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Jewish identity in Israel. Our plan for today:. The political-religious connection A map of religious groups Some historical landmarks of religion in Israel. The theological roots: attitude of four main religious groups to Zionism and redemption

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our plan for today
Our plan for today:
  • The political-religious connection
  • A map of religious groups
  • Some historical landmarks of religion in Israel.
  • The theological roots: attitude of four main religious groups to Zionism and redemption
  • Focus on UO sector: characteristics and contemporary trends.
  • (Radical RZ and Shas – overview)
  • (The secular-Religious conflict in Israel).
demographics of jewish population in israel
Demographics of Jewish Population in Israel:
  • 40-45% secular (5% anti-religious)
  • 35% - 40% “mesorati” (traditional)
    • (27% non religious “mesorati”
    • 12% religious “mesorati”)
  • 9%- 12% Orthodox
  • 5-10% Ultra-Orthodox
  • 1945 - Few UO Holocaust survivors
  • 1947 - Ben Gurion’s “Status quo” with Aguda.
  • 1949 - “Unified religious front” part of first government (includes Haredim)
  • 1950’s - First conflicts: Aguda leaves government over women soldiers, Ben Gurion resigns over Yemenite’s religious education.
  • 1962 - Legal issues: Who is a Jew? Brother Daniel.
  • 1977 – Religious parties caused downfall of government over desecration of Sabbath.
  • Gradually, increased power, more political parties. (in current Knesset: 3 umbrella parties)
  • 1999 – “the ½ million demonstration” against high court’s anti religious bias.
  • 2000 – Tal Law – attempt to regulate and minimize UO exemption from IDF service.
in sum four main religious stances to israel are
In sum, four main religious stances to Israel are:
  • Extreme rejection of Zionism, demonization of Israel.
  • Rejection of secular character of State.
  • Compartmentalization
  • Expansion: Israel=ongoing redemption.
the two extremes radical uo and radical rz share the following
The two extremes, radical uo and radical rz, share the following:
  • Deterministic messianism
  • Essentialism
  • Perfectionism

This leads both to reject the state of Israel, its law, and pragmatic politics.

(Ravitzky, 1993)

moderate uo and moderate rz share the following
Moderate UO and moderate RZ share the following:
  • A commitment to Jewish Israeli peoplehood
  • An attempt to direct Israel to a more religious path.
  • (relatively) pragmatic political involvement.

However, they differ on:

  • The question of Zionism
  • Stance towards modernity
  • Stance towards the “secular”
  • Stance towards army service, state civil religion and “common narrative”.
the uo sector some basic characteristics22
The UO sector, some basic characteristics:
  • About 600,000 people today.
  • Although presented as traditional, are a modern phenomenon: traditionalists.
  • Ultra Halachically observant; Orthopraxis as core.
  • Value religious radicalism.
the uo sector some basic characteristics23
The UO sector, some basic characteristics:
  • Enclave community.
  • Learners community.
  • Comprehensive; religious norms govern all areas of life from show lace tying to agricultural planting.
  • Hierarchical; “The table test”.
  • Overtly, still a-zionist (most) or anti-zionist (minority). However, many identify with Israeli public; participate in Zionist political system.
the uo sector some basic characteristics24
The UO sector, some basic characteristics:
  • very poor population (56% below poverty line, earn on average ½ of Israeli population’s salary)
  • Strong gender segregation
  • High rate of childbirth (n=6.5)
  • Anti-modernity values, but not technology.
  • Gradually changing in both radical and modern directions.
  • Complex theological changes.
influence of radicalism
Influence of radicalism:

“All the Great leaders of Israel have warned us that the impurity of Zionism is the root and source of all the troubles that are in the world, spiritually and concretely”.

increased political involvement
Increased political involvement:

“Answer to the soldier and the policeman

According to the laws of the Torah it is forbidden completely to transfer Jewish land to a non-Jew”.

increased expressions of racism
Increased expressions of racism:


“Preserve your souls!

A serious warning to the population that rides Geula taxis between BneiBrak and Jerusalem: Beware, most of the drivers are Arabs, avid supporters of Hamas. Their Koran commands every single Arab to destroy the Jews”.

computers are becoming more common
Computers are becoming more common:

The danger of the computer.

Recently new destructive focres that we never imagined have caused many of us to bring into our homes through computers poison that kills, God forbid, and threatens to destroy the entire sanctity of the Jewish home”