On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Shaping Religion

While Neopaganism has been present in Israel for the past two decades, it was only recently that an indigenous movement has emerged known as Canaanite Reconstructionism, which seeks to revive ancient, pre-Jewish religion. Most Neopagan practitioners in Israel—who only number in the low hundreds—have drawn on Western sources, such as Celtic and and Wiccan deities and practices. But Canaanite deities, such as Ba’al, are beginning to take center stage at Israeli Pagan community festivals, and there is an effort to infuse Wiccan ritual sources and structures with references to both local seasonal changes and elements from texts in ancient Ugaritic. Such attempts to revive pre-Judaic religious rituals and identity face accusations from both secular and Orthodox Israelis of celebrating idolatry and being unpatriotic toward Israel’s founding myth (Nova Religio, November).