Chiloni-dati divide (Yisrael)
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The Chiloni - Dati divide refers to the broad social divide in Yisraeli society and culture between the chiloni (secular-oriented) and dati (religious-oriented) that permeates much of Yisraeli life. Since Yisrael is a halachic state, meaning all Jews are required to follow the Code of Jewish Law, there is a gradient between those who follow the minimum religious requirements in public and those that devoutly follow all religious laws and customs, publicly and privately. Each major social grouping along this spectrum is called מִגזָר (lit. "sector").
The divide emerged in the late 18th century as the Haskalah movement emerged in reaction to the Arthuristan Illumination and challenged the royal and religious dominance of Yisraeli society, culture, and politics. In the late 19th century, the defeat of the liberal and secularist forces gave way to a new reactionary social consensus where secular and non-religious life was subsumed begrudgingly under a veneer of external religious and conservative majority norms. Subsequently, Yisrael has seen increasing polarization between the deeply religious and secular-leaning nominally religious spheres since the 1950s, a widening rift that has become a top social concern.
- 1 Overview
- 1.1 Secularity v. Religiosity
- 1.2 Major sectors
- 1.3 History
- 2 Religion
- 3 Culture
- 4 Society
- 5 See also
Secularity v. Religiosity
Secularism is constitutionally banned, and while certain elements of secularity - education, media, art, and other phenomenon - are selectively permitted depending on the type and context, inside Yisrael legally there cannot be said to be a "secular Jewish culture" or body politic, though pragmatically such a socio-political group and attitude does, in fact, exist in subtle ways. Outside of this left-leaning, minimally religious, secular-leaning bloc of Yisraelis, most Yisraeli Jews belong to a religio-politico-social spectrum of beliefs and practices based on ethnic, historical, and hashkafic (religious philosophical) approaches to traditional Judaism.
The Yisraeli Jewish religious, social, political, and ethnic lines break down roughly into five socially recognized blocs in the country's public life.
The left-most social group religiously and politically among Yisraeli Jews, the Nominal Religious, often called by the Hebrew shorthand Chiloni (pl. Chilonim, lit. "mundane") are exactly as their name suggests: they are minimally religious, and only, often reluctantly, follow the public mitzvos that is decreed by law, such as keeping kosher diets and not desecrating the Sabbath.
This group is the most dissident and critical of the ruling halachic state, and overwhelmingly supports measures to pair back or relax religious law, especially enforcement of the public religious commandments. Politically, they tend to strongly support the Constitutional Liberal Party and for more conservative-leaning moderates in this group, to a lesser degree the Action Yisrael party. On foreign policy, the Nominal Religious have fiercely gravitated towards a pro-Arthurista stance, with many being overly negative towards Tarsas.
This group has the lowest fertility rates in the kingdom, mirroring rates in the more secular-liberal countries of Western Belisaria such as Arthurista. They cluster in the larger cities, and are, unsurprisingly, the most secular-educated group, having more graduate- and post-graduate degrees per capita than the other groups. They tend to concentrate in the arts, sciences, media, and in some business fields. They overwhelmingly speak Modern Hebrew and Anglic, and have a notable disdain for Yiddish.
It's estimated that the Chilonim hover around 18-22% of the Yisraeli public, which has shown a marked decline since the late 1970s and early 1980s, largely due to its low birth and replacement rates and defections to more rightward sectors due to the baal teshuva movement. Historically, they were polled to be as high as 40-43% in the period of the early 1950s through the mid-1960s.
The largest social group in the nation, and considered the most centrist religious and politically, the Traditionalists - usually referred to as Masorti (pl. Masortim) - play an outsized role in Yisraeli life.
Religiously, this group is highly "traditional," and more enthusiastically embraces such public mitzvos - such as observing the Sabbath and holidays, or tithing tzedakah. However, they are criticized by both the Chilonim to their left saying they "pick and choose" the mitzvos they want to do and are basically more secular-oriented like themselves, or from the right-leaning sectors who rebuke them for being lax or selective in their observance. For example, many Masortim may be lack about following strict religious business ethics or tithing agricultural products, or disregard laws of modesty between men and women. However, they are often more strict about limiting certain types of secular media or subjects, and take great pride in the public rituals of the Sabbath.
Politically, as the largest social bloc, the Traditionalists have a solid foothold - in terms of voting constituencies and leadership roles - in all the parties across the political spectrum, although they tend to be more identified with Action Yisrael. However, there are sizable numbers of Masortim in the party ranks of the Con-Libs, Conservatives, and the Northern League. Foreign policy-wise, they tend to oscillate between Arthurista and Tarsas depending whether the left-wing or right-wing parties are in power.
