Political debates in many Mediterranean countries today are increasingly framed in dichotomous terms, highlighting divisions between religious and secular worldviews. In some countries, for example Israel, the issue is so contentious that it is described as a 'culture war'. While Israel struggles to balance its commitment to a Jewish state and a democracy, it does not seem to matter if the countries in question are democracies or non-democracies, or what their majority religious faith is. Instead, the role of religion in public life or, put another way, the 'public return of religion', is a pertinent and controversial political question everywhere in the Mediterranean region. How do we explain this phenomenon? On the one hand, we can point to both economic and demographic changes, while, on the other, we can trace the impact of continuing secularisation. Together these two sets of developments produce new challenges to existing political arrangements.