Advertisement

Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 87–104 | Cite as

Politicized Secularism in Israel: Secularists as a Party to Communal Conflict

  • Nadav ShelefEmail author
Article

Abstract

Most of the attention paid to the religious–secular conflict in Israel has been devoted to the religious side. As a result, secular Israelis remain conceptualized as a residual category, as atomized individuals who share little but a lack of religiosity, and thus as passive subjects in the conflict. Drawing on lessons from identity politics, this article argues that secular fear of the religious, especially the ultra-orthodox, has led segments of the secular Israeli public increasingly to think of themselves as secularists, making their shared ‘non-religious’ identity politically relevant. To the extent that secularist social and political entrepreneurs succeed in bringing this about, the relationship between religious and secular is likely to resemble inter-communal conflict rather than tension between interest groups within a single community.

Keywords

Secular Religious–secular conflict Identity politics Israel 

References

  1. Barnea, Miriam, and Yehuda Amir. 1981. Attitudes and attitude change following intergroup contact of religious and nonreligious students in Israel. The Journal of Social Psychology 115: 65–71.Google Scholar
  2. Canaani, David. 1976. Ha-aliya hashniya haovedet ve-yahasa le-dat u-le-masoret. Tel Aviv: Sifriyat Poalim.Google Scholar
  3. Caplan, Kimmy, and Emmanuel Sivan, eds. 2003. Israeli Haredim: Integration without Assimilation? Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House.Google Scholar
  4. Chandra, Kanchan. 2006. What is ethnic identity and does it matter? Annual Review of Political Science 9: 397–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, Arye Dean. 1997. Pupils who write their own ten commandments. The Jerusalem Post, September 30.Google Scholar
  6. Connolly, William E. 1999. Why I am not a secularist. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Derfner, Larry. 1997. War of words. The Jerusalem Post, July 4.Google Scholar
  8. Deutsch, Gloria. 1994. Changing places. The Jerusalem Post, March 18.Google Scholar
  9. Dowty, Alan. 1998. The Jewish State: A century later. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Drok, Moses. 1980. Sefer HaKnessiah Hagdolah HaShisheet Be’Yerushalim. Jerusalem: Agudat Yisrael.Google Scholar
  11. Etzioni-Halevy, Eva. 2000. The divided people. Kfar Saba: Aryeh Nir Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Fearon, James D., and David D. Laitin. 1996. Explaining interethnic cooperation. American Political Science Review 90: 715–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feige, Michael. 2003. A vision of the broken bones: Haredim versus archeologists in the city of David. In Israeli Haredim: Integration without assimilation?, ed. Kimmy Caplan, and Emmanuel Sivan. Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House.Google Scholar
  14. Finestein, Israel. 1977. The secular Jew: Does he exist and why? Jewish Journal of Sociology 19: 185–195.Google Scholar
  15. Freedman, Robert O. 1989. Religion, politics, and the Israeli elections of 1988. Middle East Journal 43: 406–422.Google Scholar
  16. Friedman, Menachem. 1991. The Haredi Ultra-Orthodox Society: Sources trends and processes. Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.Google Scholar
  17. Friedman, Menachem. 1993. The ultra-orthodox and Israeli Society. In Wither Israel? The domestic challenges, ed. Keith Kyle, and Joel Peters. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
  18. Friedman, Menachem. 1996. Relations between religious and secular Jews against the background of the peace negotiations. In Israeli Society and the challenge of transition to co-existence, ed. Tamar Hermann, and Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar. Tel Aviv: The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research.Google Scholar
  19. Fund, Yossef. 1999. Separation or participation: Agudat Israel confronting Zionism and the state of Israel. Jerusalem: The Mages Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gitelman, Zvi, ed. 2009. Religion or ethnicity: Jewish identities in evolution. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Goldberg, Giora. 1994. The Israeli voter 1992. Jerusalem: I.L. Magnes.Google Scholar
  22. Gordon, Carol. 1989. Mutual perceptions of religious and secular Jews in Israel. Journal of Conflict Resolution 33: 632–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gorni, Yosef. 1987. Al ‘nimoos’ hevrati ve-interes leumi le-she’elat ha-du-kium bein hilonim le-datiyim ba-tenuah ha-zionit. In Kehunah u-melukhah: yahase dat u-medinah be-Yisrael uva-’amim: kovets ma’amarim, ed. Gafni Isaiah, and Gabriel Motzkin. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center.Google Scholar
  24. Greilsammer, Ilan. 1986. Campaign strategies of the Israeli Religious Parties, 1981–1984. In The elections in Israel—1984, ed. Asher Arian, and Michal Shamir. Tel Aviv: Ramot Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  25. Gutmann, Emanuel. 1993. The Israeli Left. In Wither Israel? The domestic challenges, ed. Keith Kyle, and Joel Peters. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
