Israel has absorbed considerable numbers of non-olim immigrants since the 1990s. This phenomenon has posed new challenges to the state’s highly restrictive and ethnic citizenship policy, resulting in the emergence of a new phase in its politics of citizenship, which this article seeks to describe and analyze. By employing the methodology of political claims analysis—based on newspaper articles reporting attempts to expand immigrants’ access to Israeli citizenship between 1994 and 2013—and an in-depth study of one specific struggle over immigrants’ status, spanning the years 2003–2006, it shows that Israel provides a much narrower, although by no means closed, ‘opportunity structure’ for enabling immigrants to access citizenship when compared to developed liberal democracies.
Yoram Peri, Tamar Hermann, Shlomo Fischer, Asher Cohen, Bernard Susser, Nissim Leon and Yaacov Yadgar
Introduction Yoram Peri
More Jewish than Israeli (and Democratic)? Tamar Hermann
Yes, Israel Is Becoming More Religious Shlomo Fischer
Religious Pressure Will Increase in the Future Asher Cohen and Bernard Susser
Secular Jews: From Proactive Agents to Defensive Players Nissim Leon
The Need for an Epistemological Turn Yaacov Yadgar
The Myth of a Long ‘Special Relationship’
Kilic Bugra Kanat
Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been mixed since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Although Turkey was one of the first Muslim countries to recognize and initiate diplomatic relations with Israel soon after, improving bilateral relations never became a priority. During the Cold War years, the two main determinants of Turkish-Israeli relations were their status as pro-Western countries in the region and the Arab-Israel conflict, which directly and indirectly influenced Turkish foreign policy toward Israel. Efforts to improve relations during the Cold War were constantly interrupted by the Arab-Israel conflict and by Turkish public opinion regarding Israel’s regional policies. Until the restoration of full diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level following the 1992 Madrid Conference, secret diplomacy between the two countries was the norm. Attempts at forming a Turkish-Israeli alignment were short-lived during these years.
The Spatial Assimilation of Immigrants
While scholars study residential segregation dynamics in order to understand minorities’ assimilation into mainstream society, less is known about these mechanisms in ethno-national migration contexts. This article examines Israel’s demographic dynamics from 1961 to 2008 in order to evaluate and provide a framework for the process of spatial assimilation of Mizrahim and Ashkenazim in the context of segregation from the Palestinian citizens of Israel. By using the Theil index (H), I assess the level of segregation in different geographic layers and then explore how internal migration has reduced spatial distance within the Jewish society. The analysis demonstrates that despite the disadvantaged position of Mizrahim as of 1961, levels of residential segregation had decreased by 1983. Also, boundaries changed from a variance between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim into a variance among Mizrahim only, with those who relocated as the most spatially assimilated group and those who remained as the most segregated one.
An Interview with Aharon Barak
This article is based on an interview conducted in July 2018 with Aharon Barak. In it, Barak reflects on the peace negotiations with Egypt at Camp David during 13 days in September 1978. While expressing great appreciation for the American negotiating team, first and foremost for President Jimmy Carter, for bringing the talks to a successful close, Barak considers negotiating with Carter as the toughest experience of his life. According to Barak, who had just completed his role as legal advisor to the government (1975–1978) and was appointed to the Supreme Court, the key people in the Israeli delegation were Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Ezer Weizman, while the key players in the Egyptian delegation were Anwar Sadat and Osama El-Baz. The negotiations went through ups and downs and had reached the brink of collapse until the Americans proposed that Carter negotiate directly with El-Baz and Barak. In the article’s conclusion, some important insights are deduced from this interview for future, successful negotiations.
Israel's Fast Track to High-Tech Success
Gil Baram and Isaac Ben-Israel
Why is Israel world-renowned as the ‘start-up nation’ and a leading source of technological innovation? While existing scholarship focuses on the importance of skill development during Israel Defense Forces (IDF) service, we argue that the key role of the Academic Reserve has been overlooked. Established in the 1950s as part of David Ben-Gurion’s vision for a scientifically and technologically advanced defense force, the Academic Reserve is a special program in which the IDF sends selected high school graduates to earn academic degrees before they complete an extended term of military service. After finishing their service, most participants go on to contribute to Israel’s successful high-tech industry. By focusing on the role of the Academic Reserve, we provide a broader understanding of Israel’s ongoing technological success.
Representations of Israeli Combat Soldiers in the Media
Zipi Israeli and Elisheva Rosman-Stollman
In this article we examine the representation of combat soldiers in Israel through their media image. Using two major national Israeli newspapers, we follow the presentation of the Israeli combat soldier over three decades. Our findings indicate that the combat soldier begins as a hegemonic masculine figure in the 1980s, shifts to a more vulnerable, frightened child in the 1990s, and attains a more complex framing in the 2000s. While this most recent representation returns to a hegemonic masculine one, it includes additional, 'softer' components. We find that the transformation in the image of the Israeli soldier reflects changes within Israeli society in general during the period covered and is also indicative of global changes in masculinity to a certain extent. We conclude by analyzing two possible explanations: the perception of the threat and changes in the perception of masculine identity.
Antisemitism is hostility to Jews as Jews, but defining antisemitism is complicated by Zionism and the existence of the State of Israel. The fundamental right to freedom of expression is threatened by the misuse of a definition of antisemitism and claimed examples of antisemitic conduct that encourage confusion between antisemitism and criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government and its institutions. The right to express criticism and to debate such policies and practices must not be suppressed by reliance on unsubstantiated claims of antisemitism.
The Broader Social Context
In light of the labor movement’s prominence in Israel’s history, the recent resurgence of unionizing activity after some 30 years of organized labor’s decline has caused much scholarly debate. However, scholars have paid insufficient attention to political ‘climate’, the wider social context, and the ‘battle of ideas’. This article therefore discusses the status of organized labor in media discourse, the rhetoric against the labor courts, liberalization in legal reasoning, and how organized labor is construed by the courts, as well as the conceptual differentiation between ‘workers’ and ‘the public’. It concludes that both organized labor and vestigial corporatist institutions are facing delegitimizing rhetoric and proposes that, for a fuller assessment of union revitalization, we should pay attention to labor struggles on three planes: the frontal struggle in the workplace, the institutional struggle to shore up the institutions crucial to collective labor relations, and the ideological struggle against the narrative of delegitimation.
Sergio DellaPergola and Ian S. Lustick
When Scholarship Disturbs Narrative: Ian Lustick on Israel’s Migration Balance Comment by Sergio DellaPergola
Leaving the Villa and Touching a Raw Nerve Response by Ian S. Lustick