Ethno-religious Fundamentalism and Theo-ethnocratic Politics in Israel

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This article addresses the transition of a fundamentalist confrontational religious ideology into an assertive, religio-nationalist ideology by the case of the ethno-Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) Shas party in Israel. Alongside the haredi proclivity towards insularity, we also detect, in recent decades, two new trends within the haredi mainstream. First, we see increasing numbers of haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews) integrating into different frameworks that are situated outside of the haredi enclave: the job market, the army, welfare and charity organizations, and more. A second trend, which I will elaborate upon here, is a fundamentalist religious interpretation of elements of Israeli national identity. This trend seeks to view Jewish law, in its orthodox interpretation, as a source for the conservation and maintenance of Jewish identity in Israel: firstly, through the turning of haredism into a dominant factor in the religio-communal arena in Israel; and secondly, through assuming responsibility for demarcating the boundaries of the Jewish collective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-35
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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