Ethnicizing the republic: the strange career of the concept of republican citizenship in Israel

Yiftah Elazar*, Natan Milikowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The scholarship on republicanism has moved away from perfectionist and communitarian to neo-Roman interpretations of the tradition, but the scholarship on citizenship in Israel has taken a different turn: republican citizenship has come to be identified with an unusual, ethnicized conception of it, sometimes described as ‘ethnorepublicanism’. This article critically discusses the ethnicization of the concept of republican citizenship in Israel Studies. The first part reconstructs how the concept of ethnorepublican citizenship, originally used to criticize the unequal status of Palestinian citizens in Israel, has morphed into an ideological justification of unequal citizenship. The second part argues that ethnorepublicanism rejects the republican commitment to the equal liberty of citizens and thus constitutes a perverse form of republicanism. The development of Israeli ethnorepublicanism illustrates the worrying potential of republican citizenship to be integrated into agendas of exclusionary nationalism and calls for further work on republicanism in multi-ethnic societies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)786-803
Number of pages18
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2020

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  • Citizenship
  • civic education
  • exclusion
  • nationalism
  • republicanism


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