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Innovation in Israel

Between Politics, Society, and Culture

Sigal Ben-Rafael Galanti, Fany Yuval, and Assaf Meydani

The past decade has witnessed a growing number of theoretical and empirical studies analyzing the components of innovation; the ways in which it filters into political, social, and cultural systems; how it accelerates; what drives its existence; and its advantages and disadvantages (Seeck and Diehl 2017). This special issue, a joint initiative of the Israel Political Science Association (ISPSA) and Israel Studies Review, seeks to examine innovation in the Israeli political and societal sphere. Rooted in different disciplines, the articles are diverse yet connected to the political world, offering a distinctive preliminary mosaic that highlights the theme of innovation in Israel as it unfolds between politics, society, and culture.

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Innovations in Israel’s Civics Textbooks

Enlightening Trends in Non-Western Democracies

Sigal Ben-Rafael Galanti, Paz Carmel, and Alon Levkowitz

Abstract

Classic Western democracies (those of Western Europe and the Anglophone world) view the teaching of civics as a policy instrument through which liberal values, democracy, and even globalization are introduced to future citizens, thus expecting to assure the persistence of democracy. In present-day democracies in general, and mainly in non-Western democracies, however, civics assumes other forms, including the study of nationalism. This article analyzes innovations in the teaching of civics in Israel by examining the changes in school textbooks that accompany changing national leaderships. We highlight the current Israeli high school civics textbook, written under a significantly rightist-religious government. Assuming that civics textbooks express the political credo of ruling elites, our findings suggest similarities between trends in Israel and non-Western democracies, hinting at the fragility of democratization in general and chiefly outside the West.