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Theocratic DemocracyThe Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism$
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Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199734863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734863.001.0001

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Discussion: The Doctrine of Mutual Responsibility, Nonconformity, and Deviance Versus Cultural Change and Stability

Discussion: The Doctrine of Mutual Responsibility, Nonconformity, and Deviance Versus Cultural Change and Stability

Chapter:
(p.173) 10 Discussion: The Doctrine of Mutual Responsibility, Nonconformity, and Deviance Versus Cultural Change and Stability
Source:
Theocratic Democracy
Author(s):

Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734863.003.0010

This chapter argues that the religious doctrine of mutual responsibility propels Haredim to get involved in trying to persuade other Jews to act in pious ways because infractions invoke the wrath of the Almighty. This wrath is not necessarily directed at the perpetrators but can hit innocent others. Violence–verbal and non verbal-is part of these attempts of persuasion. Driving Israel to become a theocratic Halakhic state is what is behind most of this violence. The chapter argues that the concept of Haredi limited violence is inaccurate. Theocratic democracies can, and do, contain such pressures and tensions, but there is a limit beyond which this flexible structure may loose its flexibility and be driven to an extreme. The chapter ends with examining various trends that may press Israeli theocratic democracy towards a Halakhic state. Such trends consist of, for example, theocratic members of Knesset, large sections in the population that want such a state, existence of underground groups that were willing to use violent direct action to turn Israel into a theocracy.

Keywords:   direct action, halakhic state, limited violence, mutual responsibility

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