Israel

“With the erosion of ethnic boundaries in Israel, and the mixing of different traditions to form a more general ‘Israeliness’, traditionalism has become mainstream”

The roots of traditionalism lie in Mizrachi Judaism. In the Orient, instead of the dichotomy between religiosity and secularism, there arose a worldview that saw the loose, non-halachic practice of Judaism as a legitimate option. Full halachic commitment was abandoned in favor of a secular lifestyle that included religious practices — out of respect for the past and one’s ancestors — without demanding that one adopt precise halachic practices. With the erosion of ethnic boundaries in Israel, and the mixing of different traditions to form a more general “Israeliness”, traditionalism has become mainstream. Its main components are belief in God, identification with Jewishness, adoption of religious practices — generally without their detailed precepts — and rejection of full commitment to halacha. This is the Israeli traditionalism that now characterizes most Jews in Israel.

Shuki Friedman, “Israelis Are More Traditional Than You Think”, The Jewish Week (15 June 2018), 8.