Politics and Government in Israel
The Maturation of a Modern State
By (author) Gregory S. Mahler
Publication date:16 December 2010
Length of book:402 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
This even-handed and thorough text explores Israeli government and politics from both institutional and behavioral perspectives. First tracing the history and development of the state, Gregory S. Mahler then examines the social, religious, economic, and cultural contexts within which Israeli politics takes place. The book explains the operation of political institutions and behavior in Israeli domestic politics, including constitutions and ideology, parliamentary government, the prime minister and the Knesset, political parties and interest groups, the electoral process and voting behavior, and the machinery of government. Mahler considers Israel's foreign policy setting and apparatus, the Palestinian conflict and the question of Jerusalem, and the Middle East peace process overall. This clear and concise text provides an invaluable starting point for all readers needing a cogent introduction to Israel today.
In this second edition, Mahler presents a comprehensive survey of the diverse structures and institutions that make up the Jewish state. Following a brief history of modern Israel, the author covers the political ideology (Zionism) and its role in the establishment of the contemporary Jewish state. The survey includes descriptions of constitution, branches of government, the Knesset (parliament), political parties, the electoral process, and the influence of interest groups. There is emphasis on population diversity with chapters devoted to the role of various Orthodox religious and secular factions, the Arab minority, and the many Jewish immigrant groups that form distinctive blocs. In various areas, the author observes, Israel is a young nation that has not reached the level of development of political practices 'that we find in other stable, but much older democracies.' Nearly a third of the book is devoted to foreign policy and Israel's setting in the Middle East, including chapters on the Palestinians, the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the lengthy 'peace process.' Especially useful are the many boxes, maps, and tables. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.