Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Israeli Society

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Israel's demography is discussed with a detailed look at ethnic (descent), cultural (language, religion, core values), and national (right to self-determination) diversity. Nine groups that are central in Israeli public discourse are examined: secular veteran Ashkenazim, traditional Mizrahim, Russians, Ethiopians, Datiyim (national-religious), Haredim (ultra-orthodox), Arabs, Bedouin, and Druze. These groups are organized into two Jewish political blocs that fight for the shaping of Israel's character – the center-left bloc seeks to make Israel more democratic than Jewish, the right bloc stands for a state that is more Jewish than democratic – and an Arab political bloc that strives to transform Israel to a binational state. Although the ethnic and cultural diversity is enormous and politicized, there is little intergroup disruption and violence in Israel due to viable democracy, common enemy, assimilation of immigrants, institutional autonomy granted to the Jewish religious groups, and control over the Arab minority. This success of conflict management is, however, on the decline since the early 2010s because of the weakening of democracy and the rise of the right as an illiberal political majority.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Judaism in the 21st Century
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781000850321
ISBN (Print)9780367621872
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Keren Eva Fraiman and Dean Phillip Bell; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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