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Jewishness of Israelis, The

Responses to the Guttman Report

Elihu Katz, Charles S. Liebman

Publication Year: 1997

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.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies

Title and Copyright

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pp. ii-vi


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pp. vii


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pp. ix


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pp. xi

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pp. xiii-xvi

From its founding in 1984, AVI CHAI committed itself to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people. We state our objective as follows: To encourage mutual understanding and sensitivity among...

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pp. xvii-xix

The question of the religious attitudes and behavior of Israelis Jews has long exercised the Israeli public. People are interested in religious behavior, especially in comparing their own with that of others, but there are social and political reasons that also account for this interest. First of all, media reports and surveys of Israeli public opinion suggest that there is a great deal...

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1. Beliefs, Observances and Social Interaction Among Israeli Jews

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pp. 1-37

This is a study of religious observance, social interaction, and beliefs and values of Jews in Israel. Specifically, it explores the actual observance of mitzvot,1 social and demographic differences in religious behavior, the role of religion in public life, Jewish identification, Jewish beliefs and values as...

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2. The Media and the Guttman Report

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pp. 39-58

This chapter and the chapter that follows survey how two critical sectors of the Israeli public, the media and the academic community, greeted the Guttman Report. The media and the academics are very important because they serve as the major conduits through which the results of the...

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3. Academics and Other Intellectuals

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pp. 59-69

On December 26 the Avi-Chai Foundation convened a conference at the Van Leer Institute to discuss the Guttman Report. Thirty-two individuals were invited to prepare written responses to the report. Sixteen responded. Five additional individuals, most of them among the thirty-two invited to offer written responses, delivered oral presentations at the...

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4. Behavioral and Phenomenological Jewishness

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pp. 71-83

Sociological surveys on sensitive issues cause their readers-enlightened ones as well-to ask, "Is this us?" and "Is this me?" "How do its findings compare with my own image of everybody else and of where I stand in relation to the rest?" The Guttman Report on "Observances and Beliefs" did exactly that. It evoked interest in every quarter-probably more than...

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5. Religion and Modernity

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pp. 85-102

If we locate Israel on a global map of religious development, then the Guttman Report conclusions are puzzling. There is no evidence for a decline in traditional religious observance (i.e., the performance of ritual) or traditional religious belief that characterizes virtually all of Western Europe and that many observers find to be true of the United States as...

6. Cultural Conflict in Israeli Society

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pp. 103-118

Appendix and Index

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pp. 119-188

E-ISBN-13: 9781438410883
E-ISBN-10: 1438410883
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791433058
Print-ISBN-10: 0791433056

Page Count: 188
Publication Year: 1997

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies