Varieties of Israeli Judaism
As the references to "Orthodox Zionists," "Orthodox non-Zionists,"
and "Orthodox anti-Zionists" indicate, Judaism is not a monolithic
cultural entity in contemporary Israel. Furthermore, an understanding
of religious categories in American Judaism, is not sufficient
for understanding Israeli Judaism. Israelis religiously categorize
themselves first as dati, that is, "religiously" observant
Jews or lo dati, "not religiously" observant Jews. One
who is religious strictly follows halakah, that is, adheres to
the totality of rabbinic law. One who is not religious is not
a strict follower of rabbinic law; however, the category can be
further subdivided into agnostic or atheistic secularists, on
the one hand, and individuals who are committed to Judaism in
principle, on the other. The latter groups calls itself "traditionalist."
Many Oriental Jews, especially in the second generation since
immigration, are traditionalists, expressing this commitment in
observance of folk customs such as ethnic festivals and pilgrimages.
This group is important because, although members may not vote
directly for religious political parties, they respond positively
to religious symbols used politically by a number of parties;
for example, the idea of the Jewish people's right to a greater,
biblical land of Israel as divinely ordained.
Data as of December 1988