Moderate Religious Zionism

Beyond the settler movement.

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According to 170 religious Zionists who signed a manifesto published in major Israeli newspapers on May 9, 2003, these questions are particularly resonant. The signatories of this document were disturbed by the moral ramifications of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and particularly disturbed by what they perceived as religious Zionism's silence on this matter.

They wrote: "In the absence of a worthy Religious Zionist leadership at this time, we have no choice but to take the initiative: We call upon the Religious Zionist public to recognize the necessity of giving up our rule in the Territories and turn its energy to dealing with the pressing and neglected issues on its own and on the general Israeli agenda."

Like secular Zionism, religious Zionism has gone through many changes over the decades of Israeli statehood. As the political and geographic landscape of Israel has shifted, so have the factors and factions influencing the intersection of religion and Zionism. Religious Zionism may have once been monolithically associated with the belief that control over land was necessary for messianic redemption, but today people calling themselves religious Zionists may sometimes offer the opposite view--and any and every view in between.

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Daniel Septimus

Daniel Septimus is Executive Director of The Sefaria Project. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of MyJewishLearning, Inc.