As part of its effort to forge a new secular Jewish nation, the nascent Israeli state tried to limit Jewish religiosity. However, with the steady growth of the ultraorthodox community and the expansion of the settler community, Israeli society is becoming increasingly religious. Although the arrival of religious discourse in Israeli politics has long been noticed, its cultural development has rarely been addressed. In his new book Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television
(University of Texas Press, 2016), Yaron Peleg
explores how the country’s popular media, principally film and television, reflect this transformation. In doing so, it examines the changing nature of Zionism and the place of Judaism within it.
Yaacov Yadgar is the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Oxford. His most recent book is Sovereign Jews: Israel, Zionism and Judaism (SUNY Press, 2017). You can read more of Yadgar’s work here.