A People who Live Apart: Jewish Identity and the Future of Israel
Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has been torn by a deeply rooted conflict between secular and religious Jews. Although this internal culture war has not received the publicity of Israel's violent conflicts with its Arab neighbors, it is every bit as serious. For it concerns the very nature and identity of the Jewish state, and it pits an Orthodox minority who envisions Israel as a religiously conservative theocracy against Jewish secularists who are keen on ensuring that their country becomes a European-style democracy.
Journalist and historian Els van Diggele portrays and analyzes the complexity of this "quiet civil war" through more than sixty interviews with a wide spectrum of religious and secular Jews, as well as lively and penetrating reports of key events that over the past two years have widened the schism.
Among the principal flashpoints between the two segments of society, van Diggele notes the exclusive Orthodox domination in the domains of marriage, divorce, burial, and conversion, as well as the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to rule in religious affairs. Exacerbating the problem, she points out, has been the massive immigration of secular Jews from Russia during the last decade of the 20th century, coupled with the emergence of a powerful Orthodox movement. This rising Orthodox political and religious force often expresses the longstanding resentment of Israel's underprivileged Sephardic population against the traditional Ashkenazi secular leadership. Through interviews with the Ashkenazi chief rabbi, members of the Israeli parliament, and people from the rank and file, such as Yeshiva students and nonkosher butchers, she reveals the intensity of feelings on both sides and the intractable nature of this confrontation between two radically different worldviews.
This nuanced, multifaceted portrait is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the State of Israel and the complexity of tensions in the Middle East.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Time Bomb of Ben Gurion
Is a Jewish Democracy Possible?
7 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
according Aloni Altschuler Arabs army Ashkenazi asked Aviv Barak become called Christian citizens civil marriage coalition Conservative conversion Court culture democracy diaspora elections Eretz Yisrael Etzion extremist feel former Soviet Union gious goyim Gurion Gush Emunim halakhah halakhic haredim Hebrew Herzl holy Israel Israeli Israeli society Jerusalem Jewish Jewish identity Judea Knesset Knesset member Labor Party land Law of Return leader Likud live marry ment Meretz Messiah Ministry modern movement National Religious Party Netanyahu non-Jewish non-Jews non-Orthodox Orthodox Jews Ovadia Yossef Palestine Palestinians peace percent political Porat prayer Prime Minister problem question rabbis Ravitz Reform religion Religious Affairs religious Zionists Russian immigrants Sabbath Samaria says secular Jews secularists Sephardic Jews settlements Shas Sochnut someone spiritual Starik Status Quo synagogue t'shuvah Temple Mount tion traditional ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism West Bank yarmulke Yesha yeshiva yeshiva students Yitzhak Yossi Sarid