For The Land and The Lord: Introduction, by Ian S. Lustick


I. Introduction


Amos Elon's classic portrait of Israel, The Israelis: Founders and Sons, begins with a description of the national mood on Independence Day, 1968:

So moving was the scene in Jerusalem on May 2, 1968, that some people in the vast crowd wept. Many more felt their blood quicken in a mood of rare exultation. Israelis were commemorating the twentieth anniversary of their independent state; they were also celebrating their year-old victory in the Six Day War of 1967. There was dancing in the streets and old-timers wandered starry-eyed through the teeming squares. According to newspaper reports the next morning, the remarks most often heard were: "It's wonderful! It's almost unbelievable!" Other people were more circumspect and said: "Let us hope it lasts." 1

Nineteen years later, Elon's description of Israel's thirty-ninth Independence Day suggests how great a change had occurred in the interim.

Veteran observers this year could not remember a more subdued Independence Day or one highlighted by so much political divisiveness. In former years, the celebrations were marked by displays of national unity in the face of outside threats. . . This year, there was not even a semblance of unity: doves and hawks, and secular and religious groups, were at each others throats as never before in the country's short history. The consensus on making war or making peace was broken. 2

Ironically, the transformation of Israel from a country distinctive for its national pride, dedication, intimacy, and elan to a nation bitterly divided over basic assumptions about its collective life can be traced to the consequences of Israel's military triumph in 1967, especially the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Simply put, in the Six Day War, Israel inflicted a quick but tremendous military defeat on the Arab world, and the beginning of a prolonged political and cultural crisis upon itself. Expressive of that crisis has been a polarization of sentiment and opinion on the most profound questions facing Israeli society. The religious and emotional fervor surrounding the renewal of contact between Jews and the historic heartland of ancient Judea, the appearance of real opportunities for an accommodation with the Arab world based on territorial compromise, and the sustained challenge of Palestinian nationalism have opened and reopened fundamental questions to which common answers simply do not exist. Indeed, for many Israelis it has become impossible even to find a common language in which to discuss these questions.

This is a study of one movement in Israel that possesses unequivocal answers to these questions-answers that it claims are the only authentic Jewish and Zionist response to Israel's current predicament, that are based on an unappealable authority, that promise a glorious future, but that demand total devotion to the movement. I will refer to this movement as Jewish fundamentalism, a term to be defined later in this chapter.

As explained in chapter 2, the reemergence of the fundamentalist impulse in Jewish national life occurred in the mid-1970s. After more than eighteen centuries of dormancy, the distinctive blend of messianic expectation, militant political action, intense parochialism, devotion to the Land of Israel, and self-sacrifice that characterized the Jewish Zealots of Roman times caught the imagination of tens of thousands of young religious Israeli Jews and disillusioned but idealistic secular Zionists. Through their intensive, sometimes illegal settlement of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, effective lobbying efforts, ideological and cultural influence on wide sectors of Israeli society, and readiness to challenge the very legitimacy of any Israeli government working toward withdrawal from "parts of the Land of Israel," Jewish fundamentalists have assumed an importance in Israeli politics and in the constellation of Arab-Israeli affairs that belies their relatively small numbers. Despite divisions on the Arab side, and the intransigence of many Palestinians, it is the Jewish fundamentalist movement that has emerged as the greatest obstacle to meaningful negotiations toward a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement.

Though its political fortunes shift from year to year, the movement's basic vitality is nurtured by the very conditions of occupation, distrust, and mutual hostility that its actions help to perpetuate. Its objectives are to ensure Jewish rule over the "whole Land of Israel," substitute its radical and apocalyptic vision of Jewish destiny for the pragmatic Zionism that Israel's founders had made the "common sense" of the society they created, and advance the world-historic process of redemption in which the Jewish people and the State of Israel play central roles. While the fundamentalist minority is far from realizing its ultimate aspirations, it has moved toward them by becoming a powerful force within Israeli politics and by helping to destroy the national consensus on the meaning of Jewish nationalism and the territorial shape of the State of Israel that had crystallized in the first two decades of independence.

Indeed, Jewish fundamentalism has helped plunge the Jewish state into a true Kulturkampf; in the context of which the country's social democratic tradition is facing unprecedented challenges. The ideological and philosophical chasm separating fundamentalists, and their annexationist political allies, from social democratic and liberal-dovish opponents is broad as well as deep. To date it has manifested itself most vividly in regard to policies toward Arabs. The new intensity of this intra-Jewish struggle is understandable only against a backdrop of a rapidly growing, militant, and sophisticated Palestinian Arab population living within the area ruled by Israel. Violent clashes with this large and embittered community aside, Israeli Jews are increasingly aware of; and increasingly frightened by, the prospect that within only fifteen years Arabs within Israeli jurisdiction are likely to outnumber Jews. The fear and uncertainty that this demographic shift is generating within the Jewish population as a whole make more attractive fundamentalist appeals to use Joshua's destruction and subjugation of the Canaanites as a model for solving the contemporary "Arab problem."

