THE MAKING OF MINORITY POLICIES IN NATIONALIZING STATES: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF ESTONIA AND ISRAEL
Why do nationalizing states, committed to preferential treatment of the dominant nation within the state, vary in their treatment of ethnic minorities? Why do some nationalizing states choose to simultaneously provide a certain degree of accommodation to their ethnic minorities in some realms while excluding them from others? Under which conditions will these states decide to shift their policy, and why? The fact that ethnic minorities experience inconsistent state treatment across time and policy issues warrants a theoretical explanation. Presently, we know comparatively little about the drivers of policy change in nationalizing states, and the reasons behind the adoption of inconsistent policies, especially where they are detrimental to the objectives of the nationalizing political elites. This dissertation develops a theoretical framework to explain diachronic and across policy variation toward minorities in states committed to a nationalizing agenda. The main argument of this dissertation is that fragmentation of political authority can lead to varying policy outcomes toward ethnic minorities in nationalizing states. At high levels of political authority that is concentrated in the executive branch, elected officials adopt policies in accordance with their political preferences and have the oversight capacity to determine adequate policy outcomes. In this case, nationalist governments are likely to adopt exclusionary policies, and minority-friendly ones, more accommodating policies. When political authority is fragmented, additional actors become endowed with policymaking authority. Fragmentation resulting from delegation of authority to the bureaucracy creates opportunities for entrepreneurial and savvy bureaucrats to initiate policy diversion from the status quo policy on minority issues. The extent to which bureaucrats are entrepreneurial and the particular characteristics of their policymaking behaviour explain why nationalizing states, at times, employ incoherent and inconsistent policies in relation to their minorities, especially in the absence of alternation of the governing incumbents. A process-tracing analysis of the policy process in Israel and Estonia toward the Palestinian Arab and Russian-speaking minorities, respectively, is used to develop the theoretical framework of this dissertation.