1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Israel

    544 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary Israel, accounting for changes, developments and contemporary debates. The different chapters offer both a historical background and an updated analysis of politics, economy, society and culture.

    Across five sections, a multidisciplinary group of experts, including sociologists, political scientists, historians and social scientists, engage in a wide variety of topics through different perspectives and insights. The book opens with a historical section outlining the formation of Israel and Jewish nationalism. The second section examines contemporary institutions in Israel, their developments and the contemporary challenges they face in light of social, economic, political and cultural changes. The third section explores geopolitics and Israel’s foreign relations, exploring conflicts, alliances and foreign policy with neighbors and powers. The fourth section engages with Israel’s internal divisions and schisms, highlighting questions of identity and inequality while also outlining processes of integration and marginalization between groups. The final section explores matters of culture, through the social and demographic shifts in contemporary music, poetry and cuisine, along with the struggles for inclusion and the impact of globalization on Israeli culture.

    The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Israel is designed for academics along with undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on Israel, Israeli politics, and culture and society in modern Israel.


    Part 1: Historical Overview

    1. Zionism between Despair and Hope

    Arieh Saposnik

    2. Mamlakhtiyut: The Zionist and Israeli version of Republicanism

    Avi Bareli and Nir Kedar

    3. Melting Pot and Plurality of Cultures in Early Israel

    Paula Kabalo

    4. The Palestinian National Movement: A Short History

    Mustafa Kabha

    5. Israel's Foreign Policy: The Historical Mound

    Uri Bialer

    Part 2: Institutions

    6. The Political System and Political Parties

    Gideon Rahat and Reuven Y. Hazan

    7. Israeli Organized Civil Society: Trends and Challenges of the Nonprofit Sector

    Michal Almog-Bar

    8. Major Contemporary Trends in Civil-Military Relations in Israel

    Yagil Levy

    9. Israel’s Legal System: Institutions, Principles and Challenges

    Tamar Hostovsky-Brandes

    10. The Israeli Education System

    Yariv Feniger, Yossi Shavit and Shir Caller

    11. How the people of the book became the people of the media: The Israeli media landscape

    Amit M. Schejter

    Part 3: Foreign Relations and Policy

    12. Israel and the Palestinians

    Salim Brake

    13. Israel and the Arab World – from War to Peacemaking

    Eyal Zisser

    14. The Special Relationship between the United States and Israel

    Jonathan Rynhold

    15. The Rubik’s cube of Israeli-European Union relations

    Sharon Pardo and Hila Zahavi

    16. Israel-Russia Bilateral Relations: Market Rationality and Political Affinity

    Dina Zisserman-Brodsky

    17. Better Late than Never: China-Israel Diplomatic Relations in Perspective

    Yitzhak Shichor

    Part 4: Divisions and Schisms

    18. Leadership Legitimacy, Responsiveness and Representation in Palestinian Society in Israel

    Amal Jamal

    19. Religious Zionism – Romantic Religious Nationalism in Israel

    Shlomo Fischer

    20. Religion in Contemporary Israel: Haredi Varieties

    Lea Taragin-Zeller and Nurit Stadler

    21. Israel: Between Religion and Secularism

    Guy Ben-Porat

    22. Haredism vs. Traditionalism: A New Reading of Mizrahi Religious Politics at the Start of the 21st Century

    Nissim Leon

    23. The Ethiopian Jews in Israel

    Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder

    24. Acculturation as a two-way process: Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in Israel

    Evgeny Knaifel

    25. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Gender Relations in Contemporary Israel

    Tair Karazi-Presler and Orna Sasson-Levy

    26. Paradoxes of control: Incorporating precarious migrants in Tel Aviv in times of restrictive migration policies

    Adriana Kemp and Nora Meissner

    27. Demographic Trends in Israel

    Ahmad Hleihel

    28. Israel’s Economic Development – an overview

    Benjamin Bental and Avi Weiss

    29. The Israeli Labor Market

    Tali Kristal and Alina Rozenfeld-Kiner

    30. The Startup Nation: Myths and Reality

    Erez Maggor and Michal Frenkel

    31. Neoliberalization of Welfare and Social Protest

    Dani Filc

    32. Peripheralities

    Erez Tzfadia and Moti Gigi

    Part 5: Culture

    33. Desert, Hill, and Sea: Cinematic Visions and Re-Visions of War

    Miri Talmon

    34. Bass and Silsulim: Israeli Music after muzika Mizrahit

    Oded Erez

    35. Who Killed Poetry? An Israeli Perspective

    Michael Gluzman

    36. Large, Cheap and Mizrahi ("Oriental"): Israeli Cuisine

    Nir Avieli


    Guy Ben-Porat is Professor at the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He is the author of Global Liberalism, Local Populism: Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland (2006) and Between State and Synagogue: The Secularization of Contemporary Israel (2012). He is also the co-author of Policing Citizens: Minority Policy in Israel (2019).

    Yariv Feniger is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and a fellow in the Education Policy Program at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. His areas of research include social and educational inequality, education policy and comparative education. His last co-authored book on education inequality and education policy was published in 2019.

    Dani Filc is Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. His fields of research include Israeli politics, populism and the health care system. Among his publications are Hegemony and Populism in Israel, Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health-Care in Israel and The Political Right in Israel: The Many Faces of Israeli Populism.

    Paula Kabalo is Associate Professor at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the study of Israel and Zionism, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. She is the head of the Azrieli Center for Israel Studies. Her most recent book Israeli Community Action: Living Through the War of Independence was awarded the AIS Shapiro Prize for 2020. Her research focus is on the history of citizen associations and civil society in Israel and the interrelations between David Ben-Gurion and the wider public.

    Julia Mirsky is Professor at the Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Her research focuses on the psychological aspects of migration. She has published extensively on this subject and supervised numerous MA and PhD students. At Ben-Gurion University, she serves as the Samuel and Miriam L. Hamburger Chair in Integration of Immigrant Communities and heads the Center (in progress) for Research and Education on Migrants’ Lives.