This article describes the rise of a second generation of Arab political leaders in Israel as seen in the proliferation of explicitly Arab political parties (nationalist and Islamist) and Arab NGOs (secular and religious). While more representative of Israel’s Arab community than the its predecessors, reflecting the community’s growing national consciousness, the new leadership is also more fragmented. The author acknowledges Israel’s active efforts to weaken the new leaders, but asserts that fragmentation has also resulted from continuing traditional structures, including extended family, a culture of notables manifested in the personalization of institutions, and patriarchy, particularly the political exclusion of women.
Amal Jamal is a senior lecturer in political science at Tel Aviv University and head of the Walter Lebach Center for Arab-Jewish Coexistence through Education. His most recent books are The Palestinian National Movement, 1967–2005: Politics of Contention (Indiana University Press, 2005) and Media, Politics, and Democracy in Palestine (Sussex Academic Press, 2005). He would like to thank the three anonymous peer reviewers of this paper for their valuable comments.