This book examines a series of controversies surrounding Israel's use of force and its failure to prevent violence.
Influenced by Weber's definition of the state as the 'monopoly of violence', politcial scientists and criminologists alike have focused their attention on the legitimation struggles of non-state actors who resort to violence. This book redresses the balance. Chapters are devoted to the public discourse about Palestinian and Jewish terrorism, the war in Lebanon, the alleged connection between verbal violence of government leaders and the physical violence of its supporters, and the use of history to justify the state use of force. The conclusion considers why these controversies play such a central role in Israeli politics and presents a number of suggestions as to the function they fulfil in other Western societies.
Gerald Cromer is Associate Professor of Criminology, Bar Ilan University, Israel. He is author of The Writing Was on the Wall: Constructing Political Deviance in Israel (1998) and Narratives of Violence (2001).