Ayelet Harel-Shalev
Department of Political Science
Nazarian Center for Israel Studies UCLA

Implementing democracy and minority rights in deeply divided societies: a comparison of Macedonia and Israel


This article examines the interests of "majorities" and "minorities" in the context of political conflict in deeply divided democracies and analyzes democratic solutions to mitigate tensions between communities in these societies. Two case studies Macedonia and Israel – are examined through the prism of recent theories on democracy in divided societies. Whereas Israel is engaged in an internal struggle for a suitable solution, but at the same time insists on preserving its Jewish national character, twelve years ago Macedonia redefined itself and preferred to preserve the state’s territorial unity at the expense of some of its national character. Important lessons to be learned from the recent political experiences of both cases are discussed.

Key words: Macedonia; Israel; minority rights; deeply divided Societies, conflict resolution; ethnic democracy.

One of the central principles of a democratic regime is the principle of majority rule. Nevertheless, majority rule without the presence of moderating elements, or minority rights, in societies that are ethnically or religiously divided is liable to create a situation in which minorities find themselves in an inferior position and unable to participate in governance or in shaping the collective good. Such minorities will often also face pressures of assimilation and the erosion of their culture. In divided societies, if there are no arrangements for the proportional allocation of resources and the involvement of the different groups in significant political decisions, the status of certain communities may be significantly undermined. At the same time, most majority communities tend to refuse implementation of full power-sharing strategies as the core form of governance, and therefore the gap between majority visions and the minority's aspirations remains substantial. The theoretical literature has also stressed that a state will be unlikely to accommodate a group that is perceived to be either a fifth column or likely to collaborate with foreign enemies. In these cases, the majority is not always thrilled to share power, to say the least (Weiner 2001).

Recent academic writings have illustrated two key strategies for regulating rifts in divided societies: integration and accommodation (McGarry, O’Leary and Simeon 2008: 41–88). Kymlicka (2008) however noted that the dichotomous differentiation between integrative and accommodative philosophies is neither adequate nor sufficient to address the challenges currently faced by deeply divided societies (Kymlicka 2008: 1–32). In a similar vein, the present analysis argues that governments of deeply divided societies that opt to follow a democratic path can choose from at least three “ideal types” of dissimilar policies to sustain their regimes when faced with internal ethnic conflicts (Harel-Shalev 2013: 1) preserving territorial integrity at the price of modification of their national character; 2) preserving their national character and relinquishing part of the state’s territory; 3) preserving both their national character and the territorial borders of the state, at the price of lower status for minorities.

Instances of these strategies, which each have their pros and cons, can be found in the global political arena. Israel is still engaged in an internal struggle for a suitable solution, but has so far adhered to the third option; namely trying to preserve both its national character and its territorial integrity. Macedonia, on the other hand, chose to preserve the state’s territorial unity at the expense of some of its ethno-national character in 2001. Carried out by the ethnic Macedonian elite, this move was not necessarily natural or intentional; rather it was made under severe threats and pressures from the ethnic Albanian minority, as well as the encouragement of international forces.

The state of Israel continues to try to “hold the stick at both ends”; i.e., to maintain the national character of the state and its territorial borders. But the “stick” might not be able to bear the weight for long. The leaders of Israel will face critical decisions in the coming years. In the territories beyond the 'Green Line', Israel will soon have to decide which arrangement it wishes to establish with the Palestinian Authority and to demarcate its final borders to avoid finding itself in the situation of Serbia in the Kosovar context. With regard to the internal divide between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian-Arab citizens, which is the focus of the current paper, a closer examination of the Macedonian solution could generate fruitful ideas for the implementation of democratic principles and co-existence in Israel.

According to Dogan and Pelassey (1984), although binary research can highlight the similarities between two countries, it is especially useful in elucidating which characteristics distinguish each nation. "Binary comparison permits a kind of detailed confrontation that is almost impossible when the analysis encompasses too many cases" (Dogan and Pelassy 1984, 127). Small-N comparative research can therefore be beneficial in examining a potential transition to a different model of government.

