Neo-liberal reforms in Israel's education system: The dialectics of the state

Yossi Yonah, Yossi Dahan, Dalya Markovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper offers a reading of the Dovrat Report with the aim of assessing the convoluted and dialectical manifestations of the state - 'the weak and the strong state' - in the era of global neo-liberalism. The Dovrat Report (Ministry Of Education 2005) includes a set of recommendations aiming to bring about structural and comprehensive changes in Israel's education system. We argue that this report, like many other educational reforms implemented elsewhere in the world and articulated against neo-liberal ideology, actually promotes a Janus-faced political entity in the field of education (and similarly in other fields). Thus, while the state seemingly withdraws from educational affairs through decentralisation and privatisation policies, it increases its involvement in these affairs in dictating the goals of education; in setting uniform standards of scholastic achievements; in the cultivation of children possessing the values and skills required by neo-liberal globalisation; and in imposing a national value system intended to render them loyal citizens of their patria. In promoting these contradictory goals, the state often operates indirectly; it develops a tight but elusive regulatory system operated from a distance. Thus, through a set of well-defined activities, the strong state functions at the background of the weak state, challenging claims that the state crucially loses its power under the global order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 5 Dec 2008


  • Decentralisation
  • Education
  • Globalisation
  • Israel
  • Neo-liberalism
  • Privatisation
  • Strong state
  • The Dovrat reform
  • Weak state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (all)


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