chapter  5
Israel: Synagogue, the State, and Politics
ByBernard Reich, Gershon R. Kieval
Pages 13

The role of religion in Israel and the relationship between religious institutions and the state continues to be an intensely emotional issue that deeply divides the population and affects many and diverse aspects of Israeli life. The crux of the synagogue-state relationship, or religion and politics, in modern day Israel—indeed throughout the state's history—is the relationship between religious and secular segments of the population. The religious parties, by accepting secular control of the education and interior ministries and recognizing that Aryeh Deri could not remain as the party leader, appear to have accommodated to new political dynamics in the wake of the May 1999 elections. Special allocations to the ultra-Orthodox sector would not end completely, but their political leverage was circumscribed. And if they needed to be reminded of this, Shinui's Tommy Lapid—who remained true to his campaign pledge not to sit in a government alongside SHAS—promised to remain focused on stopping the ultra-Orthodox encroachment on Israeli society.