Cite: Fuchs, The Yeshiva as a Political Institution

Fuchs, Ilan. “The Yeshiva as a Political Institution.” Modern Judaism 33.3 (2013): 357-80.



After 1973 Gush Emunim (the Block of the Faithful) emerged, causing a major change in the Israeli political map by shifting the religious national party to the right. While scholars disagree about its original messianic element, Rabbi Kook’s teachings became a leading force both in the religious Zionist camp and in the settlement movement. In religious Zionism there was growing currency for a narrative using Rabbi Kook’s terminology to interpret the political process: the victory in the Six-Day War was a milestone in the redemption process and an opportunity to attain a leadership position in Israeli society.

This paved a way for a new agenda for the Religious Zionist community.Students of the Kook circle were to strive for positions of leadership in all areas of life such as army service, building settlements (mainly in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip), and in the traditional political arenas of the legislative and executive branches of the Israeli government. Rabbi Kook’s brand of Religious Zionism offered an alternative to the old secular Zionist hegemony. A new narrative was crafted calling for a reshuffling of power and a reawakening of the dormant forces in the religious community that had long been peripheral to the Zionist enterprise. The place that carved this ideological agenda and articulated it to the young generation was the Zionist yeshiva.

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