The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Society, and the Military

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"This book, the first of its kind in the English language, reexamines the nation of Israel in terms of its origin as a haven for a persecuted people and its evolution into a multicultural society. Arguing that the monocultural regime built during the 1950s is over, Baruch Kimmerling suggests that the Israeli state has divided into seven major cultures. These seven groups, he contends, have been challenging one another for control over resource distribution and the identity of the polity. He posits that six of these segments of the population, excluding Arabs, have bonded together under the umbrella of two ambiguous, but powerfully interlinked, metacultural codes: Jewishness and militarism. Kimmerling calls this phenomenon a "military-cultural complex," in which security and other social problems become highly intermingled." Kimmerling, one of the most prominent social scientists and political analysts of Israel today, relies on a large body of sociological work on the state, civil society, and ethnicity to present an overview of the construction and deconstruction of the secular Zionist national identity. He shows how Israeliness is becoming a prefix for other identities as well as a legal and political concept of citizen rights granted by the state, though not necessarily equally, to different segments of society. Provocative and controversial, The Invention and Decline of Israeliness will challenge even the most informed reader's knowledge of Israel and its history, culture and regime.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520246720
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/13/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Baruch Kimmerling is a George S. Wise Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous books in English and Hebrew, including The Interrupted System: Israeli Civilians in War and Routine Times (1985) and, with Joel S. Migdal, Palestinians: The Making of a People (1993).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Mythological-Historical Origins of the Israeli State: An Overview 16
2 Building an Immigrant Settler State 56
3 The Invention and Decline of Israeliness 89
4 The End of Hegemony and the Onset of Cultural Plurality 112
5 The Newcomers 130
6 The Cultural Code of Jewishness: Religion and Nationalism 173
7 The Code of Security: The Israeli Military-Cultural Complex 208
Conclusions 229
Works Cited 239
Index 257
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