New Books

By: Aharon Kampinski

(Bar-Ilan University Press, 2021, ISBN: 978-965-226-514-2, 278 pages, in Hebrew)


The late Zevulun Hammer (1936-1998) was one of the prominent leaders of the National Religious Party (NRP) in Israel, and this book traces his political path. From 1969 he served as a Member of Knesset, and later served as Minister of Welfare, Minister of Religions, Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister. Hammer successfully navigated political waters, from being active in the NRP’s youth movement in the early 1960s to the leadership positions he reached at a relatively young age. Hammer led one of the most dramatic upheavals in a political party in Israel as the leader of the youth faction, and ultimately succeeded in unseating the party elders.

Zevulun Hammer’s story is not just the story of the man, it is the story of a generation: the leadership generation of the national-religious movement that rebelled against the generation above it, but found itself – after two decades – at the same leadership point as before it. A generation that sought to change world orders, but was ultimately forced to make do with preserving the interests of religious Zionism, in a reality of political power struggles threatening to erode them. A generation that tried to carry the flag of the Greater Land of Israel, but moderated its views when political reality allowed for a political breakthrough. A generation that sought to strengthen Torah religious perceptions, but later turned out to be even more liberal than its ancestors. A generation that sought to strive for general leadership, but was eventually forced to settle for a sectoral party