‘Liberal Religious Jews Like Me Lost the Battle. The Extremists Won’

Amichai Chasson’s new poetry collection comes out at a particularly fraught moment for Israeli society. In an interview, he talks about how the ideas he was raised on in his national-religious yeshiva, such as relating to the body as a thing of shameful impurity, also influence the country and society at large, and why Avi Maoz frightens him more than Itamar Ben-Gvir

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Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich

A few months ago, when he drove out to Gush Etzion, in the West Bank, for a screening of his movie about the poet Avot Yeshurun, Amichai Chasson ran into one of his former teachers. It was an encounter that Chasson had been anticipating with some trepidation. The wide-eyed, passionate youth he’d been years ago, when he studied at the hesder yeshiva in the settlement of Otniel and seemed on track to become a rabbi, was quite different from the adult Chasson had turned out to be. (The hesder program combines advanced Torah study with army service.) He knew this encounter would end in disappointment.

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