The State of Israel could easily have been classed as a “civil society”, long before the expression assumed its present meaning. The kibbutz was perhaps the precursor of a civil society in its authenticity. In the past 30 years, Israeli society has split into sectors and has diversified. Israeli cultural-spiritual, socio-economic and political institutions are undergoing a deep structural change. The socio-cultural stew that is Israeli society has cooled considerably. To a growing extent it has solidified and fragmentation has set in. Gradually, the Israelis are taking part in the creation of a new public space, which they did not know before – “civil society”. 69% of the respondents to a 2002 survey declared that they belonged to civil society organizations. Palestinian society is also learning from the Israeli experience in making its first steps into a civil society of its own. The various components of civil society in Israel are still lacking structural links between them. This will probably be the next stage in the ongoing development process of civil society in Israel.
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