Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 91-106

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Political Use of the Teshuva Cassette Culture in Israel

  • Nissim LeonAffiliated withThe Sociology and Anthropology Department, Bar-Ilan University Email author 


The present work of ethnography describes the political uses of audiotapes and videotapes by religious fundamentalists in Israel during the 1990s. The article deals with the use of the teshuva cassette culture in constructing Shas’s political message in the 1999 Knesset elections. Shas presented the video- and audiotape “J’Accuse” as a way of contending with the crisis of confidence that resulted from the criminal conviction of its political leader. But the content of the cassette was not the only message. The cassette replicated the way the teshuva-movement tapes undermined and criticized the mainstream media discourse during the 1990s in Israel. In fact the cassette itself was the message. And this message should be studied in relation to the way the teshuva movement designed the cassette culture as a source of religious truth as well as political truth being concealed from the public.


Teshuva movement Cassette culture Shas Aryeh Deri