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Civic and Citizenship Education in Israel

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As distinguished from the formal, political science-oriented citizenship curriculum studied exclusively in secondary schools, civic education-learning develops throughout the young-mature citizen's life in Israel. The analysis of the role and learning of two primary civic myths--'Israel is a Jewish and a democratic state' and 'Israelis are Jews'--demonstrates how this learning takes place through 'formations' of hegemony such as the family, the media, civic militarism as well as through schools' statist and social curricula. Successes of civic education enable the civic myths to be vibrant, gestalt worlds of meaning for Jewish Israelis, and sites of resistance for ultra-orthodox Jewish as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel. On the other hand, as an ethnocracy, democracy in civic Israel is not a meaningful world of value but rather a means to manage political processes. Therefore, the Israel case study is insightful for understanding the limitations of civic and citizenship education that seeks to advance democratic-oriented values such as human rights, liberty, justice, tolerance, civility, coexistence, pluralism and an alternative concept of Israel as a civil society.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, Sonoma State University, USA

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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