The population of Israel, a diverse country of 7.8 million citizens (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics 2012), is 20% Palestinian-Arab, and the remainder is predominantly Jewish. The non-Jewish sector of the population comprises mainly Muslims, Christians and Druze. The country’s diversity is further manifested within its different religious groups, each of which has multiple factions. Each of the two largest ethnic groups, Jews and Arabs, considers itself to be a native community in its homeland.

Overall, Israel regime's central tenets are: a. the state holds as a principal rule that it will remain democratic and will not tolerate racism; b. Israel should remain a Jewish state with a Jewish majority; c. the state grants civil rights to its Arab citizens, but it does not recognize them as a national minority, but as a religious, linguistic, and cultural homeland minority.

The enduring Israeli-Arab conflict engendered a classification of the Arab minority in the eyes of the Israeli establishment and many in the wider Jewish public as a branch of the Arab world and as a “security problem,” in the formative years. Yet, Israel’s Proclamation of Independence [1948] states that:

The State of Israel... will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace…it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex…We appeal – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the up-building of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

The Palestinian Arab community is entitled to several group rights, with some limitations: 1. Arabic was granted formal language status. It does not, however, achieve parity with Hebrew in practice. 2. A separate, but not independently managed Arabic education system (where most of the teaching is in Arabic); 3. A separate system of matrimony laws for the different religious sectors and the legal right to separate courts, limited by government control over funding and the appointment of Kadis (Islamic judges); 4. Exemption from military service (excluding Druze and Circassian men); 5. After the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision a decade ago upholding the right not to be discriminated against in the allocation of government funds, the first signs of another collective right have emerged: the advancement of affirmative action and ‘appropriate representation’ in civil service, which has yet to be fully implemented (Saban 2004).

Nevertheless, the State of Israel was created as a Jewish state: most of its symbols have always been Jewish, budgets and lands have been allocated disproportionally between the communities (though under current SC rulings, any such discrimination that can be proven in court is illegal and will be overturned). The Law of Return and the Law of Citizenship determine that an affiliation with the Jewish collective is sufficient grounds to receive Israeli citizenship immediately upon arrival in Israel, and help to maintain a Jewish majority.

The state holds open elections to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) at regular intervals, and Arab-Palestinians have consistently been elected from the first election onwards. A substantial majority of this community is bilingual, and many are intimately acquainted with the features of Israeli-Jewish culture. They enjoy a number of social and economic benefits, a rule of law and, an important measure of freedom, the right to engage in political activity which often sharply challenges not only state policies but the state's fundamental ideology of Zionism (Yakobson and Rubinstein 2009).

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has lived through many periods of internal Israeli-Arab conflict (along with external ones), which can be roughly divided as follows: an initial stage during which a military regime (military government) was imposed on the Arab minority, on the "border areas" where most of the minority lived, and many of the Arab citizens rights were limited (1948-1966); a subsequent phase of increasing democratization (particularly during the first half of the 1990s); and thereafter a stage in which majority-minority relations deteriorated from the events of October 2000 violent protest onwards (Peled and Navot 2005). The level of political violence by Palestinian-Arab citizens (as opposed to expressions of political solidarity with the Palestinian side of the conflict) is nevertheless quite low, but in the last ten years a number of attempts – largely unsuccessful – have been made to restrict the rights of the Arab minority in Israel by right wing governments in various constitutional ways.

Intensive debates have taken place over the past two decades on the subject of the civic status of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. There is a broad consensus among scholars that there is considerable room for improvement in the status of Arab citizens in Israel, but none over the appropriate measures that should be taken: Should Israel become “a liberal civic state”? Should it become a “bi-national democracy”? Or should it advance the Arabs' rights in the current political order. Many scholars doubt whether improvement in the Arabs' minority status can/should be achieved through a redefinition of the state which would move beyond the current definition of a Jewish and democratic state (Gavison 1999; Saban 1999; Harel-Shalev 2009).

