Innocence Lost: The Impact of the Disengagement on Religious Zionism

, February 22, 2016

Abstract1

The disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of Northern Samaria in 2005 affected the religious Zionist public more than other sectors of Israeli society because most of the settlers are religious Zionists. Yair Sheleg examines the changes among religious Zionists during the decade since the disengagement. He discusses the question whether such changes were the direct results of the disengagement or could be attributed to general trends in Israeli society. The article focuses upon five major attitudes of the religious Zionists that underwent changes, as follows: the attitude toward the state; toward the authorities; toward religious faith; toward political opponents and toward the Arabs. Sheleg notes a more critical attitude toward the state, a distancing from formerly esteemed rabbis and political figures, a tendency toward spirituality and less institutionalized faith, harsher language against the Left and an increase in attacks against Arabs. Despite the above, loyalty to the State of Israel remains steadfast, along with a willingness to contribute to society and no major loss of religious faith.

Introduction

The “disengagement plan,” the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of northern Samaria in August 2005, involved the evacuation and the destruction of twenty-one settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria, numbering some 9,300 people. The disengagement threatened to tear Israeli society apart. Several of its leading opponents predicted disobedience in the Israel Defense Forces and even warned that the country would be “set on fire.” For example, Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, usually regarded as a moderate member of the Yesha (Judea, Samaria. Gaza) Council – called upon Israelis to “violate the disengagement law”2  and stated that he was “ready to die” in order to stop the disengagement.3 For their part, supporters of the evacuation took these threats seriously. Some openly called for harsh measures or even to treat its opponents “like the Altalena.”4 A danger of civil war hovered in the air. Despite this rhetoric, caution and restraint prevailed. There were hardly any cases of disobedience and minimal violence. (Dr. Anat Roth discusses this in her article in this issue of the JPSR.) Nevertheless, the withdrawal from Gaza and the displacement of its Jewish residents left a profound impact upon Israeli society because of the struggle that preceded the evacuation, the evacuation itself, the destruction of the settlements and the difficulties of relocation and rehabilitation.

It is clear that religious Zionists were the sector of Israeli society most affected by the disengagement. Indeed, a substantial majority of the evacuees were religious Zionists. Many sustained a personal loss. In addition, those who were not among the evacuees had friends and relatives who had lived in the destroyed communities. The devastation and dismantling of flourishing communities was profoundly disturbing. Furthermore, the disengagement shattered the vision of the Greater Land of Israel and the ideal of settling every part of the land governed by Israel, even for many who did not have personal ties to the evacuated settlers. Finally, there was a painful sense of betrayal. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had conceived and carried out the disengagement, was as an initiator and a long-time supporter of the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the main ally of religious Zionism. Indeed, he had changed his colors completely.

The hardships experienced by the evacuees during the rehabilitation process exacerbated their distress. Some evacuees and their supporters argued that the real purpose of the disengagement had nothing to do with politics or security because it was unilateral and done without an agreement with the Palestinians. On the contrary, its intention was to attack religious Zionism and put an end to its aspiration to lead Israeli society. For example, in an interview with Haaretz, Rabbi Yaakov Meidan stated: 

Some were looking to stick a knife in the back of religious Zionism. Some had decided to set back religious Zionism by thirty years – to return it to its natural size, to its previous role… For some in the secular elites the aim is to break religious Zionism. For some it is not the aim, but it is a price they are willing to pay. Willing to pay easily.5

Fourteen months after the disengagement, leading journalist (and current member of Knesset) Yair Lapid, a prominent member of the secular elite substantiated this claim in his column:

