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Israeli identity formation and the Arab-Israeli conflict in election platforms, 1969-2006


  • Neta Oren

    () (Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University)


This study focuses on the relationship between national identity and intractable conflict. Abdelal's definition of collective identity that refers to the level of agreement regarding the purposes, practices, relational comparisons with other entities, and narratives that define collective identity was adapted to national identity during intractable conflict and was later applied to Israel's national identity. A review of the Israeli 1969-2006 election platforms shows that in the 1980s and 1990s significant changes occurred in Israel's national identity. The most significant changes included: changes regarding the territorial purpose of Israeli identity; changes in practices on who may become an Israeli citizen; changes of perception of the relationship between Israel and the Arabs; and a growing Israeli acceptance of Palestinian identity. Since 2000, following the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, some components of Israeli national identity have reverted to their original form. The study indicates that the Arab-Israeli conflict triggered changes in Israel's national identity, but the conflict also seemed affected by changes in that identity. The article connects the changes in Israeli national identity to specific mechanisms and conditions of conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Suggested Citation

  • Neta Oren, 2010. "Israeli identity formation and the Arab-Israeli conflict in election platforms, 1969-2006," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(2), pages 193-204, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:2:p:193-204

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