During Israel's military operation in Gaza in the summer of 2014 the commanding officer of the Givati infantry brigade, Colonel Ofer Vinter, called upon his troops to fight "the terrorists who defame the God of Israel." This unprecedented call for religious war by a senior IDF commander caused an uproar, but it was just one symptom of a profound process of religionization, or de-secularization, that Israeli society has been going through since the turn of the twenty-first century.
This book analyzes and explains, for the first time, the reasons for the religionization of Israeli society, a process known in Hebrew as hadata. Jewish religion, inseparable from Jewish nationality, was embedded in Zionism from its inception in the nineteenth century, but was subdued to a certain extent in favor of the national aspect in the interest of building a modern nation-state. Hadata has its origins in the 1967 war, has been accelerating since 2000, and is manifested in a number of key social fields: the military, the educational system, the media of mass communications, the teshuvah movement, the movement for Jewish renewal, and religious feminism. A major chapter of the book is devoted to the religionization of the visual fine arts field, a topic that has been largely neglected by previous researchers.
Through careful examination of religionization, this book sheds light on a major development in Israeli society, which will additionally inform our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As such, it is a key resource for students and scholars of Israel Studies, and those interested in the relations between religion, culture, politics and nationalism, secularization and new social movements.