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Durham e-Theses
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State Attitudes towards Palestinian Christians in a Jewish Ethnocracy

MCGAHERN, UNA (2010) State Attitudes towards Palestinian Christians in a Jewish Ethnocracy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis challenges the assumption of Israeli state bias in favour of its Palestinian Christian population. Using ethnocratic and control theories it argues instead that the Palestinian Christians are inextricably associated with the wider Arab “problem” and remain, as a result, permanently outside the boundaries of the dominant Jewish national consensus. Moreover, this thesis argues that state attitudes towards the small Palestinian Christian communities are quite unique and distinguishable from its attitudes towards other segments of the Palestinian Arab minority, whether Muslim or Druze. Despite being considered a relatively modern and secular community, its small size, weak electoral power, extensive external links and its central role in Palestinian Arab national politics have resulted in a basic level of ambivalence towards them on the part of the authorities. This is compounded by Jewish memories of Christian persecution in Europe which have come, to some extent, to be redirected at disconnected local Christian communities and churches. At the same time, the growth of Jewish religious politics in society and particularly within the Israeli political establishment has resulted in a noticeable rise in previous levels of anti-Christian religious antipathy. These factors have combined to produce a visible pattern in the manner in which the state engages with its Palestinian Christian citizens today. This thesis concludes through the use of recent case-studies and a series of semi-structured interviews that Israeli state attitudes towards its Palestinian Christian population are, in fact, best described as being based on indifference and neglect rather than on any other single factor.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Palestinian Arab Minority, Israel, Palestinian Christians, State Attitudes, Minority Policy, Ethnocracy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Feb 2010 15:57

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