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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A fundamental building block of the Zionist vision is the claim of a primordial link between modern-day Jews and the people and territory of ancient Israel. This claim, which has proven remarkably durable despite its changing form and its tension with understandings of Palestinian indigeneity, continues to inform conceptions of nativeness in the modern-day state of Israel. This chapter explores how constructions of Jewish nativeness in Israel have changed in relation to successive immigration processes. Taking sociocultural and political dynamics as its focus, the chapter examines the cultural and institutional practices through which the notion of Jewish nativeness, its boundaries, and its logics of inclusion and exclusion were constructed and enforced in four historical periods. In each period, an increase in ethnic and religious heterogeneity challenged established notions of Jewish nativeness and membership in new ways. Although conceptions of Jewish nativeness have changed over time, they continue to shape social boundaries by signaling, and qualifying, membership in the Israeli collective.

Keywords: nativeness, immigration, nationhood, social boundaries, group membership, Law of Return

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