An online project is attempting to reconnect increasingly alienated Israeli subcultures. The “People-Israel: Guide to Israeli Society” project, created in part by Professor Oz Almog, a sociologist at Haifa University, explores the gap between growing Israeli subcultures, and mainly the divide between the religious and the secular.
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Almog explains that Zionism was once universal in Israel, a national fervor that united Israeli Jews as brothers. With a common goal – to strengthen the Jewish nation in Israel – other differences or disagreements became irrelevant.
But the decline of traditional Zionism in secular society has created a rift between the secular and religious public, the latter of whom perceive a “spiritual vacuum” in today’s increasingly post-Zionist climate. However, tensions also exist within the religious Zionist public, according to Almog.
The tensions between religious and secular Israelis, as well as within religious communities, were perhaps exemplified best during the pullout from Gush Katif and northern Shomron, three years ago this month.
Though recently more secular Israelis have begun adopting religious traditions, Almog speculates that this is merely a popular trend and not a true return to Judaism.
Through the People-Israel website, Almog hopes to promote contact and understanding between Israelis and to explore the possibilities of brotherhood between diverse groups. The project is located at www.peopleil.org.