Grassroots Revolts in Israel in the Post-Socialist Era

By Sam Lehman-Wilzig

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791408728, 198 pages, February 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408711, 198 pages, February 1992

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Table of contents


Part I: Background

1. The Spark: Zionism, Socialism, and Governmental Paternalism

2. Rotting Timbers: The Decay of the Establishment

3. Brushfires: Early Grassroots Awakenings

Part II: Issues

4. National Security: Settling Scores

5. Economy: Blue and Black

6. Communications: The Mess Media Revolt

7. Health: A Hemorrhaging System

8. Education: School Is Out

9. Religion and State: Holy Wars

10. Constitution-Making: Founding Sons

Part III: Conclusions

11. Potential Grassroots Fires

12. Conflagration? Fireproofing the System

13. Loyalty, Voice, and Vex It: A Theory of Alter-Politics

14. Between Past and-Future: Israel's Grassroots Revolts in Historical Cross-Comparative Perspective




Wildfire is a wide-ranging, inter-disciplinary study of the "other side" of Israeli public life. Because the governmental service systems work poorly, and political protest has proved to be largely ineffective, the Israeli public has begun to take matters into their own hands, in effect creating numerous "alternative" service systems in almost all spheres of life.

Lehman-Wilzig describes this phenomenon and analyzes the impact of the most important alternative systems: illegal settlement activity, a huge underground economy, pirate cable TV stations, "gray" education, Black medicine, anti-religious as well as anti-secular activity, and a growing demand for electoral reform and constitutionalization of the Israeli polity.

Sam N. Lehman-Wilzig is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University, and is Chairman of the Institute for Journalism and Public Communications. He is co-editor of Comparative Jewish Politics: Public Life in Israel and the Diaspora, and author of Stiff-Necked People, Bottle-Necked System: The Evolution and Roots of Israeli Public Protest, 1949-1986.


"This book is extremely provocative, very clearly written, and well-structured. I found it interesting and, in places, fascinating. The topic is extremely important for the macro-understanding of the Israeli society, especially within the context of changes occurring since 1967. " — Ilan Peleg, Lafayette College

"I like the fact that the author addresses 'real' problems in society, issues of the media, education, labor, and electoral reform for example. I believe that this book manifests a thorough understanding of some of the very subtle characteristics of the Israeli social/economic/political systems, and shows a clear insight into the nature of the fundamental problems in Israeli society, how the problems developed, and where the solutions to those problems may lie. The author's style of writing is clear and scholarly, yet it is also quite captivating. " — Gregory Mahler, University of Mississippi