A timely study by two well-known scholars offers a theoretically informed account of the political sociology of Israel. The analysis is set within its historical context as the authors trace Israel's development from Zionist settlement in the 1880s, through the establishment of the state in 1948, to the present day. Against this background the authors speculate on the relationship between identity and citizenship in Israeli society, and consider the differential rights, duties and privileges that are accorded different social strata. In this way they demonstrate that, despite ongoing tensions, the pressure of globalization and economic liberalization has gradually transformed Israel from a frontier society to one more oriented towards peace and private profit. This unexpected conclusion offers some encouragement for the future of this troubled region. However, Israel's position towards the peace process is still subject to a tug-of-war between two conceptions of citizenship: liberal citizenship on the one hand, and a combination of the remnants of republican citizenship associated with the colonial settlement with an ever more religiously defined ethno-nationalist citizenship, on the other.
• Multi-dimensional and institutional approach to citizenship • What does it mean to be an Israeli, an Israeli Arab, a Palestinian in Israel today? • Authors, well-known and respected in their fields, have written an accessible and objective study for scholars, students, journalists, and political commentators
1. Introduction; Part I. Fragmented Citizenship in a Colonial Frontier Society: 2. The virtues of Ashkenazi pioneering; 3. Mizrachim and women: between quality and quantity; 4. The frontier within: Palestinians as second-class citizens; 5. The wages of legitimation: Zionist and non-Zionist Orthodox Jews; Part II. The Frontier Reopens: 6. New day on the frontier; 7. The frontier erupts: the Intitfadas; Part III. The Emergence of Civil Society: 8. Agents of political change; 9. Economic liberalization and peacemaking; 10. The 'Constitutional Revolution'; 11. Shrinking social rights; 12. Emergent citizenship groups? Immigrants from the FSU and Ethiopia and overseas foreign workers; 13. Conclusion.
'There have been innumerable attempts to map that complexity and to produce a comprehensive analysis of Israeli society. Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled's Being Israeli may well be the most sophisticated so far, and perhaps the most challenging.' New Statesman
'Among this book's strengths, three stand out: the way it combines historical and sociological approaches; its concern to engage with ideas even while exploring their material bases; and its readiness to join normative reflection to description and explanation … At a more general level, what the authors show is how a vast number of details can be held in an overarching conceptual framework that gives them new, illuminating meaning.' Ethnic and Racial Studies
'… a great contribution to the study of Israel and its internal contradictions and conflicts.' Shofar