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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New Book: Navot, The Constitution of Israel: A Contextual Analysis

Navot, Suzie. The Constitution of Israel: A Contextual Analysis. Oxford: Hart, 2014.

 

9781841138350

 

This book presents the main features of the Israeli constitutional system and a topical discussion of Israel’s basic laws. It focuses on constitutional history and the peculiar decision to frame a constitution ‘by stages’. Following its British heritage and the lack of a formal constitution, Israel’s democracy grew for more than four decades on the principle of parliamentary supremacy. Introducing a constitutional model and the concept of judicial review of laws, the ‘constitutional revolution’ of the 1990s started a new era in Israel’s constitutional history. The book’s main themes include: constitutional principles; the legislature and the electoral system; the executive; the protection of fundamental rights and the crucial role of the Supreme Court in Israel’s constitutional discourse. It further presents Israel’s unique aspects as a Jewish and democratic state, and its ongoing search for the right balance between human rights and national security. Finally, the book offers a critical discussion of the development of Israel’s constitution and local projects aimed at enacting a single and comprehensive text.

Click here for a full Table of Contents (PDF).

Cite: Tepe, Democratic Challenges of Political Fragmentation in Israel and Turkey

Tepe, Sultan. “The Perils of Polarization and Religious Parties: The Democratic Challenges of Political Fragmentation in Israel and Turkey.” Democratization 20.5 (2013): 831-56.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13510347.2013.801254

Abstract

With their “deeply divided societies”, distinctive electoral rules and pivotal religious parties, Israeli and Turkish politics offer crucial cases to probe into “polarization” processes and the ways in which religious parties play a role in them. Using a large sample of public opinion and experimental survey data, the analysis shows how polarization can be marked by some contravening trends. Despite declining social trust, religious party supporters do not denounce any institutions categorically; yet disregard some opposing parties as viable political alternatives. The political positions of religious partisans differ from their party leadership. Supporters assign different levels of significance to polarizing issues and carry the potential of forming issue-based coalitions across different ideological groups. Although they acquire news and political information from different venues, most partisans tend to process factual information through partisan lenses, reinforcing partisan ideological commitments. While religious party supporters increasingly reject the existing markers of politics and show signs of political apathy, they do not withdraw from politics. With their multifaceted commitments, religious party supporters do not fall into mutually exclusive political groups. Given the tendency of the political elite to exacerbate divisions for political expediency, it is ultimately the ability of individuals to engage in politics beyond the confines of party politics that presents an escape from these polarization traps.

ToC: Israel Studies Review 28,1 (2013)

This title was previously known as Israel Studies Forum.

Publisher: Berghahn Journals

Forum

Articles

Review Essay

Book Reviews

Cite: Sandler and Frisch, 2009 Knesset Elections from a Foreign Affairs Perspective

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Sandler, Shmuel and Hillel Frisch. "The 2009 Knesset Elections: A Foreign Affairs Perspective." Israel Affairs 16,1 (2010): 1-13.

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Abstract

Israel’s general elections in 2009 yielded three major outcomes: 1) the replacement of the bi-polar system that characterized Israeli electoral politics between 1977 and 2003 in which most parties are aligned to one of the two principal parties by a more flexible multi-party system. 2) The nearly total collapse of the Labor party and the Zionist left; for the first time since the 1920s, the Labor party was no longer a major political player, and 3). Kadima’s electoral relative success, despite scandals haunting it since 2006. Kadima has basically superseded Labor without necessarily adopting its ideology. We argue (contrary to Henry Kissinger’s quip that Israel never had a foreign policy but only a domestic policy) that primarily external factors and processes – chiefly the failure of the Oslo process in the 1990s – yielded these three outcomes.

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URL: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a918952125~db=all

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Keywords: Israeli elections; foreign affairs; Kadima; Labour; Likud; bi-polar party system; multi-polar party system

ToC: Israel Affairs 16, 1 (2010)

[Items will be posted separated, time permitting)

Israel Affairs: Volume 16 Issue 1 is now available online at informaworldTM.

Special Issue: Israel’s 2009 Election

Original Articles

The 2009 Knesset elections: a foreign affairs perspective
Pages 1 – 13

Authors: Shmuel Sandler; Hillel Frisch

The run-up to the elections: a political history of the 2009 campaign
Pages 14 – 30

Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld

Kadima goes back: the limited power of vagueness
Pages 31 – 50

Author: Giora Goldberg

The Likud: the struggle for the centre
Pages 51 – 68

Author: Abraham Diskin

The decline of the Labour party
Pages 69 – 81

Author: Efraim Inbar

Stability in the Haredi camp and upheavals in nationalist Zionism: an analysis of the religious parties in the 2009 elections
Pages 82 – 104

Authors: Asher Cohen; Bernard Susser

The Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party between the mainstream and ‘Russian’ community politics
Pages 105 – 123

Author: Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin

Arab Israeli citizens in the 2009 elections: between Israeli citizenship and Palestinian Arab identity
Pages 124 – 141

Author: David Koren

 

Issues

Peace and security in the 2009 election
Pages 142 – 164

Author: Jonathan Rynhold

Corruption again, and again not decisive
Pages 165 – 178

Author: Ira Sharkansky

Israel’s religious vote in comparative perspective: an Africanist analysis
Pages 179 – 200

Author: William F. S. Miles

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Keywords: Israel: Political System, Israel: Politics, Elections, Elections 2009, Peace: Israeli Peace Movements, Religious-Secular Divide, Israel: Religion, Israeli Palestinians, Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi, Zionism, Russian Immigrants, Labour Party, Likkud Party, Kadima Party, Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman

Reviews: Gideon Rahat, The Politics of Regime Structure Reform in Democracies

Gideon Rahat. The Politics of Regime Structure Reform in Democracies: Israel in Comparative and Theoretical Perspective. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2008.

The Politics of Regime Structure Reform in Democracies

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Reviews: Pierre M. Atlas. International Journal of Middle East Studies 42,1 (2010):160-162.

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Keywords: Israel: Politics, Israel: Political System, Democracy, Elections, Gideon Rahat, גדעון רהט, SUNY Press