  26. Hale, Henry E. 2004. Explaining ethnicity. Comparative Political Studies 37: 458–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Herman, Tamar. 1989. Mimshal u-politikah bi-medinat Yisrael: Unit 9. Raanana: The Open University of Israel.Google Scholar
  28. Horowitz, Donald. 1985. Ethnic groups in conflict. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Israeli National Elections Study, 2003. http://www.ines.tau.ac.il/2006.html. Accessed 29 June 2009.
  30. Israeli National Elections Study, 2006. http://www.ines.tau.ac.il/2006.html. Accessed 29 June 2009.
  31. Izenberg, Dan. 1992. Aloni advocates ‘right to be different’. The Jerusalem Post, July 17.Google Scholar
  32. Izenberg, Dan. 1997a. From suburban dream to battleground. The Jerusalem Post, December 5.Google Scholar
  33. Izenberg, Dan. 1997b. Values clash. The Jerusalem Post, April 18.Google Scholar
  34. Jobani, Yuval. 2008. Three basic models of secular Jewish culture. Israel Studies 13: 160–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Katz, Gideon. 2008. The Israeli Kulturkampf. Israel Affairs 14: 237–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Katz, Shmuel. 1993. Jabo- biyografyah shel Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Tel Aviv: Dvir Publishing House.Google Scholar
  37. Kimmerling, Baruch. 1999. Between Hegemony and dormant KulturKampf in Israel. In Search of identity: Jewish aspects in Israeli Culture, ed. Dan Urian, and Efraim Karsh. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  38. Kosmin, Barry Alexander, and Ariela Keysar, eds. 2007. Secularism & secularity: Contemporary international perspectives. Hartford, CT: Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture.Google Scholar
  39. Lapid, Tommy. 1999. “Not Just Negative”: The Secular Institute. HaShinui 1.Google Scholar
  40. Lehman-Wilzig, Sam N. 1992. Wildfire: Grassroots revolts in Israel in the Post-Socialist Era. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  41. Levy, Shlomit, and Elihu Katz. 2005. Dynamics of inter-group relations in Israel: 1967–2002. Social Indicators Research 74: 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Levy, Shlomit, Hanna Levinsohn, and Elihu Katz. 1993. Beliefs, observance, and social relations among the Jews in Israel. Jerusalem: The Guttman Center for Applied Social Research.Google Scholar
  43. Liebman, Charles S. 1997a. Academics and other intellectuals. In The Jewishness of Israelis, ed. Charles S. Liebman, and Elihu Katz. Albany: Suny Press.Google Scholar
  44. Liebman, Charles S. 1997b. Reconceptualizing the culture conflict among Israeli Jews. Israel Studies 2: 172–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Liebman, Charles S. 1999. Secular Judaism and Its Prospects. In In search of identity: Jewish aspects in Israeli Culture, ed. Dan Urian, and Efraim Karsh. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  46. Liebman, Charles, and Yaacov Yadgar. 2009. Secular-Jewish identity and the condition of secular Judaism in Israel. In Religion or ethnicity? Jewish identities in evolution, ed. Zvi Gitelman. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Malkin, Yaacov. 2000. What do secular Jews believe?. Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim.Google Scholar
  48. Melman, Yossi. 1993. The new Israelis: An intimate view of a changing people. Tel Aviv: Schocken Publishing.Google Scholar
  49. Meretz. 1992. Meretz Basic Principles.Google Scholar
  50. Naor, Arye. 2001. Eretz Yisrael ha-shelemah: emunah u-mediniyut. Haifa: University of Haifa Press.Google Scholar
  51. Nir, Yoel. 1999. Arye Deri: The rise, the crisis, the pain. Tel-Aviv: Miskal-Yedioth Ahronot Books and Chemed Books.Google Scholar
  52. Paritzky, Yossef. 1999. Is a social pact between religious and secular possible? HaShinui 1.Google Scholar
  53. Peled, Yoav. 1998. Towards a redefinition of Jewish nationalism in Israel? The enigma of Shas. Ethnic and Racial Studies 21: 703–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peres, Yochanan. 2006. The religious-secular cleavage in contemporary Israel. In Jewry between tradition and secularism: Europe and Israel compared, ed. Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Thomas Gergely, and Yosef Gorny. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  55. Posen, Barry. 1993. The security dilemma and ethnic conflict. Survival 35: 27–47.Google Scholar
  56. Posner, Daniel N. 2004. The political salience of cultural difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are allies in Zambia and adversaries in Malawi. American Political Science Review 98: 529–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Price, Robert. 1997. Race and reconciliation in the New South Africa. Politics & Society 25: 149–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rafael, Lior Ben-Chaim. 2006. Ultra-orthodox, orthodox, and secular women in college. In Jewry between tradition and secularism: Europe and Israel compared, ed. Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Thomas Gergely, and Yosef Gorny. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  59. Ravitzky, Aviezer. 2000. Religious and secular in Israel: A Kulturekampf?. Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute.Google Scholar
