Israel’s Politics of Citizenship

in Israel Studies Review
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abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

assaf shapira is a Researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute’s Center for Governance and the Economy. He received a PhD in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po (Paris). His research largely focuses on the representation and participation of citizens and various social groups, especially minorities and other marginalized communities, in politics and particularly in Israeli politics. E-mail: shapias@gmail.com

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