A decade later, the world had changed, the cleavage structure remained: Israel 1996-2006

Asher Arian*, Michal Shamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The defining challenge for Israel since 1967 has been the future of the territories captured in the Six Day War and the population living in them. With the stalemate festering and the salience of the conflict very high, the conflict with the Palestinians has become the major cleavage dimension in Israeli politics. Building on the multidimensional conceptualization of cleavage, we argue that despite the occurrence of many, dramatic, changes, the cleavage structure has not changed in the past decade, and the 1977 realignment is still in place. The primary cleavage is a full and consistent interlocking cleavage. Its potency, and the quality that permits it to achieve this overarching position, is associated with its expression of underlying collective identity dilemmas, which combine external and internal dimensions. Collective identity concerns, more readily than others, produce full cleavages and are likely to dominate and endure, overriding other issues. The establishment, positioning and success of Kadima in the 2006 elections are explicated within this framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-705
Number of pages21
JournalParty Politics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Collective identity
  • Israel
  • Kadima
  • Political cleavage
  • Voting behaviour


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