Egalitarian fundamentalism: preventing defection in the Israeli Haredi Community

Yohai Hakak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fundamentalist religious communities are usually portrayed as patriarchal in relation to women and authoritative towards children and young people. This article explores three cases in which a fundamentalist group, the Jewish Israeli Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) community uses egalitarian discourses and practices. My claim is that egalitarianism is a tool which the community uses to prevent members from defecting or to bring back members who have defected. Egalitarianism or equality between members can be increased or reduced, according to changing needs. While egalitarianism is emphasised among members, condescension is emphasised in relation to the ‘outside’, often portrayed as unequal and abusive. As part of these attempts, Western psychological, feminist, and democratic discourses, usually considered to be alien to the community, are incorporated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-310
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Egalitarian fundamentalism: preventing defection in the Israeli Haredi Community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this