Ethnic democracy is an analytic model meant to describe a form of state that combines majoritarian electoral procedures and respect for the rule of law and individual citizenship rights with the institutionalized dominance of a majority ethnic group over a society. Ethnic democracy consists of two incompatible constitutional principles: liberal democracy, which mandates equal protection of all citizens, and ethnonationalism, which privileges the core ethnic group. Critics of the model have pointed out that the tension between these two contradictory principles causes inherent instability in this form of state. This tension could be overcome, however, and ethnic democracy could be stabilized, if a third constitutional principle, mediating between liberal democracy and ethnic nationalism, were to exist in the political culture.
This article examines relations between social integration into host societies, religio-ethnic acculturation into group belonging, and ties to home country among Israeli émigrés in the United States and Europe. I use data from a 2009–2010 Internet survey into which I incorporated country-contextual characteristics. The results of multivariate analyses show that a social integration combining duration of residence abroad and local citizenship enhances religio-ethnic identification. Another measure of integration, social networks, deters group behaviors. All measures of general integration inhibit attachment to the home country, whereas religio-ethnic acculturation is largely insignificant for transnationalism. The religiosity of the new country does not influence immigrants’ religio-ethnic patterns or homeland attachment. Insofar as group size is a significant determinant of particularistic behaviors, it weakens them. The more policy-based opportunities newcomers receive, the more they dissociate from group behaviors and homeland ties. Irrespective of individual and contextual factors, living in the United States encourages group affiliation more than living in Europe does. The results are discussed in reference to four working hypotheses—marginalization, integration, assimilation, and separation—and from a U.S.-European comparative perspective.