Between Separatism and Pragmatism: Judaism as National Identity in the Haredi Political Discourse




Ultra-Orthodox, tradition, halachic law, politics, Israel, Haredy society


The Zionist perception of the Jewish people as a nation caused the Ultra-orthodox discourse split in the 1930s into two main positions. One taking a passive but reluctant stance, which held an indifferent non-Zionist position. And the second, a strong anti-Zionism perspective that established an uncompromising theological conception that saw Zionism no less as an act of Satan. With the establishment of the State of Israel, the ultra-Orthodox leadership was forced to decide how to conduct politicly in the “Jewish state”. two main positions shaped the discourse. one by Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, (Chazon Ish), that proposed a pragmatic approach holding utilitarian nature. And the other that demanded severe separatism and presented an alienating and hostile attitude to the very idea that the ultra-Orthodox leadership would take part in the Israeli political game, by led Rabbi Yoel Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar. By examining the ideological, theological and halakhic origins of each of the approaches, this article seeks to show that the position held by the Satmar Rebbe in the context of the question of the character of the Jewish people, has a common and surprising ideological basis between Zionism and the serve ultra-Orthodox position, who sees the Jewish people as a nation. While the pragmatic view considered the Jewish people as a religious community, therefore treats the Jewish state only as a hollow political tool, what enabled political flexibility, which largely reminded the political conduct of the Agudat Israel in Eastern Europe between two world wars.


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How to Cite

Alperovitch, L. (2024). Between Separatism and Pragmatism: Judaism as National Identity in the Haredi Political Discourse. Politics and Religion Journal, 18(1), 33–47.