Liberal Judaism in Israel

Different streams of Judaism in the Jewish state.

Print this page Print this page

Public Attitudes

Change in the Israeli government's treatment of the non-Orthodox movements is slow, but it is happening. The question remains, however, whether legal barriers are the only impediments to the liberal movements' growth and success. Professor Daniel Elazar, founder of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, argues that public attitude, not government policy, is the main obstacle to the liberal movements' success in Israel.

Many Israelis see the Masorti and Progressive movements as inauthentic, and they do not appreciate the changes that these movements have made to traditional Judaism. The pluralistic and egalitarian nature of American Judaism is foreign to these traditionalists--many of whom personally lead secular lives. Historically, a large percentage of the membership of the liberal movements in Israel has been North American. 

In recent years, however, these percentages have begun to shift, and today 60 percent of Masorti members are native-born Israelis or from non-English speaking countries.

The liberal movements are slowly growing and gaining more support in Israeli society, but only time will tell whether they are able to overcome public attitudes and government policy in order to reach a large proportion of Israelis in the future.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rachael Gelfman Schultz

Rachael Gelfman Schultz holds a B.A. in religion from Harvard University, and completed her M.A. in Jewish Civilization at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a Jewish educator in Karmiel, Israel.