Palestinian Christians in Israel
State Attitudes towards Non-Muslims in a Jewish State
By Una McGahern
Routledge – 2011 – 216 pages
Routledge – 2011 – 216 pages
Although Christians form a significant proportion of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, very little research has, until now, been undertaken to examine their complicated position within Israel. This book demonstrates the limits of analyses which characterise state-minority relations in Israel in terms of a so-called Jewish-Muslim conflict, and of studies which portray Palestinian Christians as part of a wider exclusively religious-based transnational Christian community.
This book locates its analysis of Palestinian Christians within a broader understanding of Israel as a Jewish ethnocratic state. It describes the main characteristics of the Palestinian Christian community in Israel and examines a number of problematic assumptions which have been made about them and their relationship to the state. Finally, it examines a number of intra-communal conflicts which have taken place in recent years between Christians and Muslims, and between Christians and Druze, and probes the role which the state and various state attitudes have played in influencing or determining those conflicts and, as a result, the general status of Palestinian Christians in Israel today.
"A lot of thought and effort has clearly gone into conducting this study, which deals with a relevant and interesting topic, and the result is an important contribution to the academic debate about the relation between the Israeli state and its Palestinian minority." - Sarah Cardaun, Ph.D., King’s College, London; Journal of International and Global Studies Vol. 3, No. 2 Spring 2012
"This is an ambitious study, contentious in its argument and interpretation but one that throughout is infused with a scholarly rigor – both in terms of the fieldwork and interpretation of the material - that is second to none. One might well question the absolute level of discrimination encountered by Palestinian Christians in Israel. After all, their levels of educational achievement have perhaps given them a level of social mobility that the author perhaps underplays. Even so, this remains an impressive work and certainly the best study that we have to date on the role and position of Palestinian Christians in Israel. Given that debates over identity, ethnicity and religion remain the staple of understanding the domestic politics of the State of Israel, the relevance and longevity of this study would seem to be assured." – Professor Clive Jones, University of Durham, UK
1. Introduction 2. Society, State & Minority Policy in Israel 3. Profile of the Palestinian Christians in Israel 4. Writing the Palestinian Christians in Israel 5. Locating State Attitudes 6. Conflict in Nazareth 7. Military Service and Village Conflict
Una McGahern is a Research Fellow at the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, UK.