Trouble in Utopia: The Overburdened Polity of Israel

By Dan Horowitz; Moshe Lissak | Go to book overview

6
Israel at Forty:
Utopia Impaired

The Waning of a Vision

The story of Israeli society is one of flawed fulfillment. Israel's development has been accompanied by high expectations for the achievement of collective goals which were inspired by an ideology shared by the vast majority of the population and the dominant elites. While some of these collective goals, at the outset, entailed a strong utopian component, others could not be achieved without mobilizing considerable resources or without the readiness of the population to delay gratification of certain group demands and individual needs. Under such circumstances, the social system became overburdened with competing collective tasks and conflicting group demands, and the need to deal with these tasks and demands influenced the institutional structure of Israel and the rules of the game of its democratic system. Most of the institutional patterns and the main political rules of the game were already shaped in Israel's first decade. 1

In those years, Israeli society underwent a far-reaching transformation in a relatively short time as part of its transition from a minority community in a binational territory to a sovereign state. Additional transformations occurred in the wake of the Six Day War of 1967 when the State of Israel, which had started out as a nation-state was forced by the demographic implications of territorial expansion to confront, once

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Trouble in Utopia: The Overburdened Polity of Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Trouble in Utopia - The Overburdened Polity of Israel *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • 1 - Introduction: Israel as a Social Laboratory *
  • 2 - Israel as a Multi-Cleavage Society *
  • 3 Ideology and Political Culture *
  • 4 - Government and Politics: from a Dominant Center to a Dual Center *
  • 5 - Democracy and National Security in a Protracted Conflict *
  • 6 - Israel at Forty: Utopia Impaired *
  • Appendixes *
  • Notes *
  • Glossary *
  • Selected Bibliography *
  • Index *
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