Cite: Kaye, Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism

Kaye, Alexander. “Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 8-30.



Religious Zionists who wanted to preserve their commitments to tradition and the Jewish state had to address the difficulties of applying tradition to new realities. The main challenge for them arose from the democratic nature of the new State of Israel. Between 1948 and the mid-1950s, Zionist leaders and thinkers contributed to the evolving dialectical relationship between a secular, modern democracy and traditional Jewish culture based on halakah. Religious Zionists were very much aware of the challenge that democratic principles posed to the Jewish tradition and were often reluctant to compromise their halakic commitments for the sake of the demands of a democratic state. Thus, scholarship has focused on the confrontation, compatibility, or compromise between religion and modernity in the Zionist context as if they are two distinct and opposing spheres. In these sketches of halakic argumentation among religious Zionists in the early years of Israel, I try to complicate this picture.

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