Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

Israel and the Middle East

The Special Case of Jerusalem

Two Peoples--One Land:
Federal Solutions for Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan

Daniel J. Elazar

A major sticking point in any solution is the status of Jerusalem. Israelis, even those who are prepared to relinquish territory for a separate Palestinian state, are virtually united in their stance that Jerusalem not be redivided and must remain under Israeli rule. This seems to be the single non-negotiable item on the peace table from a popular point of view. By the same token, the Palestinians and their Arab brethren have consistently insisted on the restoration of at least East Jerusalem to their rule. A solution to this problem has to proceed on two levels. Locally there have to be municipal arrangements for a heterogeneous Jewish-Arab population, but these can only be accepted as permanent as part of a larger peace settlement.

Jerusalem's development into one of the world's most desirable cities came as a result of its reunification in 1967. After the 1948 war, the city was divided between Israel and Jordan, literally by a wall down its middle. Jerusalem was at the dead-end of a narrow corridor leading from Israel's Mediterranean coast and cut off from its natural hinterland. Arab Jerusalem withered as a satellite of Amman. After June 1967, united Jerusalem blossomed as a Jewish city. In twenty years the Jewish population rose from 190,000 to 320,000. New Jewish neighborhoods were built to surround the city on the north, west, south, and southeast, and in a relatively short time housed more people than all of Jewish Jerusalem before 1967. The city's face was lifted and it became one of the world's most beautiful cities in its man-made as well as its natural aspects. Its educational institutions, commerce, and governmental role expanded.

Less well-known is that post-1967 Jerusalem was not only attractive to Jews but to Arabs as well. In the same period, the population of Arab Jerusalem increased from just over 70,000 to over 120,000, more than a 70 percent increase at a time when the population of Judea and Samaria grew by only 25 percent and has yet to reach its pre-1967 population. The Arab sector's main axis of development was on the road from the Damascus Gate of the Old City northward to Ramallah.

Many of these new Jerusalemites are Israeli Arabs from the Galilee. Lacking a metropolis with a substantial Arab presence anywhere else in pre-1967 Israel, the Israeli Arabs, like their Palestinian brethren, found in Jerusalem a place where the climate of opportunities is such that they can gain the benefits of urban living without foregoing their Arabic environment. As Israeli Arabs, they are fluent in both Hebrew and Arabic. Many of them originally came to the city as students at the Hebrew University and stayed to practice their professions in a place where they can play a bridging role between Israelis and Palestinians. They also benefit from the business generated by the over 100,000 Arabs living just beyond the city to the north and south, a presence which both strengthens and complicates the case for maintaining a unified Jerusalem under any settlement.

One of the great advantages of the federal approach is that it offers realistic ways to solve the problem of Jerusalem. The city can become the seat of the federal government under any of several arrangements. In an Israel-Palestine federation or confederation it could be a triple capital, for the constituent units as well as the seat of government for the whole. In a federation of multiple Jewish and Arab cantons, it would be the seat of the federal government, while each canton would have its own capital. In a federacy arrangement the situation would no doubt resemble the first two options. An Israel-Jordanian confederation with the Palestinian Arabs fully incorporated into the Jordanian polity would leave Jerusalem to be capital of Israel and seat of government for the confederation, while Amman would remain capital of Jordan. Should there be a Jordan-Palestinian federation in confederation with Israel, Amman would no doubt remain the capital of the federation, while Jerusalem would no doubt serve as the seat of the confederation and perhaps also as the capital of the Palestinian entity, while continuing to serve as the capital of Israel. Under a condominium arrangement, Jerusalem would be the seat of the condominium council. The other options do not require separate capitals.

Under any of these arrangements a Palestinian and Arab political presence could be allowed in the city without changing its sovereignty which, along with some special status for the Muslim holy places, would secure a limited Arab presence in the city. Any of these arrangements would make it possible to develop a local governmental structure that would allow the Arabs of Jerusalem a significant measure of self-rule within a shared-rule context.

