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Reuven Y. Hazan and Gideon Rahat, "Israeli Party Politics: New Approaches, New Perspectives," Party Politics, 14 (November, 2008), 659-661.

First paragraph:
It seems that only Sartori could write that a country is 'more' sui generis than being a baffling, complex and unique case. The confusing nature of Israeli party politics, which has confounded both foreign and local students, has led to a perception that Israel should be confined to a unique, fluid, category excluded from most comparisons. However, this assessment is misleading on at least three counts: first, Israel exhibits a pattern of stabilization similar to that of most European electorates. 'The most salient characteristic of Israeli politics has been persistence' (Isaac, 1981: 2), not instability, within two distinct time periods - and it is only between these two periods that a realignment took place. Second, Israel is similar to most advanced Western democracies in that it has transformed over time from a state where the parties occupied a dominant and overarching status to one where both their position and their role in society are being challenged. Third, Israel can be used to assess the applicability of theoretical frameworks, causal relationships and systemic typologies generated by the study of comparable democratic party systems - which is exactly what this special issue attempts to do.

Figures and Tables:
None.

First paragraph of Conclusion:
Through their analysis of candidate selection methods, Rahat, Hazan and Katz suggest that the lessons learned from the internal democratization of several political parties in Israel give insight to a more sober discussion of how intra-party democracy contributes to democracy. Arian and Shamir look at the relationship between collective identities and voting patterns in Israel as they relate to both external and internal dimensions of political conflict, thereby expanding the understanding of the interplay between foreign conflicts and domestic party politics. Shenhav and Sheafer posit that as 'the party' became less dominant in Israeli politics, there were changes in the media's coverage of party disputes, which reflected and reinforced personalization in party politics. Hofnung questions the wisdom of regulating the finance of only one part of the electoral process - the national elections - while leaving leadership and candidate selection within the parties unsupervised. Navot reveals the dilemmas of a 'defensive' democracy in its attempt to deal with support for terrorism by outlawing political parties, and captures the dynamics of this by revealing the conflict between the legislative and judicial branches.

Last updated December 2008