Religious Zionism represents the pairing of religion with modern political Zionism. In contrast to many religious Jews, its adherents – in the footsteps of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, the first chief rabbi of the pre-1948 Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine – saw the emergence of a Jewish state as a step in G-d’s plan. Though the ideological core of religious Zionism which holds this belief forms less than half of the religious Zionist public, it has outsized influence within this constituency and in Israeli society in general. They maintain a prominent presence in the rabbinic leadership, party politics and the educational sphere. Religious Zionists comprise 12 percent of the Israeli population.
Conflict Resolution Challenges
The State of Israel signals the Jewish people’s return to its biblical homeland after two millennia. The State is the result of divine will and signals the third and last redemption.
Primary Legal System
Jewish Law (Halacha) as ruled by religious Zionist rabbinic authorities.
According to the most prevalent interpretations of Rabbi Kook, Jews should advance Redemption by gathering on the entire Land of Israel, settling it, and ruling it according to Jewish law in its fullest sense.
Yeshivat Merkaz Harav, Gush Emunim, Yesha Council, Religious Zionism, New Right, National Union.
Most religious Zionists presently support realizing Jewish attachment to biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) through some form of annexation, ranging from annexation and naturalization of the entire West Bank through annexation of area C to annexation of the so called settlement blocs. Conflict resolution efforts employing cost-benefit strategies towards religious Zionists habitually backfired in the past. Effectively engaging them requires addressing both their material interests and core values, such as the unity of the Jewish people and the sanctity of both the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. During the last 5-10 years, peacebuilding conducted in Israel has for the first time come to include the non-liberal parts of the religious Zionist population. This suggests that their rabbinic authorities can grant religious Zionists greater ownership over policy decisions and allow them to be open to new diplomatic possibilities.