The Middle East has a long tradition of religiously and ethnically heterogeneous populations living side by side, so intermixed within particular localities that simple territorial separation has not been a means for them to maintain their particular ways of life. This is especially true within the region's cities that have been settled on a high density basis, further intensifying the intermixing.

Even the system of separate quarters or neighborhoods has been more a fiction than reality in many cases. While certain neighborhoods have been predominantly inhabited by one group or another, rarely have they been exclusively so. Thus the famous four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem are formally labeled Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian; and, indeed, each group had (and now has) its central node in "its" quarter, but in reality members of every group lived in every quarter. In fact, since the Jews came to constitute the largest single group in older Jerusalem by the mid-nineteenth century and an absolute majority shortly thereafter, they were to be found in numbers in every quarter of the city. So, too, in predominantly Muslim cities, Muslims lived in the minority quarters as well.

At the same time, and perhaps because of this, the Middle East also has had a tradition of managing heterogeneity both to sustain the separate groups and to keep the peace. The management of heterogeneity in the Middle East has been most successful under imperial regimes that have been able to keep the peace or strongly encourage local authorities to do so in order to preserve good relations with the imperial rulers. the great problem of the contemporary Middle East is how to develop similar techniques and institutions for managing heterogeneity within a democratic framework.

The city of Jerusalem has done as well or better than any other local government in dealing with its heterogeneous population in a democratic fashion by judiciously adapting older devices common in its region to new conditions in a way that is fully consonant with democratic expectations. While there may indeed be institutional devices that Jerusalem could profitably adapt from other cities, there is much that Jerusalem can teach the rest of the world. The limits on Jerusalem's success reflect external factors not amenable to the city's control.

The Jerusalem authorities have managed to achieve what they have in an ad hoc manner, without seeking formally to institutionalize the steps they have taken since 1967. This effort to adopt patterns customary in the Middle East and give the adaptations the force of custom rather than law is notably consonant with the region's general approach to many problems. It is also a useful way to deal with the ambivalences of the city's non-Jewish minorities who have strong primary loyalties to Jerusalem yet want to maintain their respective ways of life as separate communities and their strong links to their respective outside communities, peoples, or churches. They are willing to cooperate quietly with the authorities but are not willing to acknowledge fully their status as citizens of a united city under Israeli jurisdiction.

The city authorities have sought to bend the law where necessary to avoid having to take formal steps that might prove troublesome to accommodate the diverse populations of the city. While this is particularly noticeable in the reunited sections, it has also been traditionally true in other parts of the city, for example, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Many of the most successful efforts are not easily visible because they have no formal expression.

No doubt this is true of other cities as well. It is possible that those involved in managing the diversity of Jerusalem could learn something from Brussels or Singapore or other cities, but the learning would not involve any new overall approach.

Jerusalem's authorities have developed an indigenous approach that has been working. However, while the ad hoc method has worked for now, in a final settlement it probably will have to be systematized and institutionalized, in part, if not substantially, if only to provide a sufficient framework to ensure democratic decision-making.

Hence it is well for all parties concerned to have some idea of the lines along which formal institutionalization has the ability to manage heterogeneous populations. Some of the alternatives examined have become conventional arrangements within a particular country. Indeed, this may be their best recommendation.1

It should be noted that relatively little attention has been paid by political scientists and urbanologists to the problem of managing mixed populations within a local setting. Most studies have focused on extralocal units of government, that is, state-local systems or national forms of accommodation. This indicates that perhaps the successful local arrangements of heterogeneous populations have grown unplanned, products of a period of evolution. If this is indeed the case, it is of great significance to Jerusalem, whose city authorities have opted for such a course of action.

