The state of Israel is in political turmoil as it marks its 75th anniversary. While there is still no end in sight to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli society itself is more divided than ever before.

The founding of the Jewish state was a dream come true for Jews around the world. It came just a few years after the genocide of the Holocaust and 2,000 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple and the exile from Israel.

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read out the Israeli Declaration of Independence in a small building in the center of Tel Aviv. Ever since its foundation, Israel has had a checkered history. As well as ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, it has seen poverty and hardship, but also economic prosperity and social advances over the past 75 years. In addition, Israel enjoys political and military superiority in the region. At the same time, the state is now going through its deepest-ever domestic crisis. Israel is socially, politically and religiously polarized.

One reason for that are the plans put forward by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing religiously conservative government. The reforms are designed to reduce the power of the Supreme Court. Critics regard the move as an assault on democracy and an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary. For months now, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been protesting against the proposals.

In his documentary, ZDF correspondent Michael Bewerunge investigates what has become of the aspirations of the nation’s founders and how people today are living the Jewish dream.

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