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Jews and Druze in Israel: state control and ethnic resistance

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The article examines the evolving relations between the settler state of Israel and an Arab-Druze indigenous village community. Theoretical aspects are initially discussed, highlighting a structural conflict embedded in the ethnocentric processes of nation- and state-building in 'pure' settler societies. The place of the Druze community and the village of Bet Jan are then analysed within the Israeli (Jewish) 'ethnocracy' which imposed territorial control policies over the village. This control was intensified by environmental groups which campaigned to constrain Druze land usage in village lands zoned as a natural reserve. However, growing awareness among the Druze of their ethnic discrimination, and their increasingly effective political mobilization, have resulted in the development of a protracted land control conflict. The Bet Jan case demonstrates that the modern 'nation-state' in general, and the ethnocentric settler state in particular, are fragmenting. Ironically, this process is partially caused by the state's own ethnocentric policies of land and minority control.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 1998

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