This paper examines the mechanisms which drive the different political attitudes of Israel’s two major Jewish groups–the Ashkenazim and the Mizrahim–vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the 1990s. The study argues that the economic liberalization reforms of the 1980s along with the subsequent Israel’s integration with the global economy are key drivers of the two groups’ opposing attitudes vis-à-vis the peace process. These processes benefited mainly the business classes, who are dominated by the Ashkenazim (originating from Europe). It was such benefit that drove Ashkenazim’s support for the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, which was seen as instrumental to the process of Israel’s integration with the global economy. Conversely, the same economic processes likely hurt lower-class members of Israeli Jewish society, most of whom are Mizrahim (originating from Muslim countries). In this context the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza provided them with an alternative source of welfare to buffer the negative impacts of the integration process. As a result most of the Mizrahim population opposed any peace deal that included the evacuation of settlements. Moreover, Mizrahim’s opposition to Oslo was strengthened by the association of Oslo with Israel’s global integration, which some evidence suggests mainly benefited the business classes.
- Israeli-Palestinian peace process
- economic liberalization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics