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Minor changes to the text, including new analysis of the 2019-2020 national elections.

Updated on 8 October 2020. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Religion has played an important part in Israeli politics, and religious–secular contentions are likely to remain part of the political landscape. In the early years of Israel’s statehood religious politics was contained by common goals; secular ambivalence toward religion; and a political leadership able to create agreements, both formal and informal, known as the status quo. Beginning in the 1990s, however, economic, demographic, and sociocultural changes undermined the agreements, and religious questions became politicized. Israeli governments were unable to mediate between new demands of secular and religious groups, so subpolitics—political actions outside the formal political sphere—combined with traditional politics to become a way for Israelis to struggle for and against religious authority.

Keywords: religion, authority, status quo agreements, secularization, subpolitics

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