There was a time, a couple of generations ago, when it was fashionable to portray the Jewish religion as ‘socialist’ – or, conversely, to demonstrate that Socialism, and even Communism, had strong roots in the Torah, especially in the Prophets.

That was when most Jews were left-wing (in a socioeconomic sense). Difficult though it may be for today’s youngsters to imagine, there were many religious socialists – including Catholics and Protestants, but also, and maybe especially, Jews. There were political parties, in the Zionist movement and later in the Knesset, whose names declared them to be both Socialist and religious – even ultra- Orthodox. They saw and felt no contradiction between the two.

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