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Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society

First Edition

Brent E. Sasley and Harold M. Waller

Publication Date - February 2016

ISBN: 9780199335060

368 pages
Paperback
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $59.95

The only contemporary and comprehensive text that offers students a framework for understanding Israel's past and present politics

Description

Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society is the first textbook on Israel to utilize a historical-sociological approach, telling the story of Israeli politics rather than simply presenting a series of dry facts and figures. The book emphasizes six specific dimensions of the conduct of Israeli politics: the weight of historical processes, the struggle between different groups over how to define the country's identity, changing understandings of Zionism, a changing political culture, the influence of the external threat environment, and the inclusive nature of the democratic process. These themes offer students a framework to use for understanding contemporary political events within the country. Politics in Israel also includes several chapters on topics not previously addressed in competing texts, including historical conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism in Israel, the politics of the Arab minority, and interest groups and political protest.

Features

  • Features up-to-date examples, references to Israeli pop culture, and comparisons to other countries
  • Includes an exclusive chapter on the politics of the Arab minority
  • Integrates tables and figures that show trends in Israeli politics over time

About the Author(s)

Brent E. Sasley is Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Texas at Arlington.
Harold M. Waller is Professor of Political Science at McGill University.

Reviews

"When Harold Waller and Brent Sasley pondered the idea of writing Politics in Israel, they intended to create 'a text that was readable, touched on major contemporary issues and debates in Israeli politics, and did so by grounding...[the] explanation in a historical- sociological approach that emphasized the processes that led to the creation of the Israeli political system and continue to influence the conduct of Israeli politics'...It can be said, quite emphatically, that they accomplished their aims...What makes Politics in Israel so compelling and makes it so extraordinarily valuable is its meticulous descriptions of how governments rise and fall and how their varying policies emerge from attempts to wrestle with the often contradictory foreign and domestic challenges the country must meet. The analytic framework is powerful and reflects as much comfort with data as with the abstract concepts deployed by scholars to tap into values and culture."--Middle East Journal

"Politics in Israel is the best book ever written in English on the history, politics, and government of Israel. It is comprehensive and balanced, comprehensible and interesting, inclusive and wide-ranging, and informative and sweeping in its coverage. The writing is excellent, and the tools that the authors provide are invariably useful." --Steven Spiegel, University of California, Los Angeles

"Clearly written and logically organized, Politics in Israel offers a judicious portrait of the Israeli political system. It is highly recommended for all courses on Israel at any level." --Alan Dowty, University of Notre Dame

Table of Contents

    Abbreviations
    Preface
    Acknowledgments


    INTRODUCTION
    Chapter 1: Israel in Historical and Comparative Perspective

    Studying Israel
    Israel in a Comparative Framework
    Major Themes of the Book
    A Note on Terminology

    PART I: HISTORICAL PROCESSES
    Chronology of Key Events
    Chapter 2: Zionism and the Origins of Israel
    Jewish History before Zionism
    The Jewish Predicament in the 19th Century
    The Founding of the Zionist Movement
    Implications of Zionism
    Herzl's Path to Zionism
    Organizing the Zionist Movement
    Zionist Ideologies
    The Palestine Mandate
    Summary
    Chapter 3: Yishuv Politics during the Mandate Period
    Constructing a Jewish Society
    Development of a Party System
    Conflict between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine
    Deteriorating Zionist-British Relations
    The End of the Mandate
    The Mandate Period in Perspective
    Summary
    Chapter 4: State Building After 1948
    Mamlachtiut
    The Political Arena
    Defense
    Education
    Economy
    Personal Status Issues
    Other State-Building Efforts
    Summary

    PART II: ISRAELI SOCIETY
    Chapter 5: Political Culture and Demography

    The Pre-State Period
    Foundational Values of the State
    Changes since 1967
    From Collectivism to Individualism
    Political Culture in the Arab Community
    Demography
    Summary
    Chapter 6: Religion and Politics
    Religion and the Idea of a Jewish State
    Setting the Parameters of the Religion-State Relationship
    Growing Involvement in Politics
    Issues in Religion-State Relations after 2000
    Religious Parties and Coalition Politics
    Summary
    Chapter 7: The Politics of the Arab Minority
    What's in a Name?
    Changing Politics of the Community
    Jewish Attitudes toward the Arab Minority
    Arab Leaders and the Arab Public
    Voter turnout
    Sayed Kashua as Barometer?
    Summary

    PART III: THE POLITICAL PROCESS
    Chapter 8: The Electoral System

    The Development of an Electoral System
    Election Laws
    Parties and Lists
    Electoral Reforms
    Summary
    Chapter 9: Political Parties and the Party System
    Party Clusters
    Leftist Parties
    Rightist Parties
    Religious Parties
    Arab Parties
    Center or "Third" Parties
    Ethnic or Special Issues Parties
    Party Organization
    Summary
    Chapter 10: Voting Patterns
    Four Main Issues
    Demographic Factors
    Voter Turnout
    Electoral Trends
    Summary
    Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Political Protest
    Changing Access in the Israeli Political System
    Interest Groups
    Political Protest
    Summary

    PART IV: INSTITUTIONS
    Chapter 12: The Knesset

    Structure of the Knesset
    Legal Aspects
    Knesset Members
    Functions and Powers of the Knesset
    Relationship to the Government
    Summary
    Chapter 13: The Government
    The Government at the Center of the System
    Powers of the Government
    Forming a Government
    Maintaining and Running a Government
    Relations with the Knesset
    The President of the State
    Summary
    Chapter 14: The Judiciary and the Development of Constitutional Law
    The Judicial System
    Structure of the Court System
    The Religious Court System
    The Attorney General
    Basic Laws: A Constitution in the Making?
    Interpreting the Constitution
    Summary

    PART V: POLITICS AND POLICYMAKING
    Chapter 15: Political Economy

    Ideas about Economic Development in the Yishuv
    A State(ist) Economy
    Likud and the Free Market
    Structural Weaknesses
    Summary
    Chapter 16: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    Three Levels of Threat Perception
    Israel's Threat Environment
    Hawks and Doves in the Political System
    The Defense Establishment
    Public Opinion
    Summary

    PART VI: THE TRANSFORMATiON OF ISRAELI POLITICS
    Chapter 17: The Changing Political Arena
    A More Complex Society
    An Economic Transformation
    Transformation of the Security Situation
    The Israeli-Palestinian Relationship
    Dampening of Ideology
    Political Culture and the Party System
    The Passing of a Heroic Generation
    A More Consequential Arab Sector
    The Transformation of the Judiciary
    Change versus Continuity
    Chapter 18: Confronting the Meaning of a Jewish State
    The Political Question: What is Jewish and Democratic?
    The Social Question: Who Belongs?
    The Academic Question: Whose Historiography?
    Conclusion

    Appendices
    Glossary
    Bibliography

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