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Social, cultural, and political issues facing modern Israel

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  1. Introduction
  2. Examination of internal debate that has taken place within Israeli society over the fate of West Bank since 1967
  3. Pressing issues on Israel's national agenda
  4. The conflict between the Arab states and Palestinians
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

The 1967 war resulted in a decisive victory for Israel over the combined forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. By launching a preemptive air strike, the Israeli Air Force was able to wipe out virtually all of Egypt's air force in one swift, massive attack. This guaranteed Israel air superiority for the rest of the war. Consequently, after trouncing Syria in the Golan Heights and Jordan in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel was in the possession of a great deal of territory: the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. While Sinai was returned, today Israel still retains control of the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. Of these three, the West Bank may be the most hotly contested region of all. Internal debate over the fate of this area continues to rage among the people of Israel. Conquest over the West Bank unleashed heavy arguments. There are two primary schools of thought on the subject. The first is more militant in nature.

[...] The conflict will always prove a source of disunity among Israel's people, especially the Arab citizens who despite their desire to be accepted as true Israelis will always feel the sting of discrimination and mistrust from the rest of the population. Because they cannot join the military, they are separate from the rest of the people. Politically, the conflict is the main point of contention among Israel's many political parties. The constant struggle for supremacy between left- and right-wing factions makes for a great deal of instability in the government. [...]

[...] Israel has never had a consensus on this issue, and this fundamental cleavage characterizes Israel's politics. The strained relationship between Israel's Ashkenazi Jews (those from Europe and North America) and the Sephardim and Mizrahim (those Jews from the Middle East and the Orient) is less a point of contention than it was at Israel's inception, but it still manifests itself in the bitterness between these groups. The Sephardi and Mizrahi immigrants were long sufferers of discrimination at the hands of the more Ashkenazim. [...]

[...] Only by addressing these major issues can Israel truly unite its people into a cohesive population with its own definitive culture and identity. As it is now, Israel's population consists of many bickering, fractured groups united in name only gathered under the same flag. Based on the readings and the movies shown in class, in what ways has the ongoing conflict with the Arab states and Palestinians shaped Israeli society and culture? The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question have unquestionably shaped the land of Israel and its people. [...]

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