Analyzes a recent report on a survey of the religious beliefs and behavior of Israeli Jews, and of the intense public debate that it produced. In December 1993, the Louis Guttman Israel Institute of Applied Social Research released the results of the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the religious beliefs and behavior of Israeli Jews. The study revealed that Israeli Jews were far more traditional in their religious beliefs and behavior than previously thought, resulting in an intense public debate within Israeli society.
This book summarizes the Guttman Report and describes how the media and Israeli intellectuals responded to it and imposed their own interpretations. It then analyzes the report in greater detail and puts in global perspective Israeli Jews’ ritual behavior, religious beliefs, and attitudes toward religion in public life. The editors conclude that the religious traditionalism of Israeli Jews is unique among advanced industrial societies. They seek to explain this uniqueness in terms of the particular nature of Israeli society, focusing on Israel’s security problems and suggesting the impact that a new security situation would have on Israeli Jews and how it would reshape the Israeli political map.