Israel at 70: Three academics take the political temperature


This week marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Israel. Middle East Eye asked three Israeli academics to reflect on the health of Israeli politics. Has Israel become a colonial power? What aspects of modern Israeli society would disturb the first Zionists? Why is there an “extraordinary silence” about the future of a Palestinian state?

Yaron Ezrahi, Eva Illouz and Yonatan Mendel give their thoughts on the dominant Israeli political themes of 2018 and where that conversation might take us next. Here’s what they had to say:

‘The occupation is the most amazing subject of denial’ 

Yaron Ezrahi is professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and a former senior fellow at the Israeli Democracy Institute, Jerusalem. He has published several books: in 1997 he was a winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel.

 

‘A deeply fragemented society of different groups’

Eva Illouz is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and Directrice d’Etudes at the EHESS in Paris. In 2018-19 she will be a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. She writes for Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and Ha’aretz across literature, politics and social affairs among others.

‘Who calls the shots in Israel?’

Yonatan Mendel is the director of Manarat, the Jewish-Arab Center at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He serves also as an assistant editor of Maktoob, a series of books dedicated to the translation of Arabic literature into Hebrew. His main research interests include Arabic, Jewish-Arab relations and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The views expressed in this article belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: An Israeli soldier keeps guard near a Palestinian woman standing by a Star of David graffiti sprayed by Israeli settlers near an army checkpoint in the centre of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 18 May 2009 (AFP)



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