Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the bifurcation of Israel

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9 Scopus citations


Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are the two large and important cities of Israel.1 Jerusalem, situated on the crest of the Judea mountains is the religiously sanctified and official capital of the state of Israel. Tel Aviv, situated on the shore of the Mediterranean, is the business and social metropolitan hub of Israeli society. The two cities are perceived in Israeli culture as representing two opposing political-cultural principles: Jerusalem is historical and holy-a probable prescription for cultural intolerance and political violence; Tel Aviv is contemporaneous and profane-a possible recipe for a thriving and hedonistic civil society. Such a perception will inform the first part of the essay. In its second part, a critical look at this perception will be offered. Critics contest the common depiction of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as two antidotal poles and consider it disingenuous if not deceiving. They contend that the two cities are more alike than the common perception would lead one to believe, and that they form in fact a common Israeli system, with just a slight division of labor among them. The third part of the essay will expand beyond Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as such and will consider the larger context of Israeli political culture and especially the bifurcation between post-Zionism and neo-Zionism. The fourth part will offer concluding reflections on the role of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as two perspectives or orientations in contemporary Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2005


  • Globalization
  • Israel
  • Jerusalem
  • Neo-Zionism
  • Post-Zionism
  • Tel Aviv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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