Palestinian Citizens in an Ethnic Jewish State

Identities in Conflict

Nadim N. Rouhana

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What kind of relationship must be built between states and their ethnic minorities in order to avoid intergroup conflict? This fascinating book examines the situation of Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, analyzing how the Palestinian collective identity has been shaped by social and political forces and how it poses major challenges to Israel’s policies, structure, and identity.

Nadim Rouhana, who grew up as a Palestinian in Israel, draws on surveys, interviews, and archival research to examine how the Palestinian identity has evolved in response to Israel’s three guiding—and conflicting—principles: Israel as a Jewish state, as a democracy, and as a state with deep security needs. He discusses the consequences of Israel’s ideology, policy, and practices toward the Arab minority; the effect of major developments in the Arab world, particularly in the Palesinian communities in exile and in the West Bank and Gaza; and the impact of changes within the Palestinian community in Israel such as demography, level of education, socioeconomic structure, and political culture. Arguing that in a multiethnic state, conflict becomes inevitable unless citizenship emerges as a common and equally meaningful identity to the various ethnonational groups, he concludes by exploring the possibilities of negotiating a new and common identity between Israel and its Arab minority.

Nadim Rouhana is assistant professor of psychology at Boston College and an associate at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

"A rich analysis of the circumstances, political and social responses, and collective identities of Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. The book will be an important and provocative contribution to the discussion about future relations between Palestinians and Jews in Israel."—Louis Kreisberg

"Nadim Rouhana's book is indispensable for understanding the predicament of Arabs living in a Jewish ethnic state and for our appreciation of their struggle to maintain their collective identity in the cross currents of Israelization and Palestinization. Rouhana writes with rare integrity and impeccable scholarship on an issue which must be addressed before peace will prevail in the Holy Land."—Meron Benvenisti, former deputy major of Jerusalem and author of City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem

"A substantive social-psychological study of the collective identity of Arab citizens in Israel, . . .and an important contribution to our understanding of multiethnic democracies and how they survive. An important addition to Sami Smooha's two-volume Arab and Jews in Israel—Highly recommended."—Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba College

"An important contribution to our understanding of multiethnic democracies and how they survive."—Library Journal

"Exceptionally well written, theorectically sound and empirically grounded, Rouhana's book will stand as a major contribution to the literature on ethnic group status and rights in multi-ethnic states, and as the first book that provides a realistic picture of Palestinians in Israel and their importance in the regional political arena. No review can do justice to the richness of his analysis and the detailed manner by which he argues the pros and cons of the various options based on the findings. Rouhana's work is nuanced and sophisticated. His book is essential reading for scholars of the area, of ethnicity in modern states, of the discipline of social psychology, and of identity politics."—Elaine C. Hagopian, Third World Quarterly

"[Rouhana's] research and observations expose the nuances of, and challenge beliefs about, the spectrum of Arab and Jewish 'left' and 'right.'"—Sheila H. Katz, Middle East Journal

"Rouhana’s book . . . is a ground-breaking, challenging and theoretically sound analysis of collective identity among the Palestinian Arabs. . . . Highly recommended for those working on ethnic collective identity, and must be added to the library of every student of Arab-Jewish relations. It is a first-rate combination of theoretical constructs and empirical richness rarely seen in the literature on the subject."—Oren Yiftachel, Nationalism & Ethnic Politics

"Even for those who find the idea of de-Judaizing Israel as improbable and remote as the de-Arabization of Egypt, the principled questions raised by Rouhana’s important book remain crucial and unrelenting."—Bernard Susser, Judaism

"In his book Rouhana, a political psychologist, presents a thoughtful study of Israel’s Palestinian minority and a devastating social critique of the Jewish state. It is a well-written analysis with a clear mission: Israel should be transformed from an exclusionary, ethnic to a civic, non-Jewish state in order to render its treatment of the Arab citizens politically and morally tenable."—SHOFAR

"Rouhana’s book is a pioneering text. . . . The research and analysis in this book constitute a major development in the study of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel, a contribution that has been made only by a few scholars."—Journal of Palestine Studies

ISBN: 9780300066852
Publication Date: September 23, 1997
312 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4