Religious zionism and the state: Political accommodation and religious radicalism in Israel

Shmuel Sandler

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9 Scopus citations


In its earlier years Israel was spared the impact of religious radicalism. In the last two decades, however, religious doctrines have begun to claim a role in foreign policy, culminating in the 4 November 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The primary aim of this study is to explore the systemic political processes and contextual factors that in the past have subdued national religious radicalism in Israel. The general argument of this essay is that the tradition of political accommodation with the religious parties fostered their participation in government coalitions, and by doing so, mobilized a large portion of the religious sector to support the state. Equally important in suppressing religious radicalism in Israel were the two main doctrines of religious Zionism, the instrumental and the redemptionist, which applauded cooperation with secular Zionism and the state, hence enabling political accommodation and avoiding a comprehensive violent confrontation. The absence of a religious party in the Rabin government brought the countrys political discourse to an unprecedented level of intensity, strengthening a new blend of religious nationalism that posed a potential for deligitimization of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-154
Number of pages22
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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