Why was it so urgent and important for Israel to evacuate Gaza..? I want to propose a theory: it was not despite the settlers, but because of them. It was never about the Palestinians, demography, the striving for a peace agreement, the relative weakness of the IDF or any of the explanations we were given (and that were contradicted again and again). The motive was entirely different: it had to do with upsetting the delicate balance that existed between the settler society and Israeli society… Over the previous twenty years national-religious people had made extensive use of the secular people to achieve a set of political and, particularly, religious goals… But Israelis do not like to be donkeys, whoever it is that is riding them: “the pendulum stays where it is” is a well-known political tenet in Israel… The farther the pendulum is pushed, the greater the force with which it returns.6

Therefore, during the first months after the disengagement some in religious Zionist circles called for a dramatic change in the relationship to the state. On the one hand, some advocated emulating the haredim and adopting a position where the state no longer would be regarded as a value; Independence Day no longer would be celebrated nor the Hallel prayer recited on that day; and the Prayer for the State of Israel no longer would be recited on Sabbaths and holidays. Some even spoke of evading service in the Israel Defense Forces and certainly not volunteering for elite units.7 On the other hand, some took the opposite view and called to “take over” ( it must be emphasized, by democratic means and not through violence) the leadership of the country in light of the failure of the secular leadership, even in the case of a “nationalist” leader like Ariel Sharon.8

This article will examine the processes that have transpired and how the disengagement has affected religious Zionism during the past decade. It will explore five main issues: the attitudes toward the state; toward religious faith; toward figures of authority in the religious sector (rabbis, political leaders, etc.); toward domestic political rivals, namely the Left; and toward the Arabs. Generally speaking, it is clear that religious Zionism remains an ideological movement, but much less so than it was ten years ago. It has undergone a substantial change like that which took place among other sectors of Israel’s population. Religious Zionists display much less practical involvement with the state and with Zionist teachings and are far less inclined toward romanticism. This also affects the issues noted above. This change not only may be a result of the disengagement but also part of the atmosphere in general and of larger trends in Israeli society which have influenced religious Zionism over time. It appears, however, that the disengagement may have accelerated such developments among religious Zionists.

The Attitude toward the State

As we have noted, during the period immediately following the disengagement, separatist ideas emerged among religious Zionists, accompanied by threats to stop reciting prayers for the welfare of the state and even for the safety of the soldiers or those serving in elite combat units. Some leading figures, such as Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, even spoke of presenting a “writ of divorcement” to the alliance with the secular elite and forging an alliance with the haredim instead.9 Such threats did not materialize. The nationalist Zionist basis of religious Zionist identity prevailed and even seemed to be stronger than the religious component.10 Such separatism could not take place. Even many teenagers who were indicted for violent acts during the struggle against the disengagement and therefore, were rejected from military service, made efforts to be inducted into the army.

At the same time, there are indications that the attitude toward the state has become less infused with romanticism, and that the mamlachtiut (feeling of responsibility toward the State) that had characterized religious Zionism lost some of its appeal. For example, the term mamlachtiut now was mispronounced derisively and took on a somewhat ludicrous connotation. Familiar expressions that lent the state a sacred character (no matter what policy it adopted), such as those of Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), who called the state “the Lord’s footstool in the world,” disappeared from religious Zionist discourse.

Moreover, there was a diminution of the messianic-redemptive idea that the Zionist enterprise is a step toward the implementation of the prophetic vision of redemption and therefore, it is foreordained and cannot be compromised. The destruction of the Gaza settlements caused many to doubt that idea and weakened the position of many rabbis who had espoused it.

In fact, the status of the rabbinical world declined, particularly in the case of rabbis who continued to preach an innocent and romantic statism and a “messianic” worldview. For example Rabbi Shlomo Aviner continues to attract many students and receives requests for guidance but also has become a much more controversial figure.11

Rabbi Zvi Tau, head of the Har Hamor yeshiva and a devout disciple of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook (1891-1982), a leading supporter of the settlements, has suffered in particular. For years, Rabbi Tau was the dominant force in the extreme statist trend. During the struggle over the Yamit salient in Sinai in 1981- early 1982, he refused to go there and enjoined his students not to go there as well lest they take part in a confrontation with soldiers. At the time, he also forbade disobeying military orders. During the disengagement, however, he began to change his position. His students, such as Rabbi Eli Sadan, head of the preparatory military academy in Eli, continue to forbid disobeying orders in the name of Rabbi Tau. The latter, however, conveyed a message that was much less clear and that actually favored “grey” disobedience, namely not disobeying an order explicitly but trying to avoid fulfilling it.12

