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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches the evolution of the cleavages perspective in Israel and offers a sociohistorical overview of four major cleavages in Israeli society: the national one between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, the cultural one between secular and religious Jews, the socioeconomic (or class) one between rich and poor, and the ethnic one between Ashkenazi Jews and Mizrahi Jews (or “Westerners” versus “Orientals”). The discussion highlights the measure of coalescence among the cleavages and their compound political impact. It underscores the role played by the cleavages in the “upheaval” transition of governmental power in 1977, from Left (Labor) to Right (Likud), and in the consolidation of a neo-liberal and a neo-colonial political culture in Israel since.

Keywords: Ashkenazim, cleavages, classes, ethnicity, Israeli Jews, Labor party, Likud party, Palestinian Arabs, Mizrahim, religious, secular, stratification

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