Constructing civil society: Citizen associations in Israel in the 1950s

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Following Michael Walzer's civil society argument, this article examines the primary relationship that developed between the Israeli government and citizen associations during Israel's first years of independence. The article describes the role that citizen associations played in advancing an open discussion about the right of association within the context of a young, inexperienced democracy. The desire for freedom of association on the part of Israel's citizens challenged the government's tendency to restrict this right and played a key role in defining the limits of government intervention in the individual's affairs. The research offers a different approach to the democratic effects of associations and shows that initiative to establish new associations, and an open discussion of their legal framework, should be considered as part of the democratization process in a new state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-182
Number of pages22
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Civil society argument
  • Democracy and associations
  • Democratization and nation building
  • History of civil society
  • Israeli history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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