Chardal (or Hardal); Hebrew: חרד"ל, acronym for חרדי לאומי, Charedi Le-umi, lit. "Nationalist Charedi", Plural: Chardalim refers to the Ultra-Orthodox Jews who support the ideology of Religious Zionism. It is a combination of the words Charedi and Leumi.
History and groups
The term Chardal 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 1970s, 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 Chardal 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 Chardal 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 emphasis placed on modesty in dress and early marriage. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner was a major ideologue for this group.
All Chardalim 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 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 Zvi Yisrael Tau, who left Yeshivat Merkaz Harav to found the more Chardalic Yeshivat Har Hamor. Rabbi Tau rejects secular studies and secular influences. He is also against any academic influence on teachers 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 Chardal 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 Chardal world. It is also sometimes used for American yeshivish Jews who moved to Israel and support the state.
On yeshiva.org.il Chardal is described as "The people who classify themselves as 'Charedi Leumi', or 'Chardal', try to keep the Mitzvot strictly, Kala Kechamura, while being involved in the national life in the state, and in the settling Eretz Yisrael." 
It has also been explained as the "Anglo Orthodox religious sector who follow a Charedi lifestyle, yet may also serve in the army in religious units, attend a Hesder yeshiva, and pursue a work career." 
Yet another explanation is "those connected to the seriousness of Torah learning and stricter observance of Jewish Law — like the charedim — but who are Zionist and have a more positive view of the secular world and Israel, like the dati leumi camp." 
Distinctions from other movements
Despite their roots within Modern Orthodox Judaism and Religious Zionism, the Chardalim have become increasingly distinguished from both currents while simultaneously retaining continuity with them in theology and ideology. The Chardalim have vacillated in their support for the state compared to the continuous desire for religious settlement and residency in the Yesha as according to their interpretation of halacha regarding the settlements; as a result, the Chardalim have increasingly become opposed to the state's actions against settlement and they have formed the religious hardcore of the anti-disengagement movement in the 2000s.
Some influential leaders of the Chardal world included the late 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 Zvi Yisrael Tau, dean of Yeshivat Har Hamor, who leads the most conservative branch of Chardalim, who are also strongly identified with the idea of relating to the State of Israel as an entity of holiness.
Others strongly reject his loyal attitude towards the State, often termed as "Mamlachti'ut" ("Statism"). 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 what many see as a betrayal of Zionist ideals by the Israeli government.
Most Chardalim fall somewhere in between.
Other important Rabbis and thinkers of the Chardal movement are:
- Rabbi Zalman Melamed, his son Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
- Rabbi Elyakim Levanon
- Rabbi Dov Lior, rabbi of Kiryat Arba
- Rabbi David Dudkevitch of Yitzhar
- Rabbi Shmuel Tal
- Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
- Rabbi Yaakov Ariel
- Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
- Daniella Weiss, Former Mayor of Kedumim Village in Samaria
- Professor Hillel Weiss, of "Professors for a Strong Israel"
- Rabbi Aryeh Bina (1912–1994)
- Rav David Bar Hayim of Machon Shilo Institute
Many Chardalim live in West Bank settlements. The settlement town of Kiryat Arba, led by its Rabbi Dov Lior, is considered a Chardal stronghold as is the town of Beit El, led by Rabbi Melamed and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner. They are also predominant in many Jewish settlements in the West Bank, such as Yitzhar, Bat Ayin, Ofra, Shilo, as well as in H2 in Hebron. There are yeshivot in Ramat Gan and Yerucham which are seen as Chardal yeshivot. Some Jerusalem neighborhoods are also Chardal strongholds, such as Har Nof, Kiryat Moshe and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
While the subject of the article, Chardal, is an abbreviation which stands for: Chareidi Dati Leumi, it is also the Hebrew word for mustard.
- Fundamentalist or Romantic Nationalist?: Israeli Modern Orthodoxy, Shlomo Fischer
- From Orthodox religious Zionist to Orthodox Hardal, Yoske Ahitov, Deot 24 (Hebrew)
- Orthodox Judaism is Ill, Bambi Sheleg (Hebrew)
- The Hardal Dilema, Nadav Shenrav (Hebrew)
- About Rabbi Tau (Hebrew)
- On "The Tanakh Debates"
Religion in Israel Secular-Traditional spectrum Dati Orthodox spectrumKippah Seruga · Hardal · Haredi Religious Zionism Ideas OrganizationsPolitical partiesMediaEducationOther organizations Demographics
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