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Hardal (also Chardal; Template:Hebrewterm) refers to those strictly Orthodox Jews who support the ideology of religious Zionism.

History and Groups

The term Hardal is part of a broad process of certain groups of Religious Zionist youth becoming more strict in certain religious observances and more ideologically driven by the thought of Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook. In the late 1970's graduates of Yeshivat Merkaz Harav began to reject certain aspects of the Religious Zionist and Bnei Akiva lifestyle. At that time, some of the graduates were already referred to as "plain-clothes Haredim."

According to some sources, the term Hardal was created at a meeting of the youth group EZRA in 1990. (Ezra is the Poalei Agudah youth group associated with Torah im Derech Eretz.) In later years, the term Hardal became a group that actually started separating itself from the broader religious Zionist community in order to dedicate itself to leading a life dedicated to strict Jewish practice, without the influence of outside culture. There was stress placed on modesty in dress and early marriage. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner was the major ideologue for this group.

All Hardalim built their thought on the writings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook as interpreted by his son Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. This approach gives a great role for faith, emotions, and messianism in Judaism. They also stress the study of Yehudah Halevi's Kuzari and the writings of the Maharal of Prague.

In recent years, it refers to those under the influence of Rabbi Tau, who left Yeshivat Merkaz Harav to found the more Hardalic Yeshivat Har Hamor. Rabbi Tau rejects secular studies and secular influences. He is also against any academic influence on teacher's colleges, rejecting the influence of modern educational psychology and modern approaches to the study of Bible. Those who follow this approach are called followers of Yeshivat HaKav- "Yeshivot that follow the line."

The term Hardal is sometimes used to refer to those coming from the Haredi world who join Nahal Haredi (the shortened army service for Yeshiva graduates) and continue to live within the broader Hardal world. It is also sometimes used for American Yeshivish Jews who moved to Israel and support the state.

Ideological Crisis and Political Schism

In earlier years, the Religious Zionist movement downplayed the reports of what some called traitorous actions of the Israeli Government, and the movement continued to stress its unconditional support of the state. However, since the call to implement Ariel Sharon's Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 to withdraw the IDF from Gaza and Northern Samaria and to relocate the Settlers living there, the Hardalim have been undergoing an intense ideological crisis. Many, such as Rabbi Shmuel Tal [1] have changed their ideological attitude toward the State of Israel, coming to see it not as an inherently valuable entity, but solely as a means to an end. To the extent that that end is not being realized, the state is not to be supported. Thus, they have come to believe that the State of Israel can no longer be considered "the beginning of the Redemption" as Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook taught. [2] Thus, their support for the State is conditional on the State's adherence to Torah law. [3] Some have ceased waving the Israeli flag, saying prayers for the State of Israel and no longer celebrate Independence Day. On Independence Day, when millions of Israelis attach Israeli flags to their cars, some of these Hardalim refused to wave the flag. A handful even attached black flags with orange ribbons (signifying opposition to expulsions from Jewish villages in the West Bank). The custom of black flags on Independence Day comes from the Haredi anti-Zionist world, most notably Neturei Karta. Others Hardal leaders, particularly Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, have declared that they continue to support the State regardless.

This schism process was accelerated after the Israeli Police, at the behest of then-acting-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, violently attacked youth who came to protest against the expulsion and demolition of a group of houses in the West Bank Jewish village of Amona, near Jerusalem, after which allegations arose of police and army forces "deliberately smashing skulls and testicles repeatedly with batons and engaging in sexual abuse of many of the female protesters," in the words of protestors. [4]

Distinctions from Other Movements


Some influential leaders of the Hardal world include former Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira of the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. Currently, one of the most important leaders is Rabbi Tzvi Tau dean of Yeshivat Har Hamor, who leads the most conservative branch of Hardalim, who are now almost indistinguishable from the mainstream Haredi world.

Other's strongly reject his "slavish" attitude towards the State, often termed as "Mamlachti". One such Rabbi who opposes Rabbi Tau's approach is Rabbi Tal, who has instructed his students to cease celebrating Israeli Independence Day due to the deterioration in many of the Jewish aspects that the State once held and what he views as the Mixed Multitude, or Erev Rav, who have occupied positions of power. Instead, celebrations are reserved for Jerusalem Day.

Most Hardalim fall somewhere in between.

Other important Rabbis and thinkers of the Hardal movement are:


Many Hardalim live in Yesha (West Bank) towns. The town of Kiryat Arba, led by its Rabbi Dov Lior, is considered a Hardal stronghold as is the town of Beit El, led by Rabbi Melamed and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner. They are also predominant in many Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, such as Yitzhar, Bat Ayin, Ofra, Shilo, and Hebron. There are yeshivot in Ramat Gan and Yerucham which are seen as Hardal yeshivot. Some Jerusalem neighborhoods are also Hardal strongholds, such as Har Nof, Kiryat Moshe and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

Literal meaning

While the subject of the article, Hardal, is an acronym, it is also the Hebrew word for mustard.

External Sources

See also