In the decade since the disengagement, Rabbi Tau has distanced himself from mainstream religious Zionism. He actively opposed the Habayit Hayehudi political party and threatened his student, Rabbi Hananel Etrog (head of the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva), that should he cooperate with the party, he would break with him.13 Rabbi Tau opposed the religious Zionist candidate for chief rabbi, Rabbi David Stav.14 Finally, in the Knesset elections in 2015, Rabbi Tau joined the Yachad party of Eli Yishai. Apparently, his statism and his partnership in the nationalist Zionist enterprise were only in theory and not in practice. Some of his students told Yoav Sorek of Makor Rishon that they could no longer understand their rabbi.15

The case of Rabbi Tau attests to the fact that some religious Zionist groups found that the disengagement caused or encouraged them to prefer a new alliance with the haredi community to the former alliance with the secular world, as Rabbi Meidan had warned. However, this tendency did not gain substantial support among religious Zionists.

At the same time, while the nationalist views of most religious Zionists did not undergo a basic reorientation, certain changes took place. Before the disengagement, there was an innocent romantic belief in the state and its good intentions. The disengagement brought about a distinction between the state itself and its actions. Although religious Zionists continue to regard the state and national identity as important values, there are increasing expressions of criticism and even cynicism as to how the state conducts its affairs, and there is a readiness to adopt more militant tactics of struggle against the state than before the events of 2005.

At the time of the disengagement, an important confrontation took place between two religiously-based positions taken by graduates of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva. On one hand, the members of Har Hamor, who sanctified statism, opposed disobeying military orders and acts of violence. On the other hand, members of Merkaz Harav themselves (then under the leadership of Rabbi Abraham Shapira), who respected the state, claimed the right to engage in types of struggle that are acceptable in democratic countries. Hence, one could use tactics of civil disobedience, such as disobeying orders, blocking roads, and the like, regarding issues that were of great importance.

In retrospect, it appears that the more militant side prevailed. It did not believe in self-restraint for the sake of sanctity of the state. This change was evident several months after the disengagement during the confrontation at the settlement of Amona (on the outskirts of Ofra). The Supreme Court decided to approve a petition by Palestinian residents and called for razing several houses that Palestinians claimed had been built on private land. The violence on the part of the settlers and the police at Amona resulted in numerous injuries, including one teenager in serious condition. Many settlers asserted that “in Amona we erased the shame of Atzmona” (a settlement in Gaza that was dismantled).16

In fact, a study of the religious Zionist sector conducted two years ago by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy found that 40 percent of religious Zionists approved of disobeying an order to evacuate settlements. (Twenty-three percent were certain that one should disobey such an order, while 17 percent only “thought” that one should do so.) It is noteworthy that among those aged 18-24, 57 percent approved of disobeying such an order and among those aged 25-34, 48 percent.17

In more extreme groups, such as the followers of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, not only has the distinction between the state and its action has grown sharper over the past decade, but there is a differentiation between the state and the national idea. Whereas the national idea is sacred and pure, the state, in its current democratic form, no longer is valid and one must resist it.18 

The Attitude toward the Authorities

On the eve of the disengagement, former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu visited Gush Katif. In order to encourage the settlers, he proclaimed three times: “It [the disengagement] shall not be [take place].” The rabbi, regarded as a Kabbalist, caused some to take his statement literally and they were certain that that the disengagement would not take place. Some religious Zionists feared that if the disengagement did take place, it would bring about a crisis of faith among the young people. However, a substantial crisis of faith did not ensue probably because a great majority of the settlers did not regard his statement as a prophecy or a heavenly promise whose fulfillment the rabbi could confirm. They understood it simply as words of encouragement and an expression of faith. Indeed, from the outset, Rabbi Eliyahu underplayed the importance of his words, saying that the phrase, “it will not be,” was “a prayer, and with God’s help, a possible reality.”19

