chapter  1
22 Pages

Introduction

Contemporary dilemmas of Israeli citizenship
ByGuy Ben- Porat and Bryan S. Turner

Citizenship is a legal status conferring privileges of membership in a particular political community and thereby creating processes of social inclusion and exclusion. Inclusion provides members with social status, social rights and the right to take part in collective decision making. As such, citizenship is often a contested ground for individual and group rights, and over the very definition of the political community. Social and political struggles over the boundaries of citizenship and the meaning of citizenship are central to contemporary Israeli politics. These diverse struggles – religious, national, gender, economic and ethnic – are, on the one hand, about equality, recognition and re-defining the collective and, on the other hand, about the practical needs of everyday life. This collected volume engages with contemporary questions about citizenship in Israel as they pertain to particular group demands and to the dynamics of political life in the public arena. Contributors to this volume examine different aspects of citizenship primarily through the needs, demands and struggles of minority groups. In general terms, they provide a comprehensive picture of the dynamics of Israeli citizenship and the dilemmas that emerge at the collective, group and individual levels.