Religious Zionism and the Settlement Project

Ideology, Politics, and Civil Disobedience

By Moshe Hellinger, Isaac Hershkowitz, and Bernard Susser

Subjects: Israel Studies, Jewish Studies, Political Science, Politics, Political Sociology
Hardcover : 9781438468396, 348 pages, May 2018
Paperback : 9781438468389, 348 pages, January 2019

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Table of contents


1. Disobedience: Liberal and Religious Zionist

2. The Discourse of Disobedience in Religious Zionism: From Gush Emunim to the Jewish Underground (1974–1984)

3. From the Beginning of the Oslo Process until Rabin’s Assassination (1993–1995)

4. The “Disengagement” from Gaza/Gush Katif (2005)

5. From the Clash at Amona (2006) to the Price Tag Gangs (2008–2016)


An in-depth account of the ideology driving Israel's religious Zionist settler movements since the 1970s.


The Jewish settlements in disputed territories are among the most contentious issues in Israeli and international politics. This book delves into the ideological and rabbinic discourses of the religious Zionists who founded the settlement movement and lead it to this day. Based on Hebrew primary sources seldom available to scholars and the public, Moshe Hellinger, Isaac Hershkowitz, and Bernard Susser provide an authoritative history of the settlement project. They examine the first attempts at settling in the 1970s, the evacuation of Sinai in the 1980s, the Oslo Accords and assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in the 1990s, and the withdrawal from Gaza and the reaction of radical settler groups in the 2000s. The authors question why the evacuation of settlements led to largely theatrical opposition, without mass violence or civil war. They show that for religious Zionists, a "theological-normative balance" undermined their will to resist aggressively because of a deep veneration for the state as the sacred vehicle of redemption.

Moshe Hellinger is Senior Lecturer in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Isaac Hershkowitz is Lecturer in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Bernard Susser is Emeritus Professor of Politics at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, formerly the Norman Patterson Professor of Politics


"Overall, Religious Zionism and the Settlement Project is a significant scholarly contribution to the study of the Israeli settler movement and its complex relationship to the State of Israel. As such, the book should be required reading for scholars and students of the movement and of contemporary religious Zionism more generally." — H-Net Reviews (H-Judaic)

"This is a well-written book of sound scholarship that makes an important contribution to the research on settlers' rabbis. The authors refute popular arguments that condemn the rabbis as 'radicals,' instead showing how complex is their worldview." — Motti Inbari, author of Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount: Who Will Build the Third Temple?