The Masortim have higher fertility rates than the Chilonim but lower than the Dati sectors to their right, resting at about 2.5 children per-capita, lower than the 2.9 national average but higher than the Nominal Religious' 1.4. They are well-represented across the economy and professions, but are more known among the small-business and manufacturing/industrial sectors. A high minority of the bloc pursue college degrees or technical certificates, and a majority complete at least some post-secondary education. This group overwhelmingly speaks just Modern Hebrew or a second ethnic language such as or Tarsan or Sydalene, but only a slice of this constituency pursues Anglic, Latin, or other linga francas.
Masortim are thought to hover around 33-35% of the population, which, like the Chilonim, is a modest decline from about 38-45% of the kingdom's Jewish population in the 1950s and 60s.
The National Religious, commonly referred to by the Hebrew shorthand Dati Leumi or "DL," is the most active social bloc affiliated with government and military service. Considered one of the three Dati (religious) groups, they are considered mainstream strictly-Orthodox in belief and practice. They are among the most fervent supporters of the monarchy and the halachic state, and are strongly identified as serving in the Royal Yisraeli Defense Forces, the general bureaucracy, and the police and security forces.
Within the Jewish religious world, they are considered the most lenient towards modernity, and expose themselves to more secular education and subjects then other Orthodox Jewish groups do; consequently, the DL have the second-highest number of graduate- and post-graduate degree-holders after the Chilonim, and while they are known for being overwhelmingly represented in public sector roles, also have a strong presence in academia, the media, high tech, banking, and other areas needing high levels of secular education. The Royal Yisraeli Political Academy system, the government's official leadership high school-style academy system, has in recent decades been attended by a supermajority of cadets hailing from the Dati Leumi sector, with polls showing recent classes topping between two-thirds and seven-in-ten being from DL homes.
Politically, the National Religious had historically been split between the Con-Libs and Conservatives from the 1920s until the Yarden Accords in the early 1970s, but since the late 1970s and 1980s have been much more strongly identified with the Royalist Conservatives, although the Constitutional Liberals retain a legacy cadre of DL party leaders and activists. The DL often feud with the Chareidim to their right and the Chilonim to their left in politics and society. On foreign policy, the National Religious are staunchly pro-Tarsas.
Of the Dati sectors, the DL have the lowest fertility at 3.43, but which is above the national average of 2.9. They speak primarily Modern Hebrew as a point of patriotism, and often speak the main global linga franca languages of Latin, Anglic, and Hellenic due to its importance in government service (the Foreign Service, etc.) and the business world, both of which they strongly inhabit. Like the Masortim and Chilonim, they have a public distaste for Yiddish, viewing it as a spiteful sign of separatism of certain Chareidi groups from public life.
The Dati Leumi poll about 24-26% of the population, which is roughly in line with their historical average. This is down from their high of 33-35% in the 1970s-1990s.
The Chareidi Leumi (lit. "National Chareidi"), usually called Chardalim or just Chardal (its Hebrew acronym), is the smallest social bloc and one of the three Dati sectors. It started out as a hardline right-wing Dati Leumi faction that opposed the Yarden Accords in the early 1970s that morphed into its own Chareidi religious movement and socio-political sector by the 1990s and early 2000s.
As their name and ideological origins suggest, the Chardalim are both strongly religious and nationalist, and share an affinity for government service and working as a profession. They are considered the "middle of the road" of the religious world, being stricter overall in ritual practice and strength of belief than the DL but more lenient than the non-Zionist right-wing Chareidim. In contrast to the Dati Leumi, who, while ritually observant tend to focus more of their time on secular affairs, while the Chardalim work as a means to an end for a livelihood but focus much more on dedicated Torah study than the DL do. However, the Chardalim reject a good share of the geopolitical isolationism and cultural separatism promoted by certain sects of non-Zionist Chareidim, considering it a "chillul Hashem" (desecration of G-d's Name) and outside normative halacha; indeed, the Chareidi Leumi view service to the state as a religious and patriotic duty, similarly to the DL.
Interestingly, the Chardal are overwhelmingly made up of baalei teshuva (returnees to traditional Judaism), who grew up more secular in the Chiloni or Masorti blocs but became more ritually and theologically religious later in life. Due to their exposure to more secular education and media in their less religious homes compared to the right-wing Chareidim, it is often the case that while the Chardalim are more ritually strict than the three sectors to its left, it is slightly more lenient in permitting and encouraging more secular influences (similarly to the Dati Leumi), in marked contrast to the right-flank of its fellow Chareidim, who are usually exceedingly strict in what non-religious influences they permit in their homes and communities.
The Chardal are associated with several specific yeshivas that follow and teach its hashkafa, and they tend to cluster around those areas. They have several neighborhoods in Yerushalayim and Modiin, as well as having notable presences in several mixed Dati (religious) neighborhoods in the suburban towns that ring Ashkelon, Dervaylik, and Modiin. There are sizable numbers of Chardalim in the Special Political Police and Security Service, as well as certain businesses such as banking and import/export.
Politically, they are affiliated largely with the Conservatives, though a far-right faction is active in the Northern League. On foreign policy, they favor a pro-Tarsas stance.