From an international perspective, the importance of the Jewish fundamentalist movement as an energetic and radical force in Middle Eastern affairs derives from the peculiar explosiveness of the Arab-Israeli relationship within which it is embedded. Israel and its neighbors have fought six major wars in the last forty years. Associated with these wars has been a series of direct political and military confrontations between the superpowers. Nowhere else in the world do adversaries armed with nuclear and chemical weapons, and conventional forces as well endowed and as sophisticated in many respects as the armies of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, face each other over issues involving the vital interests of each. Add to this the economic and strategic importance of the Middle East, the intimacy of Israel's relationship with the United States, the proximity of the protagonists in this conflict to the Soviet Union, and the political and social turbulence associated with resurgent Islam, and one can appreciate how delicate is the structure of international security in the eastern Mediterranean, and how attentive the rest of the world must be to developments within Israel or the Arab states that challenge what chances for a stable peace do exist.

In this context the power and purpose of Jewish fundamentalism cannot be ignored. The minimum requirements it sets for the satisfaction of Jewish ambitions are explicitly incompatible with the most generous offers credible Arab leaders could make. Within the belief system that animates the movement there exist ideological imperatives capable of justifying violent measures-against the local Arab population, the surrounding Arab states, or targets of opportunity, such as Muslim holy places in Jerusalem-as a means of advancing, or of preventing retreat, in what is seen as a cosmically ordained process of redemption.

Definitions and Terminology: Fundamentalist vs. Ultra-Orthodox

Fundamentalism is a term much more commonly used than defined. It is employed here not to refer to hyper-religiosity, nor to evoke images of fanaticism or simplistic styles of thinking, but to focus attention on a certain kind of politics. A clear and consistently applied definition of the term is necessary.

The word fundamentalist first appeared in early twentieth-century America as a self-description of those Protestant Christians who accepted what were known as the five fundamentals of their faith. 3 Subsequently it has often been used in strictly religious terms, referring to undeviating belief in a precisely rendered catechism or a religious tradition dedicated to the literal interpretation of scriptures. But most claims made about the impact of fundamentalism concern its implications for politics.

For purposes of political analysis, the etymologically based use of fundamentalist is unsatisfactory. It would apply as well to monastic sects and traditionalist religions whose rigid enforcement of elaborate rules entails complete withdrawal from society as to crusades designed to reorder the world according to the dictates of the Holy Writ. It would, on the other hand, exclude chiliastic movements that imbue their followers with a passionate commitment to sacrifice everything to achieve transcendental ends, if the ideologies governing those movements were not purely theological, or if the voice of God or his Prophet, unmediated by holy scriptures, were the direct authority defining legitimate behavior.

A more useful approach is offered by the authors of a major comparative study often fundamentalist movements, who understand fundamentalism as implying "a view of the universe and a discourse about the nature of truth... [that] encompasses and transcends the religious domain. For that reason, every movement or cause is potentially fundamentalist." 4 Thus, whether applied to Evangelical Protestants in America, Khomeinist Muslims in Iran, revolutionary Sunni Muslim groups in Egypt, redemptionistoriented Jews in Israel, Sikhs in the Punjab, Maoists in China, or Pan-Turanists in Turkey, fundamentalism is conceived as a style of political participation characterized by unusually close and direct links between one's fundamental beliefs and political behavior designed to effect radical change.

Most active participants in politics tend toward pragmatism. That is, they usually allow a host of intermediate values to intervene between their ultimate beliefs about what is right and wrong and what they insist must be changed about the society here and now. What distinguishes fundamentalists is their relative unwillingness to compromise with reality in seeking to implement sweeping changes in society ordained by whatever transcendental source of ultimate value they acknowledge. Their commitments are political, but they are uncompromising, dogmatically based, and comprehensive. Accordingly, for the purposes of this study, a belief system is defined as fundamentalist insofar as its adherents regard its tenets as uncompromisable and direct transcendental imperatives to political action oriented toward the rapid and comprehensive a reconstruction of society.

