Religious Zionism and the Settlement Project: Ideology, Politics, and Civil Disobedience

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 An in-depth account of the ideology driving Israel’s religious Zionist settler movements since the 1970s.
The Jewish settlements in disputed territories are among the most contentious issues in Israeli and international politics. This book delves into the ideological and rabbinic discourses of the religious Zionists who founded the settlement movement and lead it to this day. Based on Hebrew primary sources seldom available to scholars and the public, Moshe Hellinger, Isaac Hershkowitz, and Bernard Susser provide an authoritative history of the settlement project. They examine the first attempts at settling in the 1970s, the evacuation of Sinai in the 1980s, the Oslo Accords and assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in the 1990s, and the withdrawal from Gaza and the reaction of radical settler groups in the 2000s. The authors question why the evacuation of settlements led to largely theatrical opposition, without mass violence or civil war. They show that for religious Zionists, a “theological-normative balance” undermined their will to resist aggressively because of a deep veneration for the state as the sacred vehicle of redemption.

“This is a well-written book of sound scholarship that makes an important contribution to the research on settlers’ rabbis. The authors refute popular arguments that condemn the rabbis as ‘radicals,’ instead showing how complex is their worldview.” — Motti Inbari, author of Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount: Who Will Build the Third Temple?
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About the author

 At Bar-Ilan University, Israel, Moshe Hellinger is Senior Lecturer in Political Studies, Isaac Hershkowitz is Lecturer in Jewish Thought, and Bernard Susser is Emeritus Professor of Politics, formerly the Norman Patterson Professor of Politics.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
May 1, 2018
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Pages
348
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ISBN
9781438468402
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Language
English
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Genres
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Labor
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Labor & Industrial Relations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Throughout history, the persecutions of the Jewish people have been central to their identity and to the cohesion of their religion and cultural heritage. But now, with the success of the Jewish State of Israel and the prosperity of Jews in the United States, the collective sufferings that have forged the Jewish identity are disappearing. The compelling question Bernard Susser and Charles Liebman ask in Choosing Survival is: Will this success paradoxically prove fatal to Judaism? Susser and Liebman paint a disturbing portrait of the decline of Judaism in both Israel and the United States and the various--and mainly ineffective--efforts to reverse that decline. In Israel, as Jews are increasingly drawn to cosmopolitan Western culture, Jewishness is in danger of being reduced merely to communal folkways, while political tensions between religious and secular Jews threaten to pull the state apart. In the U.S., assimilation and secularization is even harder to resist. Efforts to strengthen Jewish identity by claiming the U.S. is still anti-Semitic and by pointing to the Holocaust and the threats to Israel's survival have not worked. The authors do, however, see a hopeful sign in Jewish Orthodoxy which, while not a viable solution to the problem, is successfully passing on its tenets and practices and attracting many non-Orthodox Jews. They identify several aspects of Orthodoxy that can be emulated by all Jews and hold the best hope for Jewish survival--its reverence for study, its ability to set and maintain boundaries, and its deep belief in community. For anyone concerned about the fate of Judaism and what it means to be Jewish, Choosing Survival is an impassioned, troubling, and essential book.
Throughout history, the persecutions of the Jewish people have been central to their identity and to the cohesion of their religion and cultural heritage. But now, with the success of the Jewish State of Israel and the prosperity of Jews in the United States, the collective sufferings that have forged the Jewish identity are disappearing. The compelling question Bernard Susser and Charles Liebman ask in Choosing Survival is: Will this success paradoxically prove fatal to Judaism? Susser and Liebman paint a disturbing portrait of the decline of Judaism in both Israel and the United States and the various--and mainly ineffective--efforts to reverse that decline. In Israel, as Jews are increasingly drawn to cosmopolitan Western culture, Jewishness is in danger of being reduced merely to communal folkways, while political tensions between religious and secular Jews threaten to pull the state apart. In the U.S., assimilation and secularization is even harder to resist. Efforts to strengthen Jewish identity by claiming the U.S. is still anti-Semitic and by pointing to the Holocaust and the threats to Israel's survival have not worked. The authors do, however, see a hopeful sign in Jewish Orthodoxy which, while not a viable solution to the problem, is successfully passing on its tenets and practices and attracting many non-Orthodox Jews. They identify several aspects of Orthodoxy that can be emulated by all Jews and hold the best hope for Jewish survival--its reverence for study, its ability to set and maintain boundaries, and its deep belief in community. For anyone concerned about the fate of Judaism and what it means to be Jewish, Choosing Survival is an impassioned, troubling, and essential book.
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