Why do states responsible for unleashing violent nonstate actors fail to halt them despite rising costs and, at best, marginal utility? I argue that a historical-institutionalist approach helps scholars understand these dynamics. I present five path-dependent mechanisms—change in the balance of power, spiraling perception of threat, ideological shift among the public, state penetration, and weakening of the principle of state primacy—that diminish the prospects of policy reversals. I then demonstrate the usefulness of path-dependency analysis in the case of Israel’s entanglement with the Jewish messianic Right. Applying the theoretical framework sheds light on the process that brought Israel prohibitive costs—undercutting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, undermining the state’s international standing, and weakening the state’s authority and democratic nature—and made policy reversal, in line with the state’s national interest and its responsibilities as a member of the international society, highly unlikely.
This article studies the influence of religion on political attitudes in Israel by testing two propositions: “religion-friendly” democratization and “greedy” socialization. The former implies that accommodation of religious demands stimulates democratization, the latter argues that domineering religious socialization does not motivate democratic attitudes. Analysis of data from representative surveys conducted in 2006–2013, supports “greedy” socialization over the “religion friendly” hypothesis. I show that in most instances, socialization in religion-friendly environments does not moderate the political attitudes of religiously conservative groups. The results suggest that unbounded accommodation of religious needs in non-religious institutions may strengthen undemocratic political attitudes.