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Minorities and the State in the Arab World

Ofra Bengio and Gabriel Ben-Dor, editors
Minorities and the State in the Arab World
ISBN: 978-1-55587-647-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-583-8
1999/224 pages/LC: 98-37994
"A concise, yet thorough summary of minority participation in the political sphere, focusing on the prospects for integration and reconciliation of minority groups as the political evolution of the Arab world moves forward."—Eileen Hren, Bulletin of Regional Cooperation in the Middle East


Questions of identity and ethnicity have always been part of the intricate web of politics in the Arab World, but the recent expansion of political participation has made these issues more political, more visible, and more acute. This book offers a comprehensive discussion of minorities and ethnic politics in eight Arab countries. Focusing on the strategic political choices made by minorities, majorities, and regimes in power, the authors also point to probable future developments in majority-minority relations in the region.


Ofra Bengio is senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center and assistant professor of Middle Eastern and African history at Tel Aviv University. Gabriel Ben-Dor is professor of political science and director of the graduate program in national security studies at the University of Haifa.


  • Minorities in the Middle East: Theory and Practice—G. Ben-Dor.
  • The Berber Question in Algeria: Nationalism in the Making?—B. Maddy-Weitzman.
  • Egypt and the Coptic Pandora’s Box—A. Ayalon.
  • Religion and Conflict in the Sudan: A Non-Muslim Minority in a Muslim State—Y. Ronen.
  • The Palestinians in Jordan: Demographic Majority, Political Minority—A. Susser.
  • From Hegemony to Marginalism: The Maronites of Lebanon—M. Zamir.
  • The Alawis, Lords of Syria: From Ethnic Minority to Ruling Sect—E. Zisser.
  • Nation Building in Multiethnic Societies: The Case of Iraq—O. Bengio.
  • The Shi'ite Opposition in Bahrain: Class and Religious Identities—U. Rabi and J. Kostiner.
  • The State and Minorities Toward the 21st Century: An Overview—O. Bengio and G. Ben-Dor.