The Historical Dimension: Jewish Associations in Palestine and Israel 1880s-1950s.

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Israeli historiography tends to stress the collectivist dimension in the processes that led to the establishment of the State of Israel. This was demonstrated both in the national ideology and in the formation of a political centre which later became a sovereign centralized government. This article turns away from existing historiography and focuses on institutions that functioned alongside or outside the political centre and provided social services and settings for social, cultural, and professional identification. The spectrum of institutions at issue, I argue, was part and parcel of the growing Jewish community in pre-Israel Palestine from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s. The study proposes to observe the historical evolution of these institutions in order to draw inferences about contemporary patterns. The Israeli case allows us to observe the role that such organizations play in nation- and state-building processes, during the transitional periods when political rules are being established, and the division of roles between governing authorities and nongovernmental entities takes place.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Civil Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • NATION building
  • SOCIAL services
  • NONGOVERNMENTAL organizations
  • COLLECTIVE behavior
  • CIVIC associations
  • ISRAELI history
  • ISRAEL -- Politics & government
  • historical institutionalism—Israel
  • history from below—Israel
  • History of Israeli third sector
  • Jewish civic associations
  • social origins theory—Israel


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