This concept encourages thinking about fundamentalism not in either/or terms, but as a phenomenon with several dimensions. Individuals, organizations, or movements may be regarded as fundamentalist to the extent that they (1) base their activities on uncompromisable injunctions; (2) consider their behavior to be guided by direct contact with the source of transcendental authority; and (3) are actively engaged in political attempts to bring about rapid and comprehensive change. Inclusion of political commitments to achieve direct and radical change in the shape of society within the definition excludes pietistic or monastic movements. But by leaving open the question of the substantive character of the source of ultimate value and the medium through which it is transmitted, hypotheses about different kinds of fundamentalist movements (purely religious, partly religious, nonreligious, scripture-based, charismatically based, and so on) can be framed and tested.

In the Jewish context, this notion of fundamentalism helps avoid including 2,000 years of rigorously observant, but politically cautious, rabbinic Judaism within its compass. In contemporary Israel it is helpful in distinguishing between the energetically political, redemptionist nationalism of Gush Emunim (the Bloc of the Faithful)-the most important organized expression of Jewish fundamentalism-and pietistic ultra-Orthodox groups, whose extreme traditionalism reflects their orientation toward prayer and personal observance, and whose communal requirements lead to their isolation from the social and political mainstream. Although sometimes considered fundamentalist, ultra-Orthodox Jews, referred to in Hebrew as the Haredim (literally, the fearful or God-fearing Ones), do not engage actively in politics in order to achieve rapid and comprehensive change in Israeli society. Their lives revolve around the careful fulfillment of thousands of rules contained within the halacha (code of Jewish law), as interpreted by their rabbis. Their distinctive seventeenth-century garb, their self-segregated neighborhoods, obsessive ritualism, and indifference or opposition to Zionism reflect commitments to isolate their way of life from the State of Israel, not to impose, through politics, their way of life upon it. The behavior of ultra-Orthodox Jews, bizarre to the eyes of Western journalists, often attracts a good deal of sensationalist press attention. Indeed, outbursts among the Haredim, often violent, have increased in recent years. Their growing numbers, their desire to establish homogeneity in the new neighborhoods into which they have expanded, and their competitive desire to display militancy to financial supporters of their institutions in the United States have led to dramatic protests against the operating hours of theaters, the location of public swimming pools, and the sexual content of advertisements. But although Haredi representatives may wield substantial bargaining power on issues of direct religious concern, they tend not to regard macropolitical issues, including territorial questions, as matters of great consequence. Because they are non-Zionist, or even anti-Zionist, the Haredim have, effectively, opted out of key political struggles over the course that Israeli society will take. Accordingly, despite Haredi beliefs that they, or their rabbis, are in relatively direct contact with the sources of transcendental authority, and despite their refusal to compromise on questions of ritual and religious law, they cannot be considered fundamentalist according to the definition employed here.

In Israel, fundamentalism finds its most powerful and oft-commented upon expression in the politicized messianism of Jews who grew up within the neo-Orthodox, "national religious" wing of the Zionist movement. 5 In contrast to the Haredim, the national religious, or Mizrahi, movement has sought to integrate relatively strict observance of the halacha with full participation in a modern, Zionist society. Its state-supported school system educates 25-30 percent of Israeli Jewish children. As a result of its traditional control of the Ministries of Interior and Religious Affairs, the Mizrahi movement's political arm, the National Religious Party, has exerted predominant influence over the enforcement of the religious status quo. For reasons discussed in chapter 3, the Six Day War gave impetus to radical changes within this movement. Incubated within its schools, youth movement, and seminaries, and within the National Religious Party, was the Young Guard, which expressed disgust with the machine-style, status quo politics of the older generation. Instead, the tzeirim (youth) advanced a political program focusing on establishment of Jewish sovereignty over the whole Land of Israel as a decisive step toward hastening a divinely ordained process of redemption, which they believed had already begun. This leadership cadre, and the national religious subcultural cohort it represented, formed the basis of Israel's Jewish fundamentalist movement-dedicated to the uncompromising implementation of transcendental imperatives through political action.

As explained in more detail below, this movement welcomed the participation of nonreligious Jews in moving Israeli society along the road to redemption. Indeed, the beliefs and political behavior of secular ultra-nationalist Jews, drawn from activist elements of the Labor Zionist and Revisionist (right-wing Zionist), movements, require that they also be included within contemporary Jewish fundamentalism. As we shall see, their absolute commitment to the fulfillment of biblical promises to the Jewish people, and to the achievement of maximalist Zionist ambitions, reflects their sense of political action as directly determined by uncompromisable, transcendentally valid imperatives. 6

Gush Emunim: The Organized Focus of Jewish Fundamentalism

Although within Israel a wide variety of Organizations, political parties, prominent individuals, vigilante groups, institutes, and personal networks make up what is referred to here as Jewish fundamentalism, the clearest and strongest expression of fundamentalist tendencies in Israeli society has been concentrated in Gush Emunim-an umbrella organization of 10,000-20,000 activists. Its slogan is "The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, According to the Torah [Bible] of Israel." By any measure, it has been the most successful extraparliamentary movement to arise in Israel since the state's establishment in 1948.