  60. Ravitzky, Aviezer. 2005. Covenant of faith or covenant of fate? Competing orthodox conceptions of the secular Jews. In Creation and re-creation in Jewish thought: Festschrift in honor of Joseph Dan on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, ed. Rachel Elior, and Peter Schafer. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  61. Rifkin, Naomi. 1996. My hands did not shed this blood. Kibbutz Trends 21: 21–22.Google Scholar
  62. Rodik, Yohai. 1988. Eretz Ge’ulah. Jerusalem: The Center for Rabbi Kook’s legacy.Google Scholar
  63. Rosenblum, Jonathan. 1997. The final exile of Jews among Jews. The Jerusalem Post, July 4.Google Scholar
  64. Rothschild, Joseph. 1981. Ethnopolitics: A conceptual framework. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Sagi, Avi. 2006. On religious-secular tensions. In Jewry between tradition and secularism: Europe and Israel compared, ed. Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Thomas Gergely, and Yosef Gorny. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  66. Schwartz, Dov. 1997. Eretz ha-mamashut veha-dimyon: ma’amahda shel Eretz-Yisrael be-hagut ha-tsiyonit ha-datit. Tel Aviv: Am Oved.Google Scholar
  67. Shamir, Michal, and Asher Arian. 1999. Collective identity and electoral competition in Israel. American Political Science Review 93: 265–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Shapira, Anita. 1997. Yehudim hadashim, yehudim yeshanim. Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers.Google Scholar
  69. Shavid, Eliezer. 1984. Between religious and secular: In the thicket of the break, the polarization and the fear. Nekuda 71.Google Scholar
  70. Shavit, Yaacov. 1986. ha-Mitologyot shel ha-yamin. Israel: Beit Berl and the Moshe Sharett Institute.Google Scholar
  71. Shelef, Nadav G. (forthcoming). Evolving nationalism: Homeland, religion and national identity in Israel, 19252005. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Shilhav, Yosseph. 1984. Spatial strategies of the “Haredi” population in Jerusalem. Socio-economic Planning Sciences 18: 411–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shilhav, Yosseph. 2007. Jewish territoriality between land and state. National Identities 9: 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Shinui. 1999. Hashinui 1.Google Scholar
  75. Shinui. 2000. Results of an opinion survey about attitudes towards Shinui. HaShinui 4.Google Scholar
  76. Stanislawski, Michael. 1999. The crisis of Jewish secularism. In Creating the Jewish future, ed. Michael Brown, and Bernard Lightman. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  77. Susser, Bernard, and Charles S. Liebman. 1999. Choosing survival: Strategies for a Jewish future. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Tabory, Ephraim. 1993. Avoidance and conflict: Perceptions regarding contact between religious and nonreligious Jewish youth in Israel. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 32: 148–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tepperman, Jonathan. 1997. Lubavitch Hassidim, secular group clash in Ramat Aviv. The Jerusalem Post, July 3.Google Scholar
  80. The Israeli National Elections Studies. 1999. Israeli National Elections Study, 1999. http://www.ines.tau.ac.il/1999.html. Accessed 29 June 2009.
  81. Varshney, Ashutosh. 2002. Ethnic conflict and civic life: Hindus and muslims in India. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Warhaftig, Zerach. 1998. Hamishim shanah ve-shanah: pirke zikhronot. Jerusalem: Yad Shapira.Google Scholar
  83. Wohlgelernter, Elli. 1997. Have the haredim won the battle for Bar-Ilan. The Jerusalem Post, April 18.Google Scholar
  84. Yadgar, Yaacov, and Charles Liebman. 2009. Beyond the religious-secular dichotomy: Masortim in Israel. In Religion or ethnicity? Jewish identities in evolution, ed. Zvi Gitelman. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Young, Crawford. 1976. The politics of cultural pluralism. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  86. Yovel, Yirmiyahu, ed. 2007. New Jewish time: Jewish culture in a secular age—An encyclopedic view. Tel Aviv: Keter Publishing.Google Scholar
  87. Yuchtman-Ya’ar, E., and Y. Peres. 2000. Between consent and dissent: Democracy and peace in the Israeli mind. New York: Roman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  88. Yudelman, Michal. 1996a. Aloni warns against ‘Jewish Ayatollahs’. Jerusalem Post, December 3.Google Scholar
  89. Yudelman, Michal. 1996b. The invasion of the ‘soul snatchers’. The Jerusalem Post, December 5.Google Scholar
  90. Zameret, Zvi. 2002. Medina yehudit - ken; medina clericalit - lo: rashei Mapai ve-yahasm la-dat ve-la-datiyim. In Shene ‘evre ha-gesher: dat u-medinah be-reshit darkah shel Yisrael, ed. Mordechai Bar-On, and Zvi Zameret. Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Press.Google Scholar
  91. Zucker, Dedi. 1999. We the secular Jews—What is secular Jewish identity?. Tel Aviv: Miskal.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Assistant Professor of Modern Israel StudiesUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations