The Challenges of Success

Secular Zionism since 1948

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Resistance to this power became the identifying feature of the secular Jewish population in Israel. Over the last few decades, secularism in Israel has become associated more with the political battle to weaken the hold of religion in the public sphere than with the creation of new forms of secular Hebrew culture and expression.


A look at the decades since Israeli independence highlights the significant accomplishments of secular Zionism in both of its variants. With all of its failings, secular Zionism has established a modern country with a full spectrum of dynamic economic, technological, social, political, educational and cultural institutions. It has revived the Hebrew language and generated a cultural revival of Jewish expression and creativity. 

Secular Zionism has changed considerably from its labor and socialist roots; today, in the form of an Israeli civic culture linked intimately to Jewish tradition and roots, it remains the orientation of the bulk of Israeli society.

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Ilan Wagner

Ilan Wagner directs Makom in North America, the Jewish Agency's effort to enhance Israel identity in local communities. He was previously the Director of Student Activities for the Department of Education of the Jewish Agency.