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Israeliness in No Man’s Land

Citizenship in the West Bank of Israel/Palestine

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Yarden Enav

This book is the result of ethnographic research carried out in the Academic College of Judea & Samaria (ACJS), located in the West Bank of Israel/Palestine. The book deals with Israeli citizenship and identity, and examines the ways in which it is being understood and imagined by ACJS students and teachers. The book also analyzes the Orange Zionist organizational culture of the ACJS. In the end, a new socio-political model of Israel/Palestine is offered: Israel as a Zionist Democracy.
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Summary and Conclusions

Extract

In my final attempt to understand Israeliness as a ‘culture of citizenship’ or rather, as a non-Zionist and non-ethnic nationality, I decided to start the analysis by understanding the unique assumed link between Israeli citizens (the majority of them being Jews), Judaism (as a religion) and Zionism (a national ideology and political movement, that led to the creation of the State of Israel). The triple link between Judaism (a religion), Zionism (a national movement) and the State of Israel seems so natural to Jewish-Israelis, that it is almost never resisted nor questioned. Until recently, political scientists still analyzed the State of Israel as a Jewish state or rather, a state that is Jewish and democratic. However, this concept has already been challenged (Peled, 1993). In social sciences also, the probability of a ‘Jewish democracy’ was challenged by so-called ‘post-Zionist’ thinkers (Ram, 2006).

However, history testifies in favour of the link above, Israeli society and state being in many ways the result of an ideological movement (Political Zionism) and the national-religious aspirations of Jews worldwide. Not only that, Israel being a Jewish state is more than a social or a cultural fact, it is even a legal fact. According to Quigley (1990) The Law of Return (1950), which considers every Jew in the world to be a potential Israeli citizen, and ‘The Law of Citizenship (1952), which confers Israeli citizenship on every Jew from the moment of setting a foot in Israel, both legally differentiate between Jewish and non-Jewish...

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