Daniel J. Elazar, PhD, the late Professor of Political Science at Temple University, Philadelphia, in a 1990 Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs essay titled "Israel as a Jewish State," wrote:
"Israel is formally a secular, democratic state, the only one in the Middle East besides Turkey, but its calendar and rhythm are deliberately Jewish in the same way that the calendars and rhythms of the states of the Christian world are Christian, and of the Muslim world, Muslim.
The Sabbath and Jewish holidays are official days of rest in Israel, albeit on social rather than religious grounds. Public and government bodies display Jewish symbols, whether mezzuzot on every doorpost in every public building or Hanukkah lights on top of every city hall at the appropriate season.
The Israel Defense Forces, El Al -- the national airline, and all other public institutions maintain Jewish dietary laws and an agreed-on modicum of Sabbath observance. Hebrew is the official and principal language of the country (Arabic is also an official language and English a recognized one). Because language is the principal bearer of culture, it strengthens the Jewish cultural identity of the state.
Even the most secular Israeli public figures use biblical and talmudic expressions in their speeches and discussions as a matter of second nature."
The 1948 Israeli Declaration of Statehood, contained the following statement regarding the freedom of religion:
"It [the State of Israel] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture."
Jamal Zahalka, PhD, a member of the Israeli Knesset (Balad Party - Arab), in a Feb. 28, 2007 interview posted on Z-Net online political magazine titled "A State of all its Citizens," said:
state should be the state of all its citizens, in equality. That’s
modern democracy, based on the equal human being, not the hierarchical
human being. This is so important that no one in Israeli politics can
ignore it. It explores the real nature of the Israeli state. Not just
equality between Jews and Arabs, but the very nature of the state.
Israel is not a secular state – it has not even reached the point of
separation of religion and state. You can’t separate religion and state
so long as the state is defined as a Jewish state. To come to the point
of separation of religion and state, the state should be the state of
all its citizens."