Convergence of fundamentalisms? Ultra-Orthodox nationalists (Hardalim) in Israel

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The article investigates the phenomenon of ultra-Orthodox nationalists (Hardalim) in the modern State of Israel. Hardalim emerged out of ideological transformations in the ideological settlement movement during the 1980s and 1990s, combining aspects of the two major religious milieus in the country, national-religious Judaism and ultra-Orthodoxy. Such a fusion is cause for great concern among those, who fear a fundamentalist assault on the democratic state. Based on the definition of the editors of this volume, the article asks how far the classification of Hardalim as fundamentalists helps us to grasp the specifics of their group. I argue that the concept is useful insofar as it highlights some of the movement’s core characteristics that distinguish it from traditionalist Judaism and other forms of religious activism and lifestyle, but that at the same time a strict focus on the fundamentalist features of the Hardalim runs the risk of ignoring the group’s intimate ties and dynamics with other groups in Israeli society.


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