chapter  2
29 Pages

Society, state and minority policy in Israel

On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born and the Declaration of Independence which accompanied it proclaimed that Jews had finally become ‘masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State’ (MFA 2010a). It was expected that the creation of a Jewish state would ‘normalise’ the status of the Jewish people and ‘restore’ to them their individual and collective dignity as a people (Avishai 1985). However, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 also introduced important new challenges to the Zionist concept of a Jewish state and to its fundamental principles of transformative and normative justice. The site chosen for the new Jewish state was already home to a culturally rich and diverse indigenous Palestinian Arab society and the creation of the State of Israel, together with the political and military actions which accompanied its creation, devastated the fabric of local Palestinian Arab society, ushering in a new majority-minority dynamic in society which has since come to dominate the public discourse and dictate the future political ambitions and development of the state.