1st Edition

Israel Pluralism and Conflict

By Sammy Smooha Copyright 1978
    482 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1978, Israel focuses on the pluralistic structure of Israel and its internal conflicts. The author distinguishes five major plural divisions: Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories versus Israeli citizens; Israeli Arabs versus Jews; Druze versus Christian versus Muslim Arabs; religious versus nonreligious Jews; and non-European versus European Jews. These divisions differ in culture, social structure, and resources, yielding together a social hierarchy which stands in contradiction to the vision of Israel’s founding fathers.

    From this troubled situation, Dr Smooha suggests that Israel, dominated by a minority of European, predominantly nonreligious Jews, is far from reaching an optimal social mix and group harmony. He observes that, within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, the policies of compromise with the religious Jews, control of Israeli Arabs, and co-optation of non-European Jews have failed to resolve the tensions. The threat to national integration, however, will not be realized as long as the Arab Israeli conflict and the benefits of a full-employment, subsidized economy continue. Until then, Israel will remain a highly controversial and deeply divided society.

    1. Introduction  2. A theoretical perspective: structural pluralism  3. Models of intergroup relations  4. Historical background  5. Current social contexts  6. Pluralism and inequality  7. Oriental–Ashkenazi inequality  8. Conflict and integration  9. Continuity and change  10. Conclusion 


    Sammy Smooha is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Haifa, Israel. He is a member of The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and an Israel Prize laureate in Sociology. He served as a visiting professor and a senior research fellow at many academic institutes in the West. Smooha studies Israeli society in comparative perspective, with a focus on ethnic relations and democracy and has published widely on the internal divisions and conflicts in Israel.

    Reviews of the first publication:

    “…Sammy Smooha produces a carefully documented analysis of a viable political order confronted with major problems of integration and conflict.”

    Rozann Rothman, The Journal of Politics


    “This is almost certainly the fullest, and in general the most reliable, discussion of this basic division in Israeli society that has yet appeared in English.”

    Bernard Wasserstein, International Affairs