At the same time, a new political discourse has emerged within the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel over the past two decades. Along with the Palestinians' struggle for their own state in the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel has emphasized their national identity and has demanded, in addition to greater protection of their individual rights, the extension of their group rights. The minority community's demands are indicative of the significant shift in the nature and intensity of the demands put forward by the Arab minority in Israel to the political authorities in the state. They no longer only demand local benefits, but rather a whole change of policy toward the minority, even to the extent of revising the definition of the state to include the minority as an equal partner. In a previous study, I argued that a direct transition from the current situation in Israel to a solution of a civic democracy may not be suitable. A formal definition of a “neutral” state in a political and conflictual social reality is liable to produce serious conflicts between the various communities within the society (Harel-Shalev 2010). Thus other theoretical and empirical models need to be examined. In this article, I focus on the recent political experience of Macedonia as independent state, which was forced to alter its national character to some extent, so as to preserve the unity of the state and uphold its democracy. This analysis then leads to suggestions as to Israel can learn from the Macedonian experience.

Macedonia only became an independent state in 1991, after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. Since then it has experienced various problems, both international and domestic, including the non-recognition of its legitimacy, borders and sovereignty, and violent internal disputes between the Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority. Currently the population of Macedonia is estimated at 2.1 million citizens, of whom 65% are ethnic Macedonians and 25% are ethnic Albanians, while the remainder are Turks, Romas, Serbs and other small ethnic groups.

After the establishment of the state of Macedonia, doubts were raised concerning the loyalty of its ethnic Albanian citizens. Many argued that their loyalty was to Albania and Kosovo rather than to the Macedonian state, and that they were undermining state sovereignty. This argument was not groundless, since the Albanians in Macedonia once demanded the creation of an independent Albanian entity under the umbrella of Yugoslavia. Therefore, when the state was formed, the Albanian minority was seen as a “problem” for the government, which accordingly set forth clear rules that emphasized the Macedonian character of the state. For example, the preamble to the constitution clearly stated that the Republic of Macedonia is “the nation-state of the Macedonian people,” which also accorded equal civil rights to the various minority groups. The preamble further notes the struggle of the Macedonian people to preserve its identity and national independence, and addresses historical events of significance to the Macedonian people. The Macedonian language was designated as the official language of the state, while the Albanian language was recognized in local self-government units in which the Albanian minority comprised a majority. The constitution also made special mention of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (without granting it the status of a state religion), and declared the state’s ties to the Macedonian diaspora, made up of members of the Macedonian people living in neighboring lands. The Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Macedonia (1992) provided citizenship for Ethnic-Macedonian who wishes to become a citizen of Macedonia, and presented several obstacles for non-ethnic Macedonian, including demand for proficiency in the Macedonian language, and fifteen-year requirement of continuous residence (Spaskovska 2012: 6-9; Lazarova-Trajkovska 1998).

The independence of Macedonia reinforced a symbolic link between the majority population and state identity. Ethnic Macedonians have always enjoyed clear political domination. Upon its establishment, Macedonia was recognized as a democratic state in the European arena and was praised for successfully preserving inter-communal harmony, in contrast to other states in the former Yugoslavia. The various European institutions that examined the constitutions of the states of the former Yugoslavia to ensure that they complied with European standards of human rights did not ask Macedonia to institute constitutional reform or to void the national definitions in the constitution, although they did criticize some practical dispositions relating to the Albanian minority (Danforth 1995: 149). Thus, Macedonia adopted essentially the same constitutional format that Israel espouses today – “Macedonian and Democratic” – and was still regarded as a bone fide democracy in Western European eyes.
However, although much of Western Europe gave its “seal of approval” to the model of independent Macedonia as a 'normal' democracy, the Albanians in Macedonia did not accept the status assigned to them and began to raise substantial demands. Although Albanian parties were continually included in government coalitions (1991-2013), the Albanian community was anxious to obtain greater recognition and to maintain its share of power. Extremists demanded the secession of the majority Albanian areas from the state.
In the late 1990s, the state faced the threat of civil war and braced itself for violent acts of protest and political extremism by the Albanian minority. The government of Macedonia, following the advice of Western European states, decided to negotiate with various Albanian parties, which resulted in the signing of a compromise agreement on 13 August 2001. During all stages of the negotiations between the two sides, the Macedonian leadership rejected a federal option, fearing that such a move would lead to the dismantling of the state.
The new agreement signed in Ohrid, known as the Ohrid Framework Agreement, dilutes the Macedonian character of the state. This can be seen in parts of the preamble to the constitution as revised in light of the Ohrid agreement:

The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, the Macedonian people, as well as citizens living within its borders, who are part of the Albanian people, the Turk people, the Vlach people, the Serb people, the Roma people, the Bosniaks people and others taking responsibility for the present and future of their fatherland, aware of and grateful to their predecessors for their sacrifice and dedication in their endeavors and struggle to create an independent and sovereign state of Macedonia, and responsible to future generations to preserve and develop everything that is valuable from the rich cultural inheritance and coexistence within Macedonia, equal in rights and obligations towards the common good – the Republic of Macedonia…

Thus, in light of the Ohrid agreement, the preamble to the constitution was amended and now refers to Macedonia as “the state of the Macedonian people" and "citizens living within their borders" and not only as “the state of the Macedonian people.”