A large measure of its success has been due to the symbiotic relationship it forged with the Likud, Israel's major right-wing political party. Apart from populist slogans, vigorous assertions of Jewish national rights, and associated irredentist claims, Likud politicians and activists lacked a systematic ideological doctrine capable of justifying sacrifices or coordinating sustained implementation of their annexationist objectives. Insofar as this ideological vacuum was filled, it was filled by the ultranationalism and active messianism of Gush Emunim. Fundamentalist thinking also provided a systematic and evocative symbol system for rising Likud politicians, such as Ariel Sharon, to endow their ambitions with an aura of Jewish authenticity and Zionist idealism. Finally, neither Herut [Freedom] nor the Liberal party, the Likud's two major components, had a strong settlement movement of its own. Thus, the practical expertise and pioneering zeal of thousands of enthusiastic fundamentalist settlers provided the Likud governments of 1977 and 1981 with an indispensable resource. 7

However, as I shall illustrate in chapters 2 and 3, if the Likud used the fundamentalist movement, particularly Gush Emunim, so have the fundamentalists exploited their relationship with the Likud. The friendly ties that fundamentalist leaders enjoyed with the highest echelons of government, and the public sympathy and even admiration that Likud ministers and other officials displayed toward Gush Emunim settlers, greatly helped to legitimize fundamentalist ideas in the national debate over the future of the territories and their Arab inhabitants. Moreover, the enormous financial resources that both Likud governments put at the disposal of Gush Emunim and Gush supported settlement projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were of crucial importance in sustaining the movement's activism and enhancing its credibility. 8

Nor should the importance of the devotion displayed by members of the fundamentalist movement be underestimated as a factor accounting for its success. The men and women of Gush Emunim have made it their life's work to ensure that the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are permanently incorporated into the State of Israel. The level and intensity of their commitment, flowing from the fundamental, even cosmic, issues they perceive to be directly at stake, had largely disappeared from Israeli politics. Their operational objective is to accelerate the pace at which the Jewish people fulfills its destiny. This includes, for most of these activists, establishment of Jewish sovereignty over the entire, biblically described, Land of Israel, substitution of "authentically Jewish" forms of governance for Western-style liberal democracy, and rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby implementing the divinely ordained, albeit long-delayed, messianic redemption. They insist that direct political action is the means to accomplish the rapid transformation of Israeli society according to uncompromisable, authentically Jewish, cosmically ordained imperatives.

The core of Gush Emunim is in the more than 130 settlements established in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights since 1967. But, as is discussed in chapter 3, the recruitment pools for the movement within Israeli society are much wider. These include the religious youth movement Bnei Akiva (Sons of Akiva), a network of paramilitary seminaries (Yeshivot Hesder), the religious educational system, and many middle-class Israelis with strong political commitments to expansive versions of Labor Zionism or to Revisionist Zionism. Though officially nonpartisan, Gush Emunim is actively supported in the national political arena by several leading cabinet ministers. A half-dozen members of Knesset are known personally as Gush Emunim leaders. A parliamentary coalition known as the Lobby, formed in the spring of 1985 to exert pressure on behalf of Gush Emunim settlement objectives, was made up of members from five different political parties. Initially it included 23 members of Knesset, but within four months that number had grown to 38, or 32 percent of the entire parliament. 9 The Lobby reportedly operates with dependable support from a total of fifty ministers and members of Knesset. 10

Gush Emunim itself has never had a formal membership list or an elected leadership. Nevertheless, it maintains an organizational network that spans the "green line," the 1949 armistice line dividing Israel from the territories occupied in 1967. It also has its own settlement building and sustaining organization-Amana (Covenant). Its settlements are organized within Yesha (Salvation), the Association of Local Councils in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District. Moetzet Yesha (the Yesha Council) gives Gush Emunim a semiofficial governing body, substantial administrative and economic resources, and direct involvement in the implementation of government policies in the occupied territories. The movement has also spawned overlapping groups and corporations dedicated to specific objectives, including propaganda, land acquisition, economic investment, construction, immigration, political outreach, security, research, publishing, and artistic development.

