The Political Mobilization of the Arab Minority in Israel: Shifts in Political Demands and Activities
ethnic civil society
Previous scholarly work on the demands and political activities of the Arab minority in Israel have focused on studying Arab political parties and parliamentary participation, asserting that Arab demands fall into one of two categories: radical or adaptive. That is, in studying Arab participation, or lack thereof, in parliamentary processes, one can claim that Arabs want either complete separation from the state of Israel (radical demands) or complete integration into the state of Israel (adaptive demands). However, recent trends have witnessed a decrease in Arab Israelis’ interest in political parties and parliamentary participation, such as voting in Knesset elections and attempts to pass legislation. This disinterest is a direct result of the inability and inefficiency of parliamentary processes to make practical changes in the daily lives of the Arab minority, who are underprivileged, socio-economically, politically, and legally. However, disinterest in parliamentary processes does not translate into disinterest in political mobility, and consequently, Arab Israelis have turned to other means, particularly extra-parliamentary organization, to achieve their demands. This paper then takes a different approach in that I study extra-parliamentary organizations to explore the nature of Arab demands towards the Israeli government. In studying extra-parliamentary organization, I have found that the nature of Arab demands no longer fall within the radical-adaptive dichotomy proposed by previous scholars. Rather, the Arab minority’s demands can be described as being ethnoregional in nature. That is, the Arab minority in Israel demand collective national rights based on the fragmented geographical regions they occupy.