Other noteworthy amendments included the expansion of the minority’s regional authorities, the stipulation that certain constitutional amendments pertaining to internal affairs require the consent of Albanian members of parliament who do not belong to the Macedonian majority, the strengthening of the official status of the Albanian language, and the mention of the Muslim community in the constitution alongside the Christian Orthodox community. However, the name of the state remains Macedonia, the Macedonian language is still the primary language, the national anthem (which refers to the Macedonian people) remains unchanged, and the connection with the Macedonian people in the diaspora is still stated. Other issues of contention were only resolved later. For example, the state’s recognition of Albanian universities was only reached in mid-2003 (Büchsenschütz 2003), and negotiations continue on other issues that are still on the agenda. However, an open dialogue between Macedonia and representatives of the Albanian minority is ongoing. It is difficult to argue that either the Macedonian majority or the Albanian minority in Macedonia is satisfied with the current arrangement. However, the agreement is based on a balance in which the basic interests of the various communities are taken into account and protected.

The impact of minority rights enlargement, as evident in Macedonia, has been to reduce levels of inter-ethnic hostilities and to restructure the state as a more decentralized political entity. Typically, these measures have included the granting of limited forms of power sharing and cultural, political and geographical autonomy to minorities, the imposition of proportionality in representation, decision-making and resources; and the passing of symbolic amendments with the effect of recognizing the history and rights of minorities, including changes in citizenship laws (Lazarova-Trajkovska 1998). This form of enlargement of minority rights and accommodation between communities may appear to be riddled with difficulties and crises, but its historical record points to a stronger possibility of moderating and managing ethnic conflicts than the option of strengthening the ethnic hegemony which tends to lead ethnic relations into prolonged periods of open and often violent conflict (Ghanem 2009).

At the same time, while since the adoption of the Framework Agreement, Macedonia has made noticeable reforms, the country’s social and political divisions remain, as does the mutual suspicion between the communities (Reka 2008; Maleska 2010). In fact, Maleska noted that ethnic Macedonians feel insecure and frustrated as to their status in society. It should be noted that the Framework Agreement was not initiated by the communities themselves, but instead was accepted under intense pressure from the international community (the European Union and the United States) with the possibility of a bloody civil war in the background. In the aftermath of the 2001 conflict, the extent of international involvement in Macedonia’s affairs became – and remains – highly intrusive. Various European powers were intimately involved in the formulation and crystallization of the OFA and in reconciling the differences between the rival communities. With the signing of the Framework Agreement in August 2001, a direct link was established between securing peace and democratic development in the country and its gradual inclusion in Euro-Atlantic structures, particularly the EU, a process that relied heavily on the classic “carrot and stick” approach.

Macedonia was the first country in the Western Balkans to sign a Stabilization and Associate Agreement (SAA) with the EU in 2001. This agreement was officially implemented in April 2004. Macedonia presented its application for EU membership on 22 March 2004, after which the Commission prepared its Opinion on Macedonia’s application. It reaffirmed Macedonia’s preparedness to become a candidate for EU accession (Snježana and Kostadinova 2008: 23). The European Council voted on 17 December 2005 to grant the status of candidate country to Macedonia (EU 2006). In addition, more states and international courts of justice have recently chosen to recognize Macedonia’s name and borders. Hence through its enduring commitment to Macedonia, the EU has effectively positioned itself as an external prop to the success of the Macedonian process (Lebamoff and Ilievski 2008).

