Today the Arab citizens of Israel live two lives.
Israeli Arabs gain tremendously from their Israeli citizenship in terms of education, business opportunities, and healthcare. They benefit from the safety and security net that Israel provides to all citizens. They reap the benefits of living in a democratic state.
Israeli Arabs are also the main advocates of the Palestinian cause. It is they who argue in the Israeli Parliament for the advancement of the Palestinian agenda. And yet, they themselves would never give up their rights as Israelis and go to live in a Palestinian state.
This is where the conflict emerges. Some Israelis see Israeli Arabs as a fifth column and some Israeli Arabs exploit Israel’s democracy.
In To Be an Arab in Israel, Laurence Louer presents an informed study of the social and political issues that this community faces. In one aspect of the study Louer examines the role of the elite within the Arab Israeli community. Leaders and elites are part and parcel of every Arab community throughout the Middle East. The difference between most Arab leaders and Arab Israeli leaders is that the Arab Israeli elite have been educated in Israeli universities. They understand Israel and her strengths and weaknesses. And they have links and connections in Israel and with Israeli leaders so that they can, if they wish, draw on these relationships to build the bridges that provide service for their communities.
Very little serious work or time has been dedicated to this very pivotal community within Israeli society. The Arab Israeli community is pivotal because of its relationship with the Jewish State and it is pivotal because of its relationship with the rest of the Arab world.