“God Cannot Keep Silent”. Strong Religious-Nationalism – Theory and Practice

Eran Tzidkiyahu


This article wishes to discuss the phenomenon of strong religious-nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a comparative approach, paving the road for further research to come. The term strong religion-nationalism occurs when a nation-state unites the nation, state and ethnicity with religion. This kind of cultural political phenomenon flourishes in areas of conflicts concerning contested central holy sites, in which politicians are likely to mobilize religious-nationalism. Societies and states containing significant strong religious-national elements are in greater risk of falling into radical nationalism, fascism and totalitarianism. The term “strong religious-nationalism” is a paraphrase on the title of the book by Almond, Appleby and Sivan: Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World (2003). This does not mean that strong religious-nationalists are necessarily fundamentalists as depicted by the authors. It does correspond with the author’s choice of the term Strong Religion, relating to the movements they examined as “[…] militant and highly focused antagonists of secularization. They call a halt on the centuries-long retreat of religious establishments before the secular power. They follow the rule of offense being better than defence, and they often include the extreme option of violence and death.” The authors “intend the notion of ‘strength’ to suggest that these are movements to reckon with seriously” (Almond, Appleby and Sivan 2003: 2) Strong religious-nationalists merge successfully within the framework of the nation-state, making politics a part of religion, politicizing religion, transforming the nation-state into a “vehicle of the divine” (Friedland 2002: 381).

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