To Be an Arab in Israel

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Columbia University Press, Mar 19, 2007 - Social Science - 224 pages
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To Be an Arab in Israel fills a long-neglected gap in the study of Israel and the contemporary Arab world. Whether for ideological reasons or otherwise, both Israeli and Arab writers have yet to seriously consider Israel's significant minority of non-Jewish citizens, whose existence challenges common assumptions regarding Israel's exclusively Jewish character.

Arabs have been a presence at all levels of the Israeli government since the foundation of the state. Laurence Lour begins her history in the 1980s when the Israeli political system began to take the Arab nationalist parties into account for the political negotiations over coalition building. Political parties-especially Labour-sought the votes of Arab citizens by making unusual promises such as ownership and access to land.

The continuing rise of nationalist sentiments among Palestinians, however, threw the relationship between the Jewish state and the Arab minority into chaos. But as Lour demonstrates, "Palestinization" did not prompt the Arab citizens of Israel to set aside their Israeli citizenship. Rather, Israel's Arabs have sought to insert themselves into Israeli society while simultaneously celebrating their difference, and these efforts have led to a confrontation between two conceptions of society and two visions of Israel.

Lour's fascinating book embraces the complexity of this history, revealing the surprising collusions and compromises that have led to alliances between Arab nationalists and Israeli authorities. She also addresses the current role of Israel's Arab elites, who have been educated at Hebrew-speaking universities, and the continuing absorption of militant Islamists into Israel's bureaucracy.

To Be an Arab in Israel is a discerning treatment of an enigmatic, little known, but nevertheless highly influential people. Their effect on the balance of power in the Middle East seems destined to grow in the twenty-first century.

 

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Contents

BEING AN ARAB IN ISRAEL
9
THE USAGES OF PALESTINIAN IDENTITY
30
THE GROWING POWER OF MARGINAL POLITICAL GROUPS
51
THE PROTAGONISTS OF PALESTINISATION
68
LABOUR AS A PARTNER
95
THE USAGES OF ISRAELISATION
102
THE ISLAMISTS BETWEEN RELIGION AND POLITICS
131
INTERCONFESSIONAL TENSIONS AND ISLAMIC MOBILISATION
133
BETWEEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
152
THE NEW CLERGY
166
IN THE AMBIT OF THE JEWISH STATE
184
QUESTIONING THE ZIONIST PROJECT
199
A NOTE ON THE SOURCES
205
BIBLIOGRAPHY
209
INDEX
223
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Laurence Lour is a researcher at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) in Paris. She is an Arabist and specializes in Middle East studies.

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