Israel is characterized by a high degree of inequality between members of different social groups. This inequality exists in education, ownership of economic resources, wages, access to ownership of land, state investment, and the possibility of social mobility. It has been discussed extensively by the public and by academics. Nevertheless, despite their recognition of the inequality, many Israeli citizens support some of the activities that cause it and even take part in them.
In addition to the material inequality, there is also a symbolic-identity inequality: That is, the nativeness that is part of the “sabra” image (which represents the secular, Jewish, anti-Diaspora male of European extraction) was constructed as the desired ideal, whereas being Western, female, religious, and of the Diaspora was juxtaposed to this ideal as its “other.” Many scholars aver that there is a close link between inequality of identity and economic inequality.
The assumption of such a link is the point of departure for the research and discussion group titled Is Israel Egalitarian? From Talk to Strategy. The group aims to discuss the question of inequality in Israel from a variety of perspectives and to propose strategies for action to create a more egalitarian country. The members are influential men and women with a history of activism from a variety of social groups.
The group’s activity is under the auspices of the British Oxford Research Group, which has experience in operating similar groups on social and political topics, in Europe and throughout the Middle East.