Religion, postmodernization, and Israeli approaches to the conflict with the Palestinians

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This article analyzes the relationship between religion and Israeli approaches to the conflict with the Palestinians. It seeks to explain why religion has become closely correlated with hawkishness since 1967. While the Jewish religion advocates no single approach to the conflict with the Palestinians, the religious have been significantly more hawkish than the nonreligious in Israel. This is because religion in Israel has reinforced ethnocentricity among the Jewish public, which in turn is highly correlated with hawkishness. Yet the correlation between religion and hawkishness only became politically prominent after 1967. This prominence is a function of the way religion has interacted with changes in Israeli political culture that were driven by the process of postmodernization. Whereas mainstream Israeli political culture has become less ethnocentric and more liberal, and consequently more dovish, the religious community has moved in the opposite direction. In this vein, religion has served to shield its adherents from most of the effects of postmodernization while simultaneously encouraging countervailing trends, which accounts for the polarization referred to above. In other words, it is the way religion has interacted with postmodernization that has made it the most effective incubator for hawkishness in Israel since 1967.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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