It has been argued that post-conflict Macedonian politics should be seen as the outcome of the development of a de facto bi-national state (Engstrom 2002), but the notion of ‘bi-nationalism’ would not be suitable to decribe the Macedonian new political system, since the power sharing elements are partial (Holliday 2004, 156; Harel-Shalev 2013b). Some research has indicated that in the last ten years there has been little or no progress in implementing the stipulations of the OFA, due to Macedonian oposition (Pettifer 2011), whereas other studies have shown that little effort has been made to promote minority status.

For instance, as a result of the Ohrid Agreement, municipal borders were redrawn in 2004, although the Ethnic Macedonians opposed this move. The creation of new municipalities made the Albanians an overall majority in 16 municipalities, whereas in 13 other municipalities they constitute more than 20%, but less than 50%, thus making the Albanian language ‘official’ in 29 municipalities (Kosovar Institute 2012). Thus a decade after implementation of the OFA, there are still many institutional disparities in the extent of decentralization of power, particularly in relation to curriculum reform in education and the introduction of social services; for example, Macedonia is trying to implement a single history curriculum for its different ethnicities, but is faced with major obstacles in this regard (Dimishkovska 2012). Moreover, according to the OFA principle of equitable representation, the percentage of ethnic Albanians employed in public institutions should eventually reach over 25%, but, as yet, many institutions still do not fulfill this stipulation (Sector 2007, Maleska 2010).

Despite the constitutional changes, many observers have agreed that the Albanians have remained marginalized in many areas (Bokulić and Kostadinova 2008: 23-24). The European Commission concluded in its 2006 Report that with regard to primary and secondary education, the right to instruction in one’s mother tongue has been implemented in Macedonia, as stipulatedby the Constitution. The issue was therefore not addressed in the 2007 Report. At the same time, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) warned that serious deficiencies persist with regard to instruction in minority languages. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe therefore called on the Macedonian government ‘to take better account of the needs for teaching in minority languages’ (Resolution 2005), and in general, European political forces expressed concerns over minority-majority relations in the country (Commission of the European Communities 2008) .

In its 2007 Report, the European Commission concluded that in terms of minority representation, slow progress had been made within the police and security forces. In terms of minority protests during the past decade, there were indeed a few violent incidents in which radical Albanian forces tried to gain control of parts of western Macedonia. In some of these cases, radical elements claimed control of several villages in Western Macedonia with aspirations to create a larger Albanian dominated entity. However, since Macedonian forces quickly took control of these situations, they did not lead to large-scale violence. Although such groups and individuals garner very little support from the greater Albanian community, they are still a potent reminder of what could happen if minority-majority relations are not kept in check by making real concessions to minority groups.

How do citizens perceive the levels of stability, social inclusion and interethnic relations in the country after the adoption of the Framework Agreement? An analysis of citizens’ attitudes during the first post-OFA decade revealed troubling findings. A 2003 survey indicated that half (50.6%) of the citizens supported the OFA. Furthermore, a thorough investigation revealed that the majority of the ethnic Macedonian population was against it, with support much higher among ethnic Albanians (91.6%) than among ethnic Macedonians (38%) (UNDP 2003). An examination of the perceptions of interethnic relations showed that in 2006 a smaller percentage of ethnic Albanians perceived such relations negatively compared to the majority of ethnic Macedonians (UNDP 2006). A similar study in 2008 mirrored these results (UNDP 2008). In 2004, three years after the adoption of the Framework Agreement, 67.7% of ethnic Albanians continued to perceive themselves as having fewer rights than the majority (UNDP 2004). In stark contrast, ethnic Macedonians felt not only that ethnic Albanians had equal rights, but also believed that ethnic Albanians had attained more rights than other citizens (UNDP 2004). Recent findings presented by Maleska (2010) revealed that ethnic Albanians and other minorities are much more satisfied with the social and political changes since 2001 than are ethnic Macedonians. An evaluation of the perceived stability shows that ethnic Albanians feel more secure than do ethnic Macedonians. Maleska’s research indicates that the majority of Macedonians feel less economically safe and less secure than they did in pre-OFA Macedonia.

