Between attraction and resistance: Israeli views of the European Union

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4 Scopus citations


Despite its growing power and importance, the European Union (EU) has not obtained a central place in Israeli political and social discourse. One of the reasons for this lack of centrality has to do with Israeli images and perceptions of the EU. These images and perceptions have driven Israel to behave more as if it were an island in the Atlantic Ocean rather than a Mediterranean country neighbouring the EU. Historically, geographically and even religiously, it has been argued that ‘Israel is from Europe, but not in Europe’ (Diner 2007), and indeed the Union is Israel’s economic, cultural and, in many respects, political hinterland. In this regard, a public statement made by Israel’s former Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, is rather useful in order to understand the close connection between Europe and Israel: ‘I truly believe that the road should ultimately lead us to a significant participation of Israel in the European integration project. And here the sky is the limit’ (Livni 2006: 4). This chapter explores some of the main images and perceptions of the EU in Israel. By providing empirical findings concerning the attitudes of Israeli public opinion, political elites, organized civil society and the press, this chapter offers insights into the overall assessment on the part of the Israelis of the EU’s global actorness. At the same time, it also serves as an important indicator ‘of how well intentions have been translated into observable actions’ (Rhodes 1998: 6). The underlying assumption of this chapter is that only by understanding the various EU images and perceptions - and, in some cases, misperceptions - will the EU and Israel be able to improve and upgrade their relations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExternal Perceptions of the European Union as a Global Actor
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781135239497
ISBN (Print)0203866916, 9780203866917
StatePublished - 24 Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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