Mizrachi Ultra-Orthodoxy and Nationalism in Israel


Nissim Leon

Publisher Van Leer Institute Press and Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2016
Series Theory and Criticism in Context Series

Mizrachi Ultra-Orthodoxy and Nationalism in Israel delineates a set of relations, both symbolic and practical, between the national flag and the headdress of the Rishon Lezion, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef—that is, between nationalism and the political theology of Mizrachi ultra-Orthodoxy as it became more clearly defined under Yosef’s leadership starting in the 1980s. The book describes the form nationalism has taken in the Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox stream and argues that, in contrast to the restrained and instrumental attitude of Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodoxy toward Zionism, the attitude of mainstream Mizrachi ultra-Orthodoxy toward state institutions has been more pragmatic, although it has been characterized by ambivalence between the willingness to accept responsibility with regard to those institutions and its oppositional approach toward them. The book reveals the historical, ethnic, political, and communal conditions that led to this ambivalence. It also lays out Mizrachi ultra-Orthodoxy’s strategies for navigating and maneuvering between state institutions, Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodoxy, and Religious Zionism.

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