Further evidence of the divergence between the perceptions of the main ethno-national groups in Macedonia can be seen in the Albanian claim that the new laws and agreements do not go far enough in matters of local administration (Büchsenschütz 2002) and that, in reality, the Albanian minority does not benefit from the use of the Albanian language in public correspondence, since very few Macedonians actually know or are willing to speak Albanian. Ethnic Macedonians, for their part, have come to the realization that they no longer have privileged access to public sector employment. They also acknowledge that the demands of the Albanian community for greater proportional representation in the state administration can only be fulfilled at their expense, feelings that have left them with pressing concerns about their socio-economic status (Holliday 2004: 160).

The ethnic Macedonian majority was always somewhat suspicious of the OFA, but this attitude did not find political expression until 2006, when a center-right coalition was voted into office. The June 2008 election, in which the conservative ethnic Macedonian party won an outright majority in the Assembly, reflects the Macedonians’ frustration (Staniševski and Miller 2009). In the parliamentary election of June 2011, the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE party of Prime Minister Gruevski won again, but with insufficient seats to govern alone; it was forced to create a ruling coalition with an Albanian party and to moderate its agenda accordingly. Overall, the different ethnic groups in Macedonia remain divided, and the issue of interethnic relations continues to generate anxiety among the communities.

Although the current Jewish and democratic state might indeed receive the ‘seal of approval’ by the international community, as was conferred on the “Macedonian and democratic,” formulation, a great deal can be done to improve the quality of democracy in Israel. In 2010-2012 a series of policy proposals were put forward in Israel which seek to entrench the ethno-national discourse by emphasizing the centrality of an exclusive Jewish national identity. These directives and bills to downgrade the formal status of Israeli Arab-Palestinians might, if concretized, lead Israel down an undemocratic path (Harel-Shalev 2013).

In Israel, the state is defined as Jewish and democratic, whereas Macedonia after the Ohrid agreement can be described as "the state of the Macedonian people, and of its citizens". Both states acknowledge the language rights of their minorities (in Israel, Hebrew and Arabic are official languages), but in both states, the legal formal status is not fully implemented. The Supreme Court in Israel ruled for ‘appropriate representation’, but this policy has yet to be realized on the ground. In Macedonia the quotas for representation have not been fully met either. In Macedonia, Albanian politicians are included in ruling coalitions on regular basis, whereas in Israel the proportional voting system does not translate into political power for the Arab parties, since they are excluded from ruling coalitions.
The way to stabilize regimes within deeply divided societies appears to be accompanied by difficulties and crises, but the moral position constitutes a much stronger possibility for moderating and managing ethnic conflicts than strengthening ethnic control, oppression or hegemony which tends to lead to spirals of ethnic conflict. Macedonia has therefore moved from a pure majority-rule democracy, or an ethnic democracy, toward a mixed democracy; namely, a hybrid democracy that entails the institution of civil mechanisms of inclusion for Macedonian citizens together with the granting of group rights and certain elements of power sharing.

Perhaps the fact that both the Macedonian majority and the ethnic Albanian minority are dissatisfied with the current status quo is not ultimately bad, as this may be precisely the type of equilibrium that will facilitate stability and promote democracy in the Macedonian state. Although partition has been discussed (Deliso 2001), it is currently not among the preferred orientations of either ethnic Albanians or ethnic Macedonians.

Israel's current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has already declared that he is in favor of two states for two people in Israel/Palestine. Israel will soon reach a crossroads, where it must decide whether it is willing to adopt one of the alternative strategies to sustain its regime and preserve its democratic character, or strengthen control and hegemony. It is important to emphasize that the creation a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people in the West Bank alongside Israel should enable the Jewish people to reside more peacefully in the Middle East, and improve co-existence between Jews and Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel. Nevertheless, after Israel resolves the conflict with its Palestinian neighbors, it will need to face the challenge of the status of the frustrated Arab-Palestinian minority. Full implementation of rights already formally entitled to the minority would be a good starting point. In the framework of a ‘Jewish and democratic state,’ much can be done to promote co-existence in a deeply divided society, and to significantly improve the implementation of democracy.





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[1]The Author would like to thank Alex Yakobson, and the reviewers for their constructive remarks and encouragements. This research was supported by the Centre for the Study of European Politics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

[2]To clarify, in 2006-2008 coalition VMRO-DPMNE included the Democratic party of the Albanians in the government coalition. In 2008-2011 DUI was part of the governing coalition of VMRO-DPMNE, as well as in the current coalition 2011-present.