Watch: ‘Thou Shalt be Right Wing!’

Being right wing is the most important commandment for Israel’s Religious-Zionists, says Dr. Moshe Hellinger of Bar Ilan University. Unlike past generations of religious-Zionist Israelis, today’s are right wing not just when talking and thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also when thinking about economic issues.

About a fifth of all Israeli Jews self-identify as religious-Zionist in some way according to findings of surveys conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI). Dr. Hellinger attempts to explain how and why this group moved from center-left to right, and describes the main challenge it is now facing, alongside other Israeli groups.

The dialogue with Hellinger, which I am proud to present here, is the fifth in a series of conversations conducted with Israeli intellectuals to discuss the findings and analysis presented in a new book: #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution. This book is based on the work of JPPI, and was coauthored by Shmuel Rosner, a senior fellow at JPPI and Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University. The English version of the book was published recently and provides us with an opportunity to both present the unique nature of Israeli Judaism to the broader world, and to discuss its future and the implications for world Jewry.

The discussion with Hellinger focuses on religious-Zionist (Dati) Israelis, their beliefs and culture. In the coming weeks JPPI will present more conversations about Israeli traditionalism, nationality, pluralism, ethnicity and more. The first conversation featured Prof. Ruth Gavison and focused on Israeliness and Jewishness. The second, on Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, featured activist and philanthropist Daniel Goldman. In the third, on Israeli secularism, we hosted historian Prof. Aviad Kleinberg of Tel Aviv University. The fourth featured Dr. Ran Baratz, who spoke about Israeli nationality.

We invite TOI readers to try a short questionnaire prepared by Prof. Camil Fuchs. Once you have answered all the questions, you will be able to see where you are on the map of Israeli Judaism and compare yourself to Israeli Jews by political affiliation, religious affiliation, age and ethnicity (for the survey, click here). 

#IsraeliJudaism is a research project of The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), an independent professional policy planning think tank incorporated as a private non-profit company in Israel (founded by JAFI). The mission of the Institute is to contribute to ensuring the thriving of the Jewish People and the Jewish civilization by engaging in professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. Located in Jerusalem, JPPI takes a global approach to the Jewish People and provides decision makers in Israel and the Diaspora with action-oriented policy recommendations.

About the Author
Avinoam Bar-Yosef is the President and the Founding Director of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute.
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