New Article: Weinblum, Religion in the Israeli Parliament

Weinblum, Sharon. “Religion in the Israeli Parliament: A Typology.” Religion, State and Society 42.2-3 (2014): 283-98.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09637494.2014.945727

 

Abstract

Because religion has been a constant source of social divisions and political conflicts, the role of Judaism in Israel is very often studied through the prism of a rigid religious–secular cleavage.Without denying the contentious character of religion in the political and social arenas, I suggest in this study that a closer look at the usages of religion in Israeli politics offers a more nuanced picture of the role of Judaism in Israel. In order to uphold this thesis, I identify the main usages of Judaism in the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) and scrutinise the extent to which these different mobilisations overlap or crosscut the secular–religious cleavage. This analysis leads to a typology of three usages of religion: religion as a source of authority, religion as a marker of identity and nation, and religion as a source of values. On this basis, I demonstrate that the role of religion in Israel and especially in the Israeli Parliament cannot be reduced to the divide between religious and secular groups. If in its first usage, the religious–secular cleavage indeed predominates, the use of religion as an identity marker does not necessarily lead to a conflict with secular members, while in its final form, religion is mobilised as a resource by members of both groups.

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