The article examines the process of establishment of pre-military academies amongst Religious-Zionist society in Israel. The phenomenon is discussed as a transition from a model of a gated community to an ‘immunized’ community. Through institutionalization of psycho-social ideological preparation, the community leadership is trying to ensure that community members maintain their identity and loyalty when they integrate into general society. The article rests on analysis of the discourse of the community’s epistemic leadership – mainly rabbis and leaders of the settler movement. It contributes to the perception of the pre-military academies as institutions that are Religious-Zionist launching pads for senior positions in the IDF and pipelines for future leadership of Israeli society. At the same time, they are a means of ensuring that Religious-Zionists will integrate within Israel society, not through assimilation and dissolution, but rather with cultural and ideological commitment to their community of origin. The article also discusses the development of other similar ‘immunizing’ institutions that aim to facilitate integration of Religious-Zionists in spheres other than the military. These developments are presented as an attempt on the part of the community leadership to maintain its status and relevance, in view of the younger generation’s desire to break out of the gated community boundaries. Thus, these institutions might be viewed as more of a rearguard battle on the part of the leadership than as a behavior-guiding ethos among the younger generation.
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