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Departmental Seminar: The Religionization of Israeli Society

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There is general agreement that Jewish Israeli society is undergoing a process of religionization, manifested in a growing saliency of religious personalities, religious themes, and the religious outlook in public life. Professor Yoav Peled and Horit Herman Peled seek to explain the causes and significance of this process by looking at the two key aspects of it: (1) the increasing presence and influence of religious Zionists in various areas of social life – politics, the military, education, mass media – with particular attention to the field of visual arts; (2) rising religiosity among Israeli Jews who previously considered themselves to be secular or traditional. Both processes, they will argue, are rooted in the decline of Labor Zionism’s hegemonic position due to the transformation of Israeli society since 1967.

Professor Yoav Peled is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Tel Aviv University and in 2016–2017 a Leverhulme Professorial Fellow in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. His book, co-authored with Gershon Shafir, Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2002) won the 2002 Albert Hourani Award of the Middle East Studies Association of North America for best book in Middle East studies published that year. He is co-author, with Horit Herman Peled, of The Religionization of Israeli Society (Routledge, forthcoming ) and co-editor, with John Ehrenberg, of Israel and Palestine: Alternative Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). He is also a member of the editorial boards of Ethnic and Racial Studies and of Citizenship Studies.

Horit Herman Peled is a media artist, activist and educator. Her work deals with the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and with life under a ‘state of exception.’ Her video, Violin Player at the Checkpoint – generated a world-wide debate over the morality of checkpoints and of the occupation itself.

This talk is part of the All POLIS Department Seminars and Events series.

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