Prayer and Voting in an Ultra-Orthodox Campaign Video

Sept. 18 2019

Yesterday’s Israeli election coincided with the weeks during which Sephardi and Mizraḥi Jews recite early-morning penitential prayers known as sliot in advance of the High Holy Days. (In the Ashkenazi rite, these prayers are not said until this coming weekend.) Thus a video, less than four minutes long and released by the ḥaredi Sephardi Shas party to attract voters, opens with scenes of people rising early to go to synagogue to the sound of traditional sliot melodies, saving explicit political content to the end. Shaul Seidler-Feller analyzes this advertisement, and what it says about religion and politics in the Jewish state:

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Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Israeli Election 2019, Judaism in Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, Sephardim, Shas, Ultra-Orthodox

Reclaiming Secular Zionism’s Religiosity

Feb. 24 2021

A recent article in an Israeli political journal argued that anyone who wishes to revive Israel’s moribund left must stay true to its secular heritage and “take a stand against both religion and religious people.” But to Gershon Hacohen this claim rests on a profound misunderstanding. While it is true that David Ben-Gurion and other early leaders of the Zionist left were secular insofar as they were agnostic and did not observe halakhah, their ideology was deeply enmeshed with the Hebrew Bible and Jewish traditions:

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: David Ben-Gurion, History of Zionism, Labor Zionism, Religious Zionism