While I appreciate your discussion of the secular/religious issue, you do not take into account the fact that most Israeli Jews value deeply the state of Israel. So you do not really address the issue that Sand deals with (in his own, personal way). Nevertheless, I have to say that I agree with most of your statements. ANY state uses (is bound to use) religion for its own political interests. This is well known -- at least since Hobbes.
Magnitude 4.2 quake strikes near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington (Reuters)