In the last decades Religious Zionism moved from the margins to the center of Israeli society and politics. Members of this sector (RZS) are located today in top positions in Israeli politics, businesses, and among professional elites, academia, and the military, gaining growing influence over the national decision-making processes and policies. No wonder, then, that public opinion polls indicate that the members of the RZS are the most satisfied and optimistic in Israel today. The fact that the RZS is positioned mostly on one side of the political spectrum (Right), the tight interrelations within this sector and its widening periphery have further increased its national impact. It is argued here that this is a critical development in Israeli politics as this sector’s members, and in particular those voting for the RZS parties, show relatively low commitment to core democratic values together with a clear preference for the Jewish aspect over the democratic aspect of the state of Israel. Furthermore, whereas in the past the RZS was politically represented by one main party (with some splinter groups coming and going), in the 2021 elections two parties (Yamina and the Religious Zionist Party (RZP)) collided head-on. For the first time each of these parties, the first more modernist and the second more fundamentalist, claimed to be the only authentic representative of this sector. The competition between them intensified when the election results showed that each of the two had gained the same number of seats in the Knesset, with the leader of Yamina unexpectedly becoming the new Israeli prime minister. It is argued here that the future balance of power between these two parties and their respective constituencies will determine the future of the RZS as a whole—whether it will establish itself as a pivotal actor in Israeli politics or remain at the margins.
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- 2021 elections
- Ben Gvir
- Coalition government
- Israeli Arab citizens
- Israeli politics
- Minority rights
- Religious Zionism
- Religious Zionist Party
- Supreme Court
- Religious Zionism -- Political aspects -- Israel
- Right and left (Political science) -- Israel