This thought-provoking book, the first of its kind in the English language, reexamines the fifty-year-old nation of Israel in terms of its origins as a haven for a persecuted people and its evolution into a multi- cultural society. Arguing that the mono-cultural regime built during the 1950s is over, Baruch Kimmerling suggests that the Israeli state has divided into seven major cultures. These seven groups, he contends, have been challenging one other for control over resource distribution and the identity of the polity. Kimmerling, one of the most prominent social scientists and political analysts of Israel today, relies on a large body of sociological work on the state, civil society, and ethnicity to present an overview of the construction and deconstruction of the secular-Zionist national identity. He shows how Israeliness is becoming a prefix for other identities as well as a legal and political concept of citizen rights granted by the state, though not necessarily equally to different segments of society.
1. The Mythological-Historical Origins of the Israeli State
2. Building an Immigrant Settler State
3. The Invention and Decline of Israeliness
4. The End of Hegemony and the Onset of Cultural Plurality
5. The Newcomers
6. The Cultural Code of Jewishness: Religion and Nationalism
7. The Code of Security: The Israeli Military-Cultural Complex
Baruch Kimmerling is a George S. Wise Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous books in English and Hebrew, including The Interrupted System: Israeli Civilians in War and Routine Times (1985) and, with Joel S. Migdal, Palestinians: The Making of a People (1993).
"Some sections of this book are enlightening, others are exceptional."—Charles Liebman Stds In Contemporary Jewry
"Like all of Baruch Kimmerling's work, this is a penetrating and provocative book. It offers a new paradigm for the current and future direction of Israeli society that will certainly become a central point of reference in the field. Kimmerling's explanation for the rise and fall of classic Labor Zionism is a seminal contribution to the ongoing debate over this central thread of the Israeli experience."—Alan Dowty, author of The Jewish State: A Century Later
"Baruch Kimmerling is an influential and controversial scholar whose books have set the agenda for contemporary Israel Studies. The Invention and Decline of Israeliness
offers an original and provocative interpretation of the formation and transformation of Israeli national identity. Anyone seriously interested in Israeli society should read this book."—Derek Penslar, author of Shylock's Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe