Since the 1980s, relationships between secular and religious Israelis have gone from bad to worse. What was formerly a politics of accommodation, one whose main objective was the avoidance of strife through "arrangements" and compromises, has become a winner-take-all, zero-sum game. The conflict is not over who gets what. Rather, it is a conflict over the very character of the polity, a struggle to define Israel's collective character.
In Israel and the Politics of Jewish Identity Asher Cohen and Bernard Susser show how this transformation has been caused by structural changes in Israel's public sphere. Surveying many different levels of public life, they explore the change of Israel's politics from a dominant-party system to a balanced two-camp system. They trace the rise of the Haredi parties and the growing consonance of religiosity with right-wing politics. Other topics include the new Basic Laws on Freedom, Dignity, and Occupation; the effects of massive immigration of secular Jews from the former Soviet Union; the greater emphasis on liberal "good government"; and the rise of an aggressive investigative press and electronic media.
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages: 184
Weight: 397 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
Mandatory reading for anyone interested in Israeli society, which excellently exemplifies the relationship between the two leading forces in human history, politics and religion. -- Yael Yishai * American Political Science Review *
An able and authoritative study. -- Alan Mittleman * Journal of Church and State *
Professor Susser and Mr. Cohen have done their job well on two counts. First, they describe the crisis in clear, lucid language. The book is extremely well-organized, very comprehensive, and eminently readable. The second count is critical... they remarkably do not take sides. They are academically cautious, successfully presenting a scholarly history of painful events which will certainly influence Israel's political map for years to come. -- Jehuda J. Levin * Jewish Book World *
Topical and well written, this book clearly describes the rising conflict between religious and secular Jews as the original compromise agreements to prevent such conflict collapse. This is the first book to bring together all the relevant data, and the authors make their point very well. * Robert O. Freedman, President, Baltimore Hebrew University, editor of Israel in the Begin Era and Israel under Rabin *