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date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The underlying question addressed by this chapter is about the role of civil society in Israel in promoting or inhibiting democratic consolidation. The answer is based on three parameters: (a) mobilization, meaning the volume and substance of public participation; (b) integration, relating to civil society’s contribution to bridging social rifts; and (c) confrontation, regarding the antagonistic role of civil society. The reflection of these parameters in contemporary Israeli politics reveals a modest contribution to democracy. Mobilization is broad, but it is more ritualistic than real. Civil society does not play a significant role in enhancing tolerance and mutual respect. Challenging of the authorities is limited. It is the “bad” civil society, allied with the government coalition and mainstream ideology, that gains visibility, significance, and influence in public life.

Keywords: civil society, democracy, mobilization, integration, confrontation, participation

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