The personalization(s) of politics: Israel, 1949-2003

Gideon Rahat, Tamir Sheafer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in the personalization of politics. Unfortunately, the findings of studies carried out in different countries have led to inconsistent conclusions. This article argues that one of the reasons for this inconsistency is the lack of uniform conceptualization and operational definitions. The authors contend that it is helpful to make a distinction between institutional, media, and behavioral types of political personalization, and they provide specific measures of all three types. These clear distinctions should bring us closer to answering two questions: First, has there been a rise in the different types of political personalization? Second, what is the relationship between these various types of political personalization? This study shows, through a historical comparative analysis of the Israeli case (1949-2003), that political personalization can be better understood by employing Wolfsfeld's politics-media-politics (PMP) model: Institutional personalization leads to personalization in the media, which in turn leads to personalization in the behavior of politicians.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Gadi Wolfsfeld for his help, comments, and advise, and Rami Shalheret and Keren Taman for their research assistance. This research was supported by a grant from the Eshkol Institute for Social, Economic, and Political Research in Israel.


  • Candidate selection
  • Election coverage
  • Israeli politics
  • Legislative behavior
  • Political parties


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