Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ethnic and civic nationalism in Israel

Further to my post on Palestine an interesting survey on Israeli-Arab public opinion here:

94 percent of Israel's Jews and 27 percent of its Arabs declared themselves willing to fight to protect the country. ..The rest of the survey presents a more positive picture of the attitude toward the state than that expressed publicly by most of the Arab leaders and spokespeople: 44 percent of Israel's Arabs "are proud to be Israeli citizens"; 24 percent say they are "patriotic Israelis to a great extent"; and 35 percent say they are "patriotic Israelis to some extent." Is Israel better than other countries? Sixty-six percent of the Jews think it is, and no less than 77 percent of the Arabs.

Evidence perhaps that an ethnically founded state, such as Israel is, and which any Palestinian state would also be, can attract civic loyalty and evolve in a civic nationalist direction.

Interesting article in The Independent quoting a Gaza feminist

Hamas is far from being the Taliban. It strongly supports women's education, is generally opposed to "honour killing", and some of its candidates supported women's shelters. Its spokesmen have also been at pains to stress that it does not intend in the foreseeable future to impose its religious ideology - including its long-term commitment to sharia (Islamic law) - on the parliament.

But Ms Ayesh is concerned that the more congenial public message sometimes conflicts with the deeply held belief of its new PLC members. For example, she notes that Mariam Farhat, the "Mother of Martyrs" whose election video showed her helping her own 17-year-old son to prepare explosives which killed him and five Israelis, said in an interview that her first parliamentary campaign would be for a law requiring all Palestinian women to wear the hejab. To Ms Ayesh, Mrs Farhat's later disavowal of the interview was unconvincing. But, in any case, she expects the change to be cultural and gradual rather than legislative. "Hamas will not do this directly but they will use other respected figures, for example in the mosques."

both via Norman Geras


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