Made up primarily of well-educated, Ashkenazic (Jews of European or American extraction), middle-class Israelis, Gush activists have close and often personal ties with Israel's traditional ruling groups. Major Gush marches and demonstrations have drawn from 10,000 to 150,000 participants. In 1984, parties running on explicitly fundamentalist platforms (Tehiya, the National Circle, Kach, and Morasha) received 150,000 votes, electing eight (of 120) members of parliament. But strong and crucial support for the movement also comes from the Likud and the National Religious Party, which together received 37 percent of the vote in 1984(45 seats in the parliament). Although Israel's Oriental Jews, (those who immigrated from, or whose parents immigrated from, Asian and African countries, and who are a large majority of the Jewish working class) are not prominent in the fundamentalist movement itself, the bulk of their votes go to the political parties that support its territorial demands.

The continuing strength of the movement is readily apparent. Four polls taken from July 1986 to June 1987 showed, on average, that Tehiya itself had enough support to gain between seven and eight seats in new Knesset elections 11 In the fall of 1986, the fundamentalist movement launched a national campaign on behalf of amnesty for Jewish terrorists, affiliated with Gush Emunim, who were convicted and imprisoned in 1984. By the spring of 1987 approximately 300,000 signatures had been gathered. The petition appears to have had a substantial effect. Forty members of the Knesset, including Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Industry and Trade Minister Ariel Sharon, and Minister of Transportation Haim Corfu, voted for a bill, formally opposed by the cabinet, to grant a blanket amnesty to the machteret (underground) prisoners. Likud ministers Moshe Arens, David Levy, Yitzhak Modai, Moshe Nisim, and Moshe Katzav showed their sympathy for the measure by pointedly absenting themselves from the vote. 12 President Chaim Herzog himself seems to have reversed his earlier opposition to clemency. Of the twenty-seven men convicted in 1984, twenty were free by September 1986, eight as a result of presidential pardons. In April 1987, President Herzog permitted most of the remaining prisoners to enjoy a holiday leave from jail and reduced the sentences of the three who had been given life terms to a maximum of 24 years, thereby making them eligible for parole. 13

On the other hand, Gush Emunim is not now riding a crest of popularity and prestige. Nor will the broader movement that it represents make Israel a Jewish fundamentalist state in the near future. As we shall see, Gush Emunim is currently coming to terms with its own institutionalization and with the need to introduce regular procedures for choosing, criticizing, and replacing its own leaders. In the summer and fall of 1987 it was still adjusting to a leadership shake-up designed to resolve a prolonged and intense, though not altogether unprecedented, internal crisis.

Assessing the Influence of Jewish Fundamentalism

It is difficult to determine how deep and wide fundamentalism's influence on Israel's Jewish population as a whole has been or might be. Spokesmen for Gush Emunim are, of course, expansive in their assessments. Gush Emunim, they say, represents the minority presently "making Jewish history." In this respect, they see Gush's contemporary role as identical to that of the Zionist movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which attracted only a tiny proportion of world Jewry to Palestine.

After the pogroms in Russia two million Jews emigrated to the United States. Only one percent of this number: twenty thousand, came to the Land of Israel. But we are speaking here of quality Judaism: Jewish, nationalist, and Zionist. To be sure, these are shameful and dreadful facts. But in the Final analysis, who determined the course of Jewish history in our age, the two million that created a new Exile or the twenty thousand that built the foundation of Israel's independence? 14

Consistent with this view, fundamentalist ideologues are also fond of comparing Gush Emunim, as an influential, highly energized minority emphasizing pioneering values and a grand vision of the meaning of Zionism, to the kibbutz movement of the prestate era. The comparison is not without merit. At its height, in 1947, the kibbutz movement included no more than 7 percent of Israel's population. Nonetheless, the kibbutz movement, kibbutz members, and the socialist Zionist leadership associated with the kibbutzim provided the Yishuv (the Jewish population living in Palestine/the Land of Israel) with its most salient models for Jewish patriotism, Zionist commitment, civic duty, and spiritual guidance. In the 1950s and 1960s the kibbutz movement lost much of its e'lan. 15 Since 1967 Gush Emunim, its "pioneering settlers" in the West Bank and Gaza, and the charismatic and rabbinic leaders it has raised to prominence have been the most salient such models available to the present generation of Israelis. As did the kibbutzim of an earlier period, say fundamentalist theoreticians, Gush Emunim has helped shape the political and ideological ethos of a generation. 16

The results of a survey conducted in the spring of 1987 support this view. The Hebrew weekly Hadashot asked a panel of twenty-two leading Israelis, from all parts of the political spectrum, to name the "person of the generation, the man or woman who has had the greatest effect on Israeli society in the last twenty years. First place in this poll was shared by Menachem Begin and Rabbi Moshe Levinger. Levinger, who established the first Jewish settlement in Hebron, in 1968, has been closely associated with the rise of Jewish fundamentalism and was identified by Gush Emunim in May 1987 as its overall ideological guide. Boaz Epplebaum, an adviser to Shimon Peres, explained why he cited Levinger as the person of the generation. "Prime Ministers have come and gone," he said, "but Levinger is still riding high. All of us have adapted ourselves to his dimensions and his scale." 17