However, there was a crisis of a different nature. In the past, the collective experience of the settlers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza indicated that they usually succeeded, even in struggles that at first seemed impossible. Hence, their expectations were quite realistic and political in nature and not necessarily messianic. They thought they could succeed this time as well. When they failed, they did not lose their religious faith but they ceased trusting the authorities, first and foremost the Yesha Council [the Council of Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza] and the veteran political leaders of the settlers. Respected figures even accused the Yesha Council of betraying the struggle and of preferring its longstanding relationship with the government (whose financial and political support is essential) to a major confrontation with the authorities. For example, Yoel Elitzur, a veteran of the Ofra settlement (and brother of longtime settler leader Uri Elitzur), stated: “Had we not had the Yesha Council in 2005, the results certainly would not have been worse, [and] perhaps, better.”20

If Yoel Elitzur expressed himself this way, younger people certainly held similar views. Since then, the Yesha Council has not regained the esteemed position that it held before the disengagement. If, in the past, it also had some moral authority, after the disengagement it retained only its political role. The settler public was divided as to whether the council constituted a preeminent authority that could determine the fate and actions of the settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The status of the rabbis also suffered, partly because of the failure of the “prophecy” that “it will not be” and because they were part of the establishment. Indeed, only two rabbis of the Gush Katif settlements have retained their positions.21 Most of the communities are divided and none of the rabbis who served before the disengagement continue to do so.

It is noteworthy that a similar decline in trusting the authorities has emerged throughout Israeli society as a whole with the trend toward a more varied, privatized and individualistic society. This process has taken place even among haredim whose community is more centralized and authoritarian than that of the religious Zionists.

The Attitude toward Religious Faith

Over the years, some religious Zionists with leftist views maintained that the strong identification with the settlement enterprise on the part of younger religious Zionists would result in a severe crisis of faith should the settlements be abandoned. The outspoken public intellectual, scientist and philosopher, Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903-1994) of the Hebrew University, even predicted that if the settlements were relinquished, there would be a mass conversion to Christianity.

Actually, nothing of the kind took place over the past decade. Likewise, there has been neither acceleration nor an intensification of secularization among young religious Zionists beyond the usual defections of soldiers and university students. Apparently, however, the nature of religious faith has changed from a more institutionalized way of life, identified with the rabbinic and halachic establishment, to a more personal, experiential and spiritual faith. It is difficult to ascertain whether these developments resulted from the disengagement or from more widespread, long-term processes. Probably, the disappointment and loss of trust caused by the disengagement influenced this new direction of religious faith.

The Attitude toward the Left

The statism that characterized “classical” religious Zionism is evident in its attitude toward its political opponents. From the outset, there was opposition to establishing settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. With the victory of the Likud in the elections of 1977 and the consequent cooperation with right-wing governments, the attitude toward the settlers on the part of the opposition became one of derision and contempt. The settlers usually reacted with impressive restraint; they were “offended but did not offend.” With the accession of the Labor government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1992, the settlers and their supporters engaged in a bitter struggle against the Oslo Agreement, which involved hatred, incitement and invective, including accusations of treason against Prime Minister Rabin.

The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, however, somewhat subdued the anti-government rhetoric of the Right. The assassination gave rise to extensive condemnation and soul-searching among religious Zionists. There were many expressions of contrition over the incitement. In fact, it seemed that religious Zionism had reverted to its previous attitude of restraint and even to its passive forbearance. Oddly enough, Ariel Sharon indirectly benefited from the reaction to the trauma of the assassination. It played a role in preventing more forceful attacks against the disengagement. A longtime ally of the settlers, Sharon often had encouraged them even when they hesitated. Hence, the settlers and their supporters felt a profound sense of personal betrayal by the Prime Minister Sharon. The majority of religious Zionists held the government responsible for the “expulsion” from the Gaza Strip. Unlike the assassination of Rabin that was the act of a lone fanatic, it was the entire Sharon government, elected on a right-wing platform that a majority of religious Zionists blamed for the disengagement. Indeed, it seemed as if the state itself had risen up against the Right and the religious Zionist public. As we have noted above, many even argued that the real purpose of the disengagement was neither to increase security nor to gain political advantages, since it was unilateral. Its objective was to inflict immense damage to religious Zionism.

In fact, the past decade has seen a marked intensification of pronouncements against the Left on the part of religious Zionists. When it seemed as if the Left and Center parties would win the Knesset elections in 2015, such criticism increased exponentially. For example, Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, launched a campaign entitled “no apologies,” aimed both at the international community and at the domestic Israeli debate. A more virulent example was the video of the Samaria Settlers Committee that described left-wing organizations (that receive contributions from foreign charities and countries) as “Jew-boys” comparable to Jews who cooperated with the Nazis.22

Another example of such invective occurred in response to criticism of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge launched against the rocket fire and infiltration from the Gaza Strip in July-August 2014. Veteran journalist Hagai Huberman, formerly of the HaTzofeh newspaper, berated an IDF widow, Michal Kedar, who addressed a left-wing rally as “someone who kills her husband (albeit indirectly) and then claims that she is a widow.” In other words, had Kedar and her friends not supported the Left’s policy and the disengagement, there would have been no need for Operation Protective Edge and her husband would not have been killed.23Likewise, member of Knesset Motti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) criticized representatives of the Gaza-belt communities who had come to the Knesset to complain about the removal of IDF soldiers from their communities, as follows: “You supported the disengagement – you fell for it.” Yogev later apologized.

To be sure, the majority of religious Zionists do not express themselves this way and most of their leaders sharply condemn such statements. More often it is the young people who make such remarks, while the older generation, associated with the establishment, denounces them. Moreover, such expressions no longer are exceptional and there is a greater reluctance to censure them. Frequently, the condemnations are interpreted as a form of cooperation with the media and the Left that are perceived as enemies of religious Zionism.

The Attitude toward Arabs

Here, there has been an increased radicalization both in language and in the number and types of attacks against Arabs. In the decade since the disengagement there has been a rise in the number and seriousness of revenge attacks against Arabs. Some come in the category of so-called “price tag” actions, such as graffiti, vandalism and arson. In addition, the choice of targets of such attacks has expanded.24In the past, attacks of revenge against Arabs were directed mainly at olive groves and fields in Judea and Samaria. Since the disengagement, there have been attacks against mosques and even churches. Here, it appears that marginal groups among the settlers and other religious Zionists have become more radical. Although the religious Zionist mainstream does not support acts of terror and hate crimes and harshly condemns them, such denunciations lose their importance because of the growing number and frequency of attacks and because of a tendency to avoid “cooperating with the Left and the media.” In fact, some of these attacks and the subsequent condemnations are not even mentioned in the media.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the basic attitude of most religious Zionists toward the state has not changed. They have remained Zionists, believing in the importance of the state, military service and contributing to society. At present, however, religious Zionism tends to be less statist and not as romantic about the state. Some even show signs of cynicism and readiness to struggle against the state if it appears to be in the wrong. Essentially this attitude acknowledges the fact that the state is not only sacred and pure but also may be a force for evil. Furthermore, the religious Zionist public expresses itself more radically as far as domestic political opponents are concerned. Similarly, the level of violence against the Arab population has increased.

