Israel’s democracy has been often described in academic literature as “unique”, “extreme” or “a significant exception”. Nevertheless it is almost impossible to properly understand the Israeli political experience without recourse to comparative research. In this talk, Harel-Shalev analyzes minority-majority relations in Israel by comparing Israel to other deeply divided societies that have chosen to pursue the democratic path. The lecture will analyze strategies that divided democracies utilize to cope with the complexities of minority-majority relations, while sustaining democratic processes, in the face of religious, ethnic, and national conflicts. Specifically the lecture will focus on the Arab minority in Israel and compare it to other homeland minorities in deeply divided societies, including the Muslim Minority in India, the Albanian minority in Macedonia, the Turkish minority in Cyprus, and the Tamil minority in Sri-Lanka.
AYELET HAREL-SHALEV is a Lecturer at the Conflict Management and Resolution Program and The Department of Politics and Government Department, Ben-Gurion University. During the current academic year, Harel-Shalev is a research Fellow at the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, and the Department of Political Science, UCLA.
Harel-Shalev is the author of The Challenge of Sustaining Democracy in Deeply Divided Societies - Citizenship, Rights, and Ethnic Conflicts in India and Israel - Lexington, 2010. Her book has won the Israeli Political Science Association (ISPSA) prize for the best book of 2010. A second edition of the book is about to be published in India by Foundation Books and Cambridge University Press, India, 2012/2013. Harel-Shalev specializes in Comparative political studies; Ethnic conflicts; Gender studies; Indian politics and society; and - Israeli politics and society.