American voters may worry that they have only two parties from which to choose. Israelis do not have that problem.
Depending on how you count, the current Knesset (parliament) includes members of at least ten parties, representing a wide range of cleavages within the country.
As the number of parties hints, Israeli politics can be rather confusing. So the Center for Policy Studies is pleased to host Professor Nadav Shelef for an overview of the diversity and dynamics of Israel’s politics.
There are so many questions involving so many cleavages, such as Jews vs. non-Jews; ethnic cleavages within the Jewish population; how new and more recent immigrants have been incorporated into political competition; the relative weight of economic issues as opposed to identity and security issues; and the role of religion.
This lecture will explain how Israeli politics work and explore the ways in which Israel’s political institutions , especially the election rules and the party system, interact with the two main axes of Israeli politics – territory and identity – to produce the vibrant and turbulent character of the Israeli political sphere.
BIO: Nadav Shelef, Ph.D.
Nadav Shelef is the author of Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel, 1925-2005 (Cornell University Press, 2010). In this book he traces changes in how Zionism and Israeli nationalism were defined, focusing on questions such as where the “land of Israel” should be; the place of the state within the Zionist project, relationships with diaspora (especially American) Jews, and the place of religion within the state. He shows how these views evolved over time within the three major types of Zionism – Labor, Revisionist, and Religious – as each group responded both to changes in the environment and their competition with each other. Professor Shelef has also published articles in a wide range of journals, including International Organization, Security Studies, P_olitical Science Quarterly_, Middle East Journal, and Israel Studies. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.