New Article: Baumgart-Ochse, Religious and Secular Conceptions of National Identity in Israel

Baumgart-Ochse, Claudia. “Opposed or Intertwined? Religious and Secular Conceptions of National Identity in Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Politics, Religion & Ideology (early view)





The State of Israel seems to be caught in a protracted conflict – not only with the Palestinians, but also between secular and religious variants of national identity. Moreover, both conflicts intersect: While the secular population is held to be the liberal, peaceful part of Israeli society which is ready for a compromise with the Palestinians, the religious nationalists are identified with hawkish policies and the settlement project in the occupied Palestinian territories. This common perception reflects the secularist assumption that religion and politics can be analytically distinguished and should be factually separated for the sake of democracy, pluralism and peace. Yet such an approach neglects the dense interrelations and overlaps between religious and secular nationalism throughout the history of the Jewish state. A different analytical perspective which treats these seemingly opposing conceptions of national identity as closely intertwined reveals how they have concurred in promoting and legitimizing the overriding raison d’état of the Jewish state as well as the occupation and settlement of the Palestinian territories.

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