The alternatives for local government of heterogeneous populations will be examined under five headings:

  • City-county arrangements (standard counties, contractual relationships, consolidational city-counties, federated counties)

  • Federated municipalities (borough systems, federations of existing municipalities)

  • Neighborhood-district programs

  • Functional programs (special districts, interlocal arrangements, functional arms of general-purpose governments, functional service entities)

  • Extralocal models (consociational arrangements, federacies)

All of the arrangements explored here are solutions developed in response to the specific problems of particular localities. Hence, the prospect of simply duplicating or transplanting any one of them is limited. However, if the examples are viewed as models or options open to local governments, they may well be a source of or stimulus for ideas that can be applied to Jerusalem.

City-County Arrangements

A county in the modern sense (as distinct from premodern English or European forms) is a unit of local government established by state authority to provide services to a specific territory.2 Where counties exist, they are generally organized on a "wall-to-wall" basis, that is, the state's entire territory is divided into counties so that no area is left uncovered by county government, whether or not it has municipal government. Within each county there are likely to exist urban and rural areas, incorporated and unincorporated. Cities, towns, or boroughs may incorporate under state law as municipalities, but, in most cases they remain within the borders of their county and under its jurisdiction in those functional areas assigned to it. This basic structure is a well-established Anglo-American phenomenon that allows various government bodies to have separate and distinct jurisdiction in the same territory.

The entire area within the county's jurisdiction receives the range of services provided by the county government except where special arrangements are made for municipalities to provide their own parallel services. Thus, in the case of law enforcement, a county may agree to provide its services to the unincorporated areas while the cities within it maintain their own internal police forces. In only a few cases does a county formally relinquish jurisdiction; it reserves the right to send in the sheriff at any time, but the tacit agreement not to do so is rarely, if ever, violated except, perhaps, in situations of "hot pursuit."

Even in counties where such special arrangements are common, the county governments provide at least minimum services for all those under their jurisdiction, regardless of where they live. Thus a county will usually be responsible for public welfare services throughout its area. The key to standard city-county arrangements ("city" for the purposes here refers to incorporated municipalities) is that, although cooperation does exist, the provision of services does not necessitate cooperative arrangements. Each county has its own functions to perform and has the necessary powers to do so because the city-county system is based on a division of functions.

With the trend toward metropolitanization and the expansion of settlement beyond established city limits came the development of new city-county relationships. The growth of urban settlement has brought in its wake increased power for both municipal and county governments as the tasks of both have been expanded. Counties, once basically instrumentalities for rural government, have gained more and more responsibility in urban affairs and, increasingly, "home rule" (a U.S. term for local autonomy). Many states now make provision in state law for a county's residents to adopt a county charter (basic law) conferring municipal powers. This is usually done without in any way limiting or interfering with the municipal powers of the cities within the county. Home rule counties provide comprehensive services for their residents as a matter of course. In such cases, city-county relationship also undergoes a change. Three major new forms of relationship have developed.

Contractual Arrangements3

Contractual arrangements involve a county government providing services to municipalities within its boundaries on a contractual basis with each city choosing the "package of services" it desires from the complete set offered. The Lakewood plan in California is an example of this type of relationship. Los Angeles County (population eight million) can provide by contract up to 58 different services to cities within its borders. The state legislature has created a uniform local retain and use tax, making it financially attractive for municipalities to incorporate to maintain their local autonomy and, at the same time, contract with the county for services rather than providing them unilaterally, usually at a greater cost.

The program, set up in 1954, presently involves 74 cities, each purchasing from 4 to 42 of the available services at a uniform rate. Newer cities purchase more at the onset and tend to contract for less as they develop their own local administration. Significantly, Los Angeles County also includes the city of Los Angeles, with over three million people, which provides most city services independently. The flexibility of the Lakewood plan enables the county to accommodate a wide range of city sizes and develop whichever city-county relationship is appropriate to each municipality, even as it continues to serve as the overarching government in certain spheres for all its residents.


