Between the Flag and the Banner: Women in Israeli Politics

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Between the Flag and the Banner: Women in Israeli Politics

By Yael Yishai
State University Of New York Press, 1997
292 pp. $54.50
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In many ways, Israel resembles other Western democracies. But at war since its birth, the state has fostered a collective, mobilizational ethic that puts security interests ahead of individual freedom. Among other things, this has meant that Israeli women have been expected to subordinate feminism to state interests. And to a substantial degree they have opted for the flag instead of the banner. Compared to the situation in other democracies, as this well-researched study shows, women are underrepresented in Israeli political institutions, Golda Meir notwithstanding, and fewer identify themselves as feminists. Although women favor more spending on security than men, on most issues there is little difference. Israeli Arab women are both strong feminists and Palestinian nationalists. The author concludes that Israel is moving slowly toward a society in which individual rights are gaining respect, and with that trend will come an increased role in politics for Israeli women.