Associated with the growth of Jewish fundamentalism has been an impressive body of scholarly research, focusing mainly on the origins, composition, and political influence of Gush Emunim. The conclusions drawn by these researchers support the choice of Levinger as symbolic of the transformation Israel has undergone since 1967. Ehud Sprinzak has portrayed what he calls Zionist fundamentalism as "the most dynamic social and cultural force in Israel today. " 18 Still other students of the fundamentalist movement have emphasized the need to look beyond its relationship to right-wing political parties and its political clout with respect to settlement of the occupied territories and related issues. Gideon Aran, Myron Aronoff, Leon Wieseltier, David Schnall, and Ofira Seliktar have drawn attention to the broad cultural, psychological, and religious impact of Gush Emunim. Schnall has commented as follows:

There can be no doubt that Gush Emunim has had a profound influence upon the Israeli political system, to limit the analysis purely to the specifics of government policy would be to miss a significant part of its impact. The group has fundamentally influenced the fabric of Israeli society in ways that transcend the political market place and relate to the heart of Israeli society. 19

Even those who have argued that Gush's influence may have passed its peak, such as Eliezer Don-Yehiya, acknowledge the great impact the movement it represents has had, as well as its potential for further growth. 20

The most important and widely cited consequence of Gush Emunim's influence is the establishment of Jewish settlements in sensitive, heavily populated areas of the West Bank-settlements that discredit, if they do not negate, traditional Israeli willingness to trade territory for peace. Indeed, writers assessing Jewish fundamentalism's overall importance are virtually unanimous in their anticipation that efforts to negotiate and implement a territorial compromise with Jordan, if ever attempted, would precipitate serious political violence and unprecedented threats to the integrity of parliamentary rule. The interruption of normal legal and political processes, which most of these authors expect would occur in such circumstances, will result from Gush Emunim's categorical opposition to peace agreements based on territorial compromise and the presence of the nearly 70,000 Jews its indefatigable efforts have helped bring to the West Bank. 21

It seems clear that Gush Emunim's central role in the implementation of the Likud's annexationist policies-and its pioneering image, vivid ideas, and inspiring self-confidence-resulted in the transmission of fundamentalist perspectives to wide strata of Israeli society, both religious and nonreligious. Public opinion polls, which have been a growth industry in Israel over the last two decades, are notorious for their variability, but they do show two points of interest. First, they support the thrust of what the literature on Gush Emunim's impact has concluded-namely, that the movement it represents can no longer be considered an extremist fringe group in Israeli society or politics. Despite the comprehensiveness of Gush Emunim's challenge to the ideas that have governed Israeli and Zionist political thinking for decades, one 1983 poll showed, for example, that more Israeli Jews were ready to outlaw the moderate, liberal, conventionally Labor Zionist Peace Now movement than favored declaring Gush Emunim illegal (22 vs. 27 percent). 22 Second, analysis of large numbers of polls shows a fairly stable pattern in responses to certain categories of questions. The clustering of these responses can be seen as convincing evidence of significant support for Gush Emunim thinking among Israeli Jews, an even wider readiness to grant approval to the implementation of key elements in the fundamentalist program, and the presence of sentiments and concepts that could, under the proper circumstances, greatly facilitate Gush efforts to convert wider segments of the population to its ideology.

More specifically, fairly radical fundamentalist beliefs, attitudes, and political programs that were regarded as crackpot extremism by the vast majority of Israelis in the late 1960s (for example, destroying Muslim shrines in Jerusalem, rebuilding the Temple before the Messiah comes, or forming Jewish terrorist groups to strike at local Arabs) appear to be embraced by approximately 20 percent of the Israeli Jewish population. 23 About 30-35 percent of Israeli Jews are now willing to associate themselves with closely related policies and beliefs (such as agreement with policies of subjugation and expulsion for Arabs, support of the 1980 attacks on the Arab mayors, opposition to any freeze on the establishment of new settlements, and willingness to sharply reduce standards of living to lessen Israeli dependence on America) 24 In a poll taken in April 1987, some 62 percent of Israeli Jews interviewed indicated they were "against the evacuation of settlements in Judea and Samaria, even in exchange for a peace agreement." Most significantly, however, 45-50 percent expressed support for the key Gush Emunim demand that the West Bank and Gaza Strip be permanently and unconditionally ruled by Israel. This level of support for territorial maximalism appears to be very solid and has been confirmed by scores of polls during the last several years. It represents an increase of 30-50 percent over levels of support for permanent incorporation of the territories that prevailed in the mid-1970s. 25

