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The Settlers’ Spiritual Fathers

Today, as Israelis vote, the religious Zionist theology of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and his son looms large

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Right-wing Israeli settler leader Hanan Porat is carried by supporters as they celebrate the government's agreement to meet their demands to set up the first Jewish settlement in the Samaria Dec. 8, 1975, in their encampment at the Sebastia railway station in the northern West Bank. (Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)
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Zionism’s New Boss

Under rookie politician Naftali Bennett, religious Zionism is finally becoming Israel’s political mainstream

Israeli voters go to the polls today to elect the next Knesset. Regardless of the outcome, undoubtedly the biggest story of the campaign season has been the rise of Naftali Bennett, a rookie politician who, against the odds, helped religious Zionism grow from a strong but discombobulated movement into an electoral powerhouse. This ideology, increasingly embraced by mainstream, secular Israelis, has its roots in the thinking of two influential rabbis: Abraham Isaac Kook and his son, Zvi Yehuda.

Tablet Magazine’s Liel Leibovitz speaks to Rabbi Shai Held, co-founder and dean of Mechon Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva in New York, about the Kooks, the history of the religious Zionist movement, and why it is such a force in Israeli politics and culture today. [Running time:39:20.] 

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Now, I know the origin of the term, kook. What we are dealing with here are a bunch of kooks who believe in Jewish superiority. They, too, shall pass.

Redwood509 says:

The man celebrated at the center of the image has passed away-had cancer.


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The Settlers’ Spiritual Fathers

Today, as Israelis vote, the religious Zionist theology of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and his son looms large

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