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Between State and Synagogue
The Secularization of Contemporary Israel

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Part of Cambridge Middle East Studies

  • Author: Guy Ben-Porat, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • Date Published: March 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521176996

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About the Authors
  • A thriving, yet small, liberal component in Israeli society has frequently taken issue with the constraints imposed by religious orthodoxy, largely with limited success. However, Guy Ben-Porat suggests, in recent years, in part because of demographic changes and in part because of the influence of an increasingly consumer-oriented society, dramatic changes have occurred in secularization of significant parts of public and private lives. Even though these fissures often have more to do with lifestyle choices and economics than with political or religious ideology, the demands and choices of a secular public and a burgeoning religious presence in the government are becoming ever more difficult to reconcile. The evidence, which the author has accrued from numerous interviews and a detailed survey, is nowhere more telling than in areas that demand religious sanction such as marriage, burial, the sale of pork, and the operation of businesses on the Sabbath.

    • Explores the tensions between the liberal component in Israeli society and the constraints imposed by religious orthodoxy
    • Looks beyond the formal arena of politics to understand the changing role of religion in public life
    • Important and timely contribution to the study of contemporary Israeli society
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    • Winner, 2014 Best Book Award, Israeli Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book provides useful information about the politis of the Israeli religious-secular divide and its evolution in recent decades. It is also timely in terms of the broader debate about the place of religion in Western democratic societies. Ben-Portat posits an important distinction between secularism and secularization … Recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty."
    D. Schwan-Baird, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521176996
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Figures and tables
    Preface and acknowledgments
    1. Unpacking secularization
    2. Israel: from status quo to crisis
    3. The state of marriage: regulating and de-regulating love
    4. Burial: a matter of lifestyle
    5. Pig on the plate: from 'white steak' to pork
    6. Live and let buy: bargaining for Sabbath
    7. Conclusions

  • Author

    Guy Ben-Porat, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
    Dr Guy Ben-Porat has been with the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Ben-Gurion University since 2001. He is a co-author of Israel Since 1980 (2008) and co-editor of The Contradictions of Israeli Citizenship: Land, Religion and State (2011).


    • Winner, 2014 Best Book Award, Israeli Political Science Association
    • Winner, 2014 Shapiro Award, Association for Israel Studies

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