In the picture that emerges from the polling data and the research available on the influence of the fundamentalist movement, Gush Emunim and related groups neither command nor are likely soon to command the loyalty of a majority of Israeli Jews. Nonetheless, the fundamentalist movement has become, and will unquestionably remain, a major player in the elemental struggle now under way to determine the shape and purpose of Israeli society-a struggle necessitated and largely defined by the fundamentalists' own settlement activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite the intense opposition to de facto annexation that exists in Israel, the Jewish state has moved very far toward permanent incorporation of the territories. This is itself a boon to the Jewish fundamentalist movement, since associated with it, and the international isolation it has caused, have been significant shifts in the minds of many Israelis toward self-images and images of the outside world that are conducive to the fundamentalists' long-term objective-to make their vision of the Jews' "lonely destiny" the only one available to Israelis.

The next chapter places Jewish fundamentalism's contemporary emergence in Jewish historical perspective and locates the key factors responsible for the timing and coloration of the movement. In chapter 3 I provide a brief analysis of the social basis of the movement and describe the specific political and organizational evolution of Gush Emunim and associated groups. In chapter 4 I present the worldview of fundamentalist activists, including their basic beliefs and the assumptions about national and international politics that flow from those beliefs. The character of shared perceptions, commitments, and beliefs within the movement having been established, I analyze in chapter 5 the substantial range of disagreement among fundamentalists on six basic issues. In chapter 61 discuss prospects for the continued growth and influence of the fundamentalist movement in light of the leadership crisis within Gush Emunim, the changing composition of the Israeli population in the occupied territories, the campaign to change the status quo on the Temple Mount (Hur Ha Bayit-known by Muslims as Haram el-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), and the rivalry and potential for cooperation that exist between Gush Emunim and the Haredim. In the concluding chapter, I consider some broader theoretical and policy-relevant implications of my analysis.


Notes

Note 1: Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971) p.3. Back.

Note 2: Amos Elon, "Letter from Israel," New Yorker, July 27, 1987, p.33. Back.

Note 3: See George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1980) for a discussion of the origins of the term fundamentalism in relationship to the insistence by American Christian Evangelicals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that true Christians adhere in an undeviating fashion to the five fundamentals. Back.

Note 4: From the publisher's description of Lionel Caplan, ed., Studies in Religious Fundamentalism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987). On the fundamentalist potential of nonreligious ideologies, see, in particular, Richard Tapper and Nancy Tapper, "Thank God We're Secular!' Aspects of Fundamentalism in a Turkish Town," pp. 51-78. Back.

Note 5: For applications of the concept of "fundamentalist" in the Israeli context that correspond closely to my own, see Janet Aviad, "The Contemporary Israeli Pursuit of the Millennium," Religion, vol.14 (1984) pp. 199-222; David Newman, "Gush Emunim Between Fundamentalism and Pragmatism," Jerusalem Quarterly, no.39(1986) pp.33-43; Ehud Sprinzak, Gush Emunim: The Politics of Zionist Fundamentalism in Israel (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1986); Baruch Kimmerling, Zionism and Territory (Berkeley, California: University of California Institute of International Studies, 1983) p. 182; Jacob Katz, "Is Messianism Good for the Jews?" Commentary, vol.83, no.4 (April 1987) pp. 35-36; and Jonathan Webber; "Rethinking Fundamentalism: the Readjustment of Jewish Society in the Modern World," in Caplan, Studies; p.116. Back.

Note 6: Concerning the organizational and ideological merger between the secular ultranationalist Movement for the Whole Land of Israel and Gush Emunim, see below, pp.61-63, Lilly Weissbrod, "Core Values and Revolutionary Change," in David Newman, ed., The Impact of Gush Emunim (London: Croom Helm, 1985) pp. 79-80; and Julien Bauer, "A New Approach to Religious-Secular Relationships?" in Newman, pp.91-110. Back.

Note 7: See Danny Rubinstein, On the Lord's Side: Gush Emunim (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1982) p. 179; Ilan Peleg, Begin's Foreign Policy, 1977-1983: Israel's Move to the Right (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987) pp.117-122; Gershon Shafir, "Changing Nationalism and Israel's 'Open Frontier' on the West Bank," Theory and Society, vol. 13, no. 6 (November 1984) pp.818-819; Giora Goldberg and Efraim Ben- Zadok, "Gush Emunim in the West Bank," Middle Eastern Studies, vol.22, no.l (January 1986) pp.69-72; and Amnon Sella, "Custodians and Redeemers: Israeli Leaders' Perceptions of Peace, 1967-l979,"Middle Eastern Studies, vol.22, no.2 (April1986) pp. 236-251. Back.

