Enlightenment, Haskalah, and the State of Israel

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This article charts the broad and transforming effects of the European Enlightenment and the Jewish Haskalah on Zionism and on modern Israel’s government, judiciary, and political discourse. It traces this complex legacy using a semantic distinction between two Modern Hebrew terms for the Enlightenment, haskalah and ne’orut, that illustrates their importance in the political and discursive legacies of the State of Israel. The article then explores the recent populist and nationalist assaults against some of these legacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-825
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Legacy
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society for the Study of European Ideas.


  • Enlightenment
  • Haskalah
  • Israel
  • Zionism
  • anti-Enlightenment
  • liberal democracy
  • liberalism
  • nationalism
  • populism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy


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