regardless of religion, race or sex. It will ensure freedom of religion and conscience, language, education and culture, take the holy sites under its protection and remain faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."1
The above extract outlines the conflict between the Zionist project stuck in the "Judaization" of Eretz Israel and the claim of the new state on democratic and liberal values. Universal concepts such as "freedom, justice and peace" are not compatible with or in the national interests of a Jewish state in Israel. The Zionist project should be based on liberal principles and rely simultaneously on biblical sources of the "visions of the prophet of Israel". The Declaration of Independence is often seen as a liberal-democratic fundament for the coexistence of Jewish and Palestinian citizens. But the "Jewish Code"2 still remains the main pillar of Israel.
Different ideas of democracy
Since the 80s and 90s, Israeli research has debated about the correct designation of the constitution of their state. The traditional research relies on the Declaration of Independence when it calls the Israeli policy a liberal democracy. The authors can thereby be classified into three categories: the non-critical, the moderate and the critical authors. The non-critical authors underline the "democratic" element in the self-concept of the "Jewish and democratic state" and refer to its disposition as a liberal3 or constitutional democracy4, but also as a consociational5 democracy.
Moderate authors focus on the "Jewish-ethnical" aspect and conceive Israel as either an "ethnical democracy"6, a "Jewish democracy" or a "Theo-democracy"7. All these research opinions in principle assume that the Israeli political system is fundamentally democratic. This assumption also shared by relatively critical researchers indicates significant deficits to this democracy, although they only investigate the heartland of Israel, that is, the area in the so-called armistice boundaries of 1949–1967.
The critical authors, in contrast, insist on the entire area of Palestine/Eretz Israel being a relevant aspect for the question of the political organization of the state, because Israel has demonstrated political-military and socio-economic dominance in this area since 1967.These authors come from two considerations to the conclusion that the Israeli government could hardly be described as a democracy: firstly, because the country had declared its policy of "Judaization of the country" for reasons of state; secondly, this policy restricts the lives of non-Jews. This field of research uses in reference to Israeli terms, such as: "a hybrid of democracy and military occupation"8, "ethnocracy"9, "herrenvolkdemocracy"10 and also "apartheid".11
Zionism thus sees only Jews as members of the state.
How can Israel's constitution be defined correctly? Israel adopting Zionism as a state doctrine for its political system is beyond question. In what way? And what does that mean for the constitution of Israel? The Zionist project aims to follow Theodor Herzl's idea of "a Jewish state". This should in turn be open to the Jewish people and nationalised by the diaspora in their homes. Zionism thus sees only Jews as members of the state. The chosen territory, referred to in Hebrew as "Eretz Israel", was originally occupied by Palestines.
Judaization as reason of state
The objectives of an Israeli state, up to and including present day, have always been driven by Zionist beliefs. This is the dialogue of Zionist Israel.12 Accordingly, the population policy of Israel commits itself to the task of "Judaization of the country": The conquest of land, immigration, settlement and security, belonging to the principles of the policy. However, in view of the de facto binational reality in Palestine, Israel's political order remains inherently and structurally conflicting.
Even 66 years after the founding of the state, and in spite of a bitter conflict over Palestine, the direction of the Zionist state is not really up for grabs. On the contrary, the last few years have attempted to define the existing de facto structures.13
Zionism excludes compromises
Therefore, to what extent can democracy cope with Zionist Israel? This question depends on the compromises that Israel would be willing to make. It could begin with the state being defined as a "Jewish state" or, in other words "of state people around the world nationalizing Jewish people". Would Israel be willing to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians and thus dispense with the "myth of Eretz Israel as a country of the Jewish people"?
Since Israel is not willing to make any of these compromises, the Zionist heritage continues to shape the political order and culture. Hence, a "civil-militarized democracy" or a "democracy in weapons" is historically developed. The land conflict is closely related to the conflict in the Middle East, accompanied by a compulsory military service. As a consequence of the ongoing state of war a principle of faith has been established over the years. According to this, security constitutes the guarantee of the existence of the Jewish nation state. This principle of faith is also referred to as a safety myth.14
The established safety myth is based on a Jewish passion – their history of prosecution that stems from the view of the indissolubility of the hostile conditions between Jews and non-Jews. For the modern Israel this means maintaining military power and using it repeatedly.
The Middle East conflict and the permanent state of war since 1948, have dominated Israel's political constitution fundamentally. They live in a permanent state of war. The Israeli Army is prepared for regional military power. The special status of the military and the security apparatus in that order has long been established. The civil-militarized democracy of Israel also means, that Israeli society has transferred the whole complexity of security policy to the state and its apparatuses of violence. These are considered to be the exclusive authority for security.
The consequence is the paradox of a weak society and a strong state: Israel's civil-militarized democracy is a result of the depoliticisation of security and, finally, the depoliticisation of the conflict. The result: Military control is required, not a political solution. For political Israel, the conflict with the Palestinians remains a necessary price for the nascent Jewish nation-state, as indispensable in the land of Israel. Therefore, it is to be assumed that Zionist Israel will gradually be unable to withstand democracy, as it is commonly understood – indeed, at some point down the line, they will not be able to sustain it anymore.
 Cf. URL: http://www.hagalil.com/israel/independence/azmauth.htm, 26.3.2015.
 The term "Jewish Code" basically enfolds the equalisation of nation and religion as it is naturally predetermined by the political order. It also includes the self-conception of the jewisch people as a subject of state. The sociologist Baruch Kimmerling coined the term in the early 1990s.
 Neuberger, Benyamin: Democracy in Israel: Origins and Development,Tel Aviv 1998.
 Eisenstadt, Shmuel N.: The Transformation of Israeli Society, London 1985.
 Horowitz, Dan; Lissak, Moshe: Trouble in Utopia: The Overburdened Polity of Israel, New York 1990.
 Smooha, Sammy: Ethnische Demokratie: Israel als Proto-Typ, in: Genosar, Pinchas; Bareli, Avi (Eds.): Zionismus: Eine zeitgenössische Debatte, Israel 1996, pp. 277-311.
 Kimmerling, Baruch: Religion, Nationalismus und Demokratie in Israel, Zmanim 50-51, Historical Journal of the University of Tel Aviv, pp. 116-131, Tel Aviv 1994.
 Azoulay, Ariella; Ophir, Adi: This Regime Which Is Not One: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and the River (1967 – ), Stanford 2011.
 Yiftachel, Oren: "Ethnocracy": The Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine, in: Constellations. An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, New York 1999, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 364-390.
 Benvenisti, Meron: The West Bank Data Project 1987 Report: Demographic, Economic, Legal, Social and Political Development in the West Bank, Jerusalem 1987.
 Davis, Uri: Apartheid Israel, Possibilities for the Struggle Within, London/New York 2003.
 Amar-Dahl, Tamar: Das zionistische Israel. Jüdischer Nationalismus und die Geschichte des Nahostkonflikts, Paderborn 2012.
 Harel, Israel: Wer hat Angst vor dem Grundgesetz: Jüdischer Nationalstaat?, in: Haaretz (30.05.2013).
 Amar-Dahl 2012, pp. 224-231.