New Book: Sasley and Waller, Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society

Sasley, Brent E., and Harold M. Waller. Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

 
9780199335060
 

This 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.

 

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

 

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.

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