Note 8: See Amnon Rubinstein, The Zionist Dream Revisited: From Hezl to Gush Emunim and Back (New York: Schocken Books, 1984) pp. 108-109. See also Lilly Weissbrod, "Gush Emunim Ideology—From Religious Doctrine to Political Action, "Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 18, no. 3 (July 1982) p. 273; and preface to Newman, Impact. Back.

Note 9: See "Blessings to the Lobby," Nekuda, no. 85, April 5, 1985 p. 7; and an interview with the chairman of the lobby, Herut veteran Uzi Landau, Nekuda, no. 85, April 5,1985, pp. 8-9. Estimates for the increased size of the group are from an unpublished paper by Rick Hasen, "The Strength of the Gush Emunim Infrastructure," 1986. Back.

Note 10: Yehuda Hazani, "The Lobby for the Sake of Heaven," Nekuda, no. 84, March 1, 1985 pp. 24-25. Back.

Note 11: Polls conducted by Modi'in Ezrahi reported in Maariv, January 27, 1987, and April21, 1987; and pol1s conducted by Dahaf, reported in Yediot Acharonot, June 19, 1987. Back.

Note 12: Jerusalem Domestic Service, July 8,1987 (transcribed in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service [FBIS], July 8, 1987, P. L2). FBIS material from 1980 to June 1987 is found in Daily Report: Near East and Africa; subsequent material is in Daily Report: Near East and South Asia. Back.

Note 13: Moshe Hurvitz, "How They Are Pressuring the President," Koteret Rashit, no. 199, September 24, 1986 pp. 13-15, 47; Danny Kipper, "President Reconsidering Pardon for Jewish Underground Detainees," Yediot Acharonot, February 19, 1987; and Judy Siegel, "The President Defends His Move on Lifers,"Jerusalem Post International Edition, week ending April 11, 1987. Back.

Note 14: Israel Eldad, "Before the Fire: Gush Emunim's First Decade," Nekuda, no. 69, February 3, 1984, p. 17. Back.

Note 15: Tsvi Raanan, Gush Emunim (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1980) p. 46. Back.

Note 16: For an explicit comparison along these lines by a Gush activist who faults the fundamentalist movement for not yet living up to the standards of the pre-1948 kibbutz movement, see Ezra Zohar, "Where are the Secularists and the People of the Slum Neighborhoods?" Nekuda, no. 92, October 23, 1985 pp. 10-11. On the comparison of Gush Emunim to the pre-1948 kibbutz movement, see Ehud Sprinzak, Gush Emunim, p. 23. Back.

Note 17: See Thomas L. Friedman, "History's Favorite Israelis," New York Times, June 11 1987, p. A4. Back.

Note 18: Sprinzak, Gush Emunim, p. 2. Back.

Note 19: David Schnall, "An Impact Assessment," in Newman, Impact, p. 15. See also Gideon Aran, "From Religious Zionism to Zionist Religion: The Roots of Gush Emunim, "In Peter Medding, ed., Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Vol. 2, (1986) p.116; Myron J. Aronoff, "The Institutionalization and Cooptation of a Charismatic, Messianic, Religious-Political Revitalization Movement," in Newman Impact, pp. 46, 60; Ofira Seliktar, New Zionism and the Foreign Policy System of Israel (Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986) pp. 95, 159-160, 271; and Leon Wieseltier, "The Demons of the Jews," New Republic November 11, 1985 p. 19, 271. Back.

Note 20: Eliezer Don-Yehiya, "Jewish Messianism, Religious Zionism and Israeli Politics: The Impact and Origins of Gush Emunim,"Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 23, no. 2 (April 1987) p. 225. For a particularly negative assessment of Gush Emunim's future prospects, see Avram Schweitzer, Israel: The Changing National Agenda (London: Croom Helm, 1986) pp. 88-91. Back.

Note 21: See, in particular, Seliktar, New Zionism, p 263; and Goldberg and Ben-Zadok, "Gush Emunim," pp. 69-72. Back.

Note 22: Poll conducted by Dahaf for Koteret Rashit (March 9,1983 ) . See also polling data in appendix 2, dealing with attitudes toward the voting rights of Jews supportive of the PLO compared to those supportive of Meir Kahane. Back.

Note 23: See polling data in appendix 2. Back.

Note 24: See polling data in appendix 2. Back.

Note 25: See polling data in appendix 2. Back.


For the Land and the Lord