To a large extent the processes described above are contrary to the efforts by religious Zionists to convince the Israeli public to support the settlement enterprise. Such efforts, also common during the pre-disengagement era, have taken a different direction, such as forming Torah-study groups and engaging in social activism, especially on the part of the Bnei Akiva youth movement. However, the opposite is true regarding the public discourse directed at the media and the cultural and intellectual elite, where religious Zionists may express less conciliatory and more polarizing positions. Whereas the wider public may be more receptive to the views of religious Zionism and there is an effort to win them over, the elites are perceived as hostile and must be opposed vigorously and with harsh criticism.

These developments reflect three broader trends in Israeli society: 1) the decline of statism and a general commitment to the state; 2) the radicalization of the political discourse and 3) an increase in political violence. As part of Israeli society, adherents of religious Zionism are not an exception to the rule. In past decade, many sectors of society have undergone radicalizing, anti-statist and anti-democratic processes — likewise, the religious Zionists and the settlers.25 Finally, it is clear that the disengagement from Gaza cannot serve as a precedent for a possible evacuation of Judea and Samaria in the future. Should there ever be another withdrawal from Israeli-controlled territory, it would take place in a much more radicalized country.

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The Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem, www.idi.org.il, published this study in June 2015 under the title, “Ovdan ha-Temimut: Hashpa’ath ha-Hitnatkut al Ha-Tsionut ha-Datit.” We thank the Israel Democracy Institute for its kind permission to translate and publish this text.

* * *

Notes

1 I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Yonah Goodman, former director-general of Bnei Akiva, for his lengthy discussion with me that greatly contributed to this article and his suggestion of its title. I also thank Professor Yedidia Z. Stern and Dr. Shuki Friedman of the Israel Democracy Institute for their comments on the initial draft.

2 Haaretz, 21 February 2005.

3 Haaretz, 2 February 2005.

4 A year before the evacuation, senior columnist of the Haaretz, Yoel Marcus wrote:

What is lacking at this time is an evacuation headquarters headed by a talented and experienced general, who would assemble well-trained units for this unique mission, whose goal would not only be to carry out the evacuation successfully but also to counter any provocation that is aimed at dragging the IDF into a civil war – even if it entails bloodshed.
(Haaretz, 31 August 2004)

In an interview which appeared in Haaretz, then Member of Knesset Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) stated:

In 1948 the enemy was the Egyptian invader, and when the moment of truth came, when an Egyptian tank stood at the entrance to Negba, [kibbutz] member Aharon Schneider got up and stopped it with a Molotov cocktail… Today the enemy does not have tanks. He is not a foreign invader. The enemy is a fanatical domestic group that is seeking to subvert Israeli democracy. But today as well, ultimately there is no choice. One must counter this group with the Molotov… The situation is an Altalena situation. The fate of Israeli statism is on the line.
(Quoted in Ari Shavit, “Baderech l’Altalena 2” (On the Way to Altalena 2), Haaretz, 20 August 2004).

5 Yair Sheleg and Ari Shavit, “Besof Hakayits Eshev Bakeleh” (By the End of the Summer I’ll Be Sitting in Jail), Haaretz, 22 July 2005.

6 Yair Lapid, “Davarim sh’E-efshar Hayah Lomar Bazman Hahitnatkut” (Things That Could Not Be Said at the Time of the Disengagement), Yediot Aharonot, 13 October 2006.

7 In this vein a radical view was published even in the official organ of the Yesha Council, Nekuda:

Disengagement from the state is next on the agenda. It is a mission, it is a value, today it expresses Judaism that is proud and confident, liberated and aspiring to greatness… A youth who has difficulty observing the practical commandments can be kept connected with a “Disengage from the State – Engage with the Torah” shirt
(Tidhar Hirschfeld, “L’Hitna’er m’Hakavalim” (Get Free of the Shackles), Nekuda 289 [April 2006], 56-59)

8 Such a view was expressed in an article by Itai Elitzur (son of settler leader Uri Elitzur) in the same issue of Nekuda: “The young people did not come to Amona to protest. They came to fight the leadership of the state. The heroes of Amona began a process that will end with us leading the state” (“Ha’am Mitchaber Lakoach” (The People Are Connected with Power), ibid., 4).

9 Interview in Haaretz, 22 July 2005 (Sheleg and Shavit, “Besof Hakayits”).

10 That is the main conclusion of an in-depth study by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy in 2014 on the national-religious camp. See Tamar Hermann, et. al., Dati’im? Leumi’im! Hamachaneh Hadati-Leumi b’Yisrael 2014 (Religious? Nationalists! The National-Religious Camp in Israel 2014) (Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute, 2014).

11 Some of the radical disengagement opponents, who were furious at what they regarded as Rabbi Aviner’s overly statist position during the disengagement (he sharply opposed disobeying orders or any act against IDF soldiers), accused him of being too lenient about laws of niddah (ritual purity), and even turned to various rabbinical courts. Therefore, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ordered Rabbi Aviner to stop giving instruction in matters relating to niddah. The Court of Justice (Badatz) of the Eda Haredit (a haredi communal organization) also ruled against him. See: Avishai Ben Chaim, “Badatz Asar al Harav Aviner Lifsok b’Inyanei Tahara” (Badatz Forbade Rabbi Aviner to Rule on Matters of Ritual Purity), http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/528/347.html.

12 Yair Sheleg, Hamashma’ut Hapolitit v’Hatarbutit shel Pinui Yishuvim b’Yesha – Hinatkut 2005 c’Mikreh Mivchan (The Political and Cultural Significance of the Evacuation of Settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: The 2005 Disengagement as a Test Case) (Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute, 2007), 40.

13 http://www.kipa.co.il/now/56289.html.

14  http://www.srugim.co.il/43874-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%91-%D7%A1%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%95-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%91-%D7%98%D7%90%D7%95-%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%93-%D7%9E%D7%90%D7%97%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%99-%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%A2-%D7%94%D7%94%D7%A9%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%95.

15 Yoav Sorek, “Orot Arafel” (Lights in the Fog), Makor Rishon, 20 February 2015.

16 For example, according to Itai Elitzur, “if we had behaved in Gush Katif as we behaved in Amona, it may or may not have saved the Gush, but the houses in Amona certainly would have been saved. If the state had still been licking the wounds of the policemen and the settlers who were injured in Gush Katif, no one would have had the motivation to act in Amona,” “Ha’am Mitchaber.”

17 Hermann et. al., Dati’im? Leumi’im!, 145, 147.

18 The writings of Rabbi Ginsburg call for “a transition from the State of Israel to the Kingdom of Israel.” See: Malkut Israel (The Kingdom of Israel), 127-134.

19 http://he.wikiquote.org/wiki/%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%93%D7%9B%D7%99_%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95.

20 Yoel Elitzur, “Kayitz 2005: Moetzet Yesha Eina Ona” (Summer 2005: The Yesha Council Does Not Answer), Nekuda, 295 (November 2006), 18-19.

21 I am grateful to Rabbi Yonah Goodman for this information. During the past decade, he has been active in helping the evacuees.

22 http://tech.walla.co.il/item/2829565.

23  http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4634778,00.html.

24 In April 2014, the U.S. State Department reported that about 400 “price-tag” incidents occurred in 2013, some of them within the Green Line: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224823.htm.

25 The study of the national religious public by Hermann, et. al., concluded that its attitude toward democracy resembles that of the wider public. This finding was true for the 2011 Democracy Index as well. At the same time, they found a greater tendency among the national religious public to compare the values of democracy with Jewish values, and a slightly higher level of negative attitudes toward democracy than among the general public (five percent vs. three percent), Dati’im? Leumi’im!, 75-76.

About Yair Sheleg

Yair Sheleg is a Research Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem whose specialty is the relations between religion and state in Israel. Formerly at Haaretz, he currently is a columnist at the Hebrew weekly, Makor Rishon.