Religious Zionism and Israeli settlement policy
Low, James E.
Russell, James A.
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Israel’s 1967 victory in the Six-Day War ironically led to persistent and pervasive struggle. In addition to international scrutiny, regional uncertainty, and the management of an occupied Palestinian population, Israel has been engaged in an internal struggle revolving around settlement of the occupied territories. Religious Zionism constitutes one faction within this struggle. Religious Zionism is a middle-road ideology between secular Zionism, founded by Theodore Herzl in 1897, and the traditional rabbinic teaching that rejects human efforts to secure a return to the ancient land of Israel. Religious Zionism is founded on the belief that Jews have an obligation to return to Israel; such a return is considered a divine commandment. The occupation created the conditions for the religious Zionist movement to force a clash with the secular Israeli government. Religious Zionists wanted to possess and settle the newly occupied territory regardless of national security concerns. I argue that the small religious Zionist movement has had significant influence over the settlement policies of the Israeli government disproportional to its demographic numbers, an influence whose consequences extend to the fate of the peace process and the future of the Middle East.
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