chapter  3
23 Pages

Military hierarchies and collective action

ByYagil Levy

Historically, Israel’s ability to sustain a situation of armed conflict for a long time and with a relatively large degree of internal autonomy was predicated on the republican equation. In this equation, the dominant group – the male, secular Ashkenazim –exchanged military sacrifice for social dominance. Nonetheless, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and later events brought about the violation of this equation, as the military burden grew asymmetrically in relation to the shrinking rewards reaped from military participation. Ashkenazi groups therefore worked to reconstitute the equation by means of collective action. More importantly, however, by leveraging this change, other groups, who had long been marginalized by the military or asymmetrically rewarded for their military contribution, were able to enter the political scene, challenge the hegemonic military symbols, and significantly upgrade their social status in Israeli society.