Oz ve Shalom (Netivot Shalom)

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israeli religious peace movement.

Some members of the National Religious Party, who opposed the tendencies of their party to support Greater Israel policies, formed in the early 1970s an ideological forum that advocated moderation, tolerance, and pluralism in matters involving religion and the state and a compromise solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 1975, in reaction to the founding of Gush Emunim, the extreme settlers' movement, they established themselves as an independent "Fabian Society," seeking influence primarily through ideological, educational, and intellectual work, adopting the name "Oz ve Shalom," a famous line from the Jewish prayer book meaning "strength and peace."

In response to the 1982 Lebanon War and the intensification of the activities of Peace Now, a group of younger Zionist-Orthodox activists established a separate peace movement that aspired to appeal to a religious audience. They named themselves "Netivot Shalom" (Paths of Peace). Peace Now, the main peace movement at the time, was a secular movement, using secular terminology and organizing many of its activities on the Sabbath. To avoid duplication, in 1984 both religious peace groups merged under the name Oz ve Shalom/Netivot Shalom. The movement's main public figure was Avi Ravitzky, a professor of Jewish studies at the Hebrew University. They also gained the support of Rabbis Yehuda Amital and Aharon Lichtenstien, the heads of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Gush Etzion. Yet the movement remained limited in scope and at its peak claimed some 3,000 supporters.

see also gush emunim; peace now.


Bar-On, Mordechai. In Pursuit of Peace, A History of the Israeli Peace Movement. Washington DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1996.

Newman, David. The Impact of Gush Emunim: Politics and Settlement in the West Bank. London: Croon Helm, 1985.

Ravitzki, Aviezer. Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism, translated by Michael Swirsky and Jonathan Chipman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

walter f. weiker
updated by mordechai bar-on