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  You are in: Home > Politics & IR > The Nation State and Religion  

The Nation State and Religion
The Resurgence of Faith
Volume II of Contemporary Challenges to the Nation State: Global and Israeli Perspectives

Edited by Anita Shapira, Yedidia Z. Stern and Alexander Yakobson

Anita Shapira is professor emerita of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, specializes in the history of Zionism, the Jewish community in Palestine, and the State of Israel. She is currently an editor of the biographical series “Jewish Lives” at Yale UP, and a senior fellow at The Israel Democracy Institute.
Yedidia Z. Stern is a professor of Law at Bar Ilan University and Vice President of Research at The Israel Democracy Institute. His fields of expertise are constitutional law, religion and state, and business law.
Alexander Yakobson is an associate professor of ancient history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on democracy, popular politics and elections in the Classical World; democracy, national identity, religion, state and national identity, and the rights of national minorities in Israel and the West.


For the last two centuries, the nation state has posed a formidable challenge to multinational empires. It has served as a base for modernization, secularization and democratization – and also for the formation of totalitarian regimes. Today, the nation state faces challenges from multiple directions. National minorities demand self-determination while religious forces challenge secular governments, and global migration movements destroy the cultural uniformity once considered essential for the formation and preservation of nation states.

The Nation State and Religion: The Resurgence of Faith is the second of a three-volume set which addresses key challenges facing the contemporary nation state from a global perspective but with special emphasis on the Middle East and Israel. Publication reflects research conducted under the auspices of The Israel Democracy Institute’s “Nation State Project”, which analyzes Israel’s complex reality in which a Jewish majority contends with an Arab minority, ultra-Orthodox religious forces reject the authority of the nation state, and an immigrant society exhibits substantial cultural and ethnic variance.

Volume II examines the role of religion in the nation state and the tension between nationality and religion as it is expressed today in society, politics, law and culture. The book offers a broad-based and in-depth comparative look at this issue in relation to different religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and relative to varied nation states (the United States, France, Canada, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority). Special emphasis is given to the Jewish nation state of Israel, where there is an ongoing struggle about the role of religion in the public sphere.

Alexander Yakobson, God and Religion in Modern Democratic Constitutions

The Western World
Pierre Birnbaum, Jews, the State, and the End of the Christian Nation: The American Case

David Cameron, Church and State in a Binational Multicultural Society: The Case of Canada

Philippe Portier, Changing Patterns in French Secularism

The Muslim World
Ehud R. Toledano, Turkish Nationalism and Islamic Faith-Based Politics: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Micha’el Tanchum, Sunni Sectarian Agitation as a Means of Contesting the Nation State in Pakistan: Implications for Newly Democratizing Muslim Societies

Itamar Rabinovich, Religion, Nation, and State in the Middle East: An Overview
Eyal Zisser, The Syrian State in a Crisis of Identity: Syrian, Arab, or Islamic

Meir Litvak, The Palestinian National Authority and Islam, 1994–2006

Fania Oz-Salzberger, Political Uses of the Hebrew Bible in Current Israeli Discourse: Transcending Right and Left

Nissim Leon, Ultra-Orthodoxy, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Contemporary Israel: Legitimizing the Participation of Shas in Israeli Governments

Asa Kasher, Religion and Statism in the Military Force of a Jewish and Democratic State

Yedidia Z. Stern, Jewish Religious Law and the Israeli Legal System


About the Contributors


Reviews to follow


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
June 2013
  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£35.00 / $49.95

Vol. I: Nationalism and Binationalism: The Perils of Perfect Structures (978-1-84519-567-0)
Vol. III: The Nation State and Immigration: The Age of Multiculturalism (978-1-84519-569-4)




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