Area Handbook for Israel

By Harvey H. Smith; Frederica M. Bunge et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
SOCIAL VALUES

Pragmatism, straightforwardness, and dynamism, terms often used in portraying the citizens of Israel, may be applied as well to the set of values that they share. The people, and their attitudes toward those fundamental social questions that confront any society, have been shaped by a diversity of historical factors, producing a value system that is distinctively Israeli. Drawn in the first instance from the Jewish legacy of three millenia, it has been supplemented by the more recent experience of Zionism in Palestine.

The resultant value system offers certain standards for desired behavior. It encourages application of insights from the past in dealing with current problems. Israelis believe it commands the blending of idealism with reality, emotion with firmness, physical labor with respect for the intellectual and spiritual realms, and a strong military posture with a sincere desire for peace.

Whereas specific values, either of substance or of style, may have changed during the initial 21 years of statehood, a core of Israeli values has not only endured but has been reinforced. These basic premises and assumptions are perpetuated through their endorsement by both the younger Sabra (native-born) generation and new immigrants. There is, above all, a deep sense of national consciousness. This concern for the community, in its larger context of the State, and strong attachment to the land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael, overrides such divisive tendencies as doctrinaire partisanship and party affiliation. Similarly, maintenance of the Jewish character of the society in some meaningful form is regarded by an overwhelming majority of the inhabitants as intrinsically valuable and essential.

On the level of interpersonal relations, one's advancement and social standing to a major extent is determined by individual achievement, characteristic of a society imbued with the pioneering spirit for over 50 years, rather than on the basis of prescribed class status, personal connections, or ancestral lineage. Initiative, knowledge, efficiency, sincerity, and candidness are all regarded as admirable virtues. Fulfillment by a person of his duties is expected no less than the exercise of his rights. Freedom of expression, being the primary avenue for dialogue between ruling elite and general population, is preserved in its many forms. Democratic government and social wel-

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Area Handbook for Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • COUNTRY SUMMARY vii
  • Contents xi
  • SECTION I. SOCIAL 1
  • Chapter 2 - PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 13
  • Chapter 3 Historical Setting 29
  • Chapter 4 - POPULATION 55
  • Chapter 5 Ethnic Groups and Languages 67
  • Chapter 6 Social Structures 75
  • Chapter 7 Family 89
  • CHAPTER 8 - LIVING CONDITIONS 98
  • Chapter 9 - EDUCATION 113
  • Chapter 10 - ARTISTIC AND INTELLECTUAL EXPRESSION 131
  • Chapter 12 - SOCIAL VALUES 153
  • SECTION II. POLITICAL 163
  • Chapter 14 - POLITICAL DYNAMICS 187
  • Chapter 15 Foreign Relations 209
  • Chapter 16 - PUBLIC INFORMATION 221
  • Chapter 17 - POLITICAL VALUES AND ATTITUDES 239
  • Chapter 18 - BIOGRAPHIES OF SELECTED KEY PERSONALITIES 255
  • SECTION III. ECONOMIC 273
  • Chapter 20 Agriculture 285
  • Chapter 21 Industry 299
  • Chapter 22 Labor 311
  • Chapter 23 - DOMESTIC TRADE 333
  • Chapter 24 - FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS 345
  • Chapter 25 Financial and Monetary System 357
  • SECTION IV. NATIONAL SECURITY 369
  • Chapter 27 - PUBLIC ORDER AND INTERNAL SECURITY 397
  • Index 447
  • PUBLISHED AREA HANDBOOKS 457
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