The Chardal sector is among the most multilingual in Yisrael - in addition to Modern Hebrew, many, especially those that go into government/military service or business, also learn Latin, Hellenic, and Anglic. In addition, there is a group of Chardal who are ethnic Tarsan Jews, and speak the Tarsan dialect of Hellenic. In addition, due to their inclusion in the Chareidi world, many are conversant in Yiddish.
The Chareidi Leumi, while the smallest sector as of now at about 7-10% of the population, has been on a rapid growth trajectory given its current 4.51 children birth rate, compared to the DL's 3.43 and the national 2.9 rate.
Non-Zionist Religious Right
The Non-Zionist Religious Right, usually referred to as the right-wing Chareidim or simply the Chareidim, refers to a catch-all label covering the most ritually strict and anti-modern sects of traditional Judaism. This sector makes up about 15-18% of the Jewish population, and only became a major force in the late 1990s when there was a massive influx of Chassidish Jews from Nekulturnya fleeing the attempted genocide of the pariah state's anti-Semitic regime during the NATA-Nekulturnyan War. The sector has three main factions:
Yeshivish Belisarian Jews
These Chareidim identify with the yeshiva world of the <TBD> in Eastern Belisaria. Much of this community came to Yisrael from the mid-20th century wars and political upheavals in Belisaria, but continued to speak primarily Yiddish. The men focus well into their twenties on intensive Torah study, the community tends to have larger families, and the wives often work in office settings to support their families. These yeshivish Jews are highly insular and skeptical of the modern world, and believe that although the kingdom is a halachic state, that they cannot actively support it until the the era of Moshiach (Messianic times) is actually upon the world. While not hostile to the state, they tend to minimize use of, and interaction with, other sectors and parts of society, tending to self-segregate with stricter practices and customs in distinct neighborhoods.
Politically, the Yeshivish had connections to both the Constitutional Liberals and the Royalist Conservatives to ensure family and kollel subsidies to its young men studying in yeshiva and as such became a transactional political swing bloc vote between the parties. However, with the arrival of the Chassidish Jews in the mid-to-late 1990s and a subsequent tentative political alliance through the Torah Achdus party, the Yeshivish became a firmly right-wing coalition partner to the Conservatives in the 21st century.
Since the mid-2000s, there has been a movement among a minority of this subsector to emulate the Chardalim and have some stronger level of interaction with the outside world without forgoing their ritual strictness, as well as to pursue more levels of secular education to get higher paying jobs to support their families. This movement, nicknamed Chaimniks, will often go to Chardal or Dati Leumi yeshivos part-time and to a local college or technical school to learn a better-paying profession or career. These Chaimniks also tend to learn several languages besides Yiddish and Hebrew, including Latin, Anglic, and/or Hellenic. Some of these Yeshivish members have gone into the banking and high-tech industries.
This community has a 5.76 birth rate as of currently.
Chassidish Belisarian Jews
Historically the hashkafic (religious philosophical) opponents of the Yeshivish back in the "old country," the Chassidish sects revolve around Chasidus and the Baal Shem Tov movement in Eastern Belisaria in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in <TBD>. These sects, each following an individual 'rebbe' in a royal-like succession, are among the most ritually strict in the religious Jewish world. Adopting numerous 'chumros' (stringencies), these groups have effectively kept the same level as dress as their forefathers three centuries earlier. Viciously suppressed for centuries under numerous anti-Semitic regimes in the Nekulturnya-Rhynovia-Liothidia frontier, the Chassidish Jewry have become strongly insular and separatist, even from their fellow Jews.
After their flight and re-settlement in Yisrael from Nekulturnya during the late 1990s war, the Chassidish sects refused most attempts at integration into Yisraeli society and established neighborhoods to mirror their lost communities in Eastern Belisaria. They speak Yiddish primarily, with many learning Hebrew reluctantly. Some that have ventured into business have learned Latin or Anglic, but this is uncommon.
These communities have created their own social and economic ecosystems, and have isolated themselves to a large degree from general and even the religious Yisraeli Jewish culture. To receive subsidies and benefits from the state, the Chassidish leaders have formed a political alliance with the Yeshivish Chareidim (who are more integrated into Yisraeli society) through the Torah Achdus party. The Chassidish sects usually employ bloc voting, giving the Torah Achdus party political clout by routinely re-electing its preferred candidates in their precincts to the Knesset. Politically, the Chassidish Jewry oppose expansionism, and routinely use their power in the Torah Achdus party to reject coalitions with the League for New Judea. They are supportive of the Yarden Accords, seeking peace at almost any cost with the non-Jewish world to await the coming of the Messiah. They clash with most of the other sectors, from the Chilonim and Masortim for being extremely ritually strict and separatistic from the rest of Jewish society, and from the DL and Chardalim for their refusal to integrate into a Jewish halachic state, which the latter two sectors perceive to be the first flowering of the Redemption.
The Chassidish community has an astounding 6.13 birth rate, and is projected to double its population every 22 years.