A House Divided: Grassroots National Religious Perspectives on the Gaza Disengagement and Future of the West Bank

Publication Date: November 2007


Author(s): Ephraim Tabory; Theodore Sasson

Research Area: Culture and religion; Politics

Keywords: Orthodox Judaism; Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; Diversity

Type: Report

Coverage: Israel


Drawing on a sample of focus group conversations, this paper compares the views of national religious Jews living in the West Bank and in the Center of Israel on the Gaza disengagement and future of the West Bank. The West Bank participants expressed strong opposition to the Gaza disengagement and most future territorial concessions in the West Bank. In several discussions, they also expressed profound alienation from secular Israelis whom they held responsible for the Gaza initiative, and from the Israeli state. The Center participants were more divided on the issue of territorial compromise in the lands occupied by Israel in 1967, and rarely expressed feelings of alienation comparable to those of their West Bank counterparts. Drawing on social psychological and structural theories, we suggest that the cosmopolitan social context of life in the center of Israel fosters a complex strategy of identity integration that tends to encourage ambivalence and pragmatism. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of our findings for how political sociologists represent conflict and consensus in Israeli society.

In the Journal of Church and State, 11/2007