To Be An Arab in Israel

Lau­rence Louer
  • Review
By – March 23, 2012

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.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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