In a few cases, particularly where suburbanization has occurred in a single county, the central city and the county have been consolidated into a new political entity.4 In the nineteenth century, when unlimited city growth was a desideratum, unincorporated territory in the county, and often other municipalities as well, were usually annexed by the central city, sometimes with provisions for neighborhood control of schools, police, zoning, and public assistance on a ward basis, precisely because of the heterogeneous immigrant populations then to be found in large U.S. cities. Today, the process is often reversed; and in such cases, a broadened county government authority supersedes that of the city, which is absorbed within it. The previously unincorporated areas fall under the new government while the previously incorporated areas within the county may choose to remain independent or become part of the new arrangement.

Those incorporated areas that choose to remain independent maintain their separate identities and provide their own municipal services but transfer their traditional relationship with the county to the new entity. In some cases, they contract with the consolidated city-county for new metropolitan services as well. Under such consolidation arrangements, three categories of services are developed: traditional county services, which are provided for the entire jurisdiction; municipal services, which are provided for the urbanized area of the county only, either by the new government or by the separate municipalities that remain outside of it; and metropolitan services, which are the province of the new authority.

A prime example of county consolidation can be found in Nashville-Davidson County, Tennessee, whose residents voted for consolidation in 1961.5 In its case, four suburban municipalities voted to remain outside the merger. They remain independent but linked to the new entity for normal county-provided services. At the same time, consolidation extended the city services formerly provided by Nashville for its residents alone to the unincorporated urbanized areas surrounding the former central city.

Federated County Systems6

In the federated county a two-plane system is established. The existing county administration is expanded in scope and powers to become the overarching government, and the existing municipalities become the constituent units of government in the new federation. All preserve their respective integrities and basic functions; but some functions are transferred to the county in toto and others are made joint tasks, thereby establishing a cooperative relationship between the two planes. In the federated county, the constituent units need not be symmetrical in size or character, although the arrangement is not feasible where there is one single city of overwhelming size plus many smaller ones.

Dade County, Florida, is a prime example of the federated county. It consists of 27 municipalities (including Miami and Miami Beach), 19 having fewer than 10,000 people, covering a 2,054-square-mile area. Miami, the largest city, has a population of 372,000 or less than 25 percent of the county's 1.6 million total. In this instance, the county became the new areawide government, with the municipalities functioning like states in a federal union. The new area provides transportation, police, fire, health, welfare, and recreation services. Other functions remain in the hands of the municipalities. The division of functions between the metropolitan council and the municipalities involves a certain level of formal cooperation. For example, rather than all phases of a function being assigned to one plane or another, both planes share in its implementation. Thus refuse collection is the responsibility of the municipality but refuse disposal is a "metro" task.

Were a county system to be instituted as part of a federal solution to the Israel-Arab conflict, there appears to be no reason why the present city of Jerusalem could not be reconstituted as a county possessing full municipal powers, with the possibility of territories within it being given municipal status in the manner of the standard U.S. county described above. The links between the county and the municipalities within it could be hierarchical, federal, contractual, or some combination of all three with special districts utilized to fill any service area gaps.

Federated Municipalities7

A federated municipality differs from a federated county system in that, rather than relying upon an existing structure, a new two-plane structure is created to serve a particular metropolitan region. The new structure takes one of two forms: Either both planes are designed anew from scratch (the borough system) or the existing municipalities become units within a newly formed overarching government. Although some functions are clearly allocated to one plane or another, increasingly the key to successful relationships in the federated municipalities is cooperation, formal and informal, both in allocation of power and provision of services.

The Borough System

Until its recent abolition, the London borough system was the oldest and perhaps the classic example of two-tier local government organization.8 At its greatest extent, the Greater London Council (GLC) encompassed 32 boroughs, several of which were larger than the total population of Jerusalem. With the abolition of the GLC, each borough became an independent municipality.

Greater Toronto in Ontario (Canada) is the most widely cited post-World War II model of a metropolitan borough system. In Canada, the decisions to federate or otherwise reorganize cities and metropolitan regions are made by the provincial government and forced upon the local authorities (unlike such changes in the United States, which require local voter approval). Toronto was restructured twice, first in 1953, when a metropolitan city was constituted embracing 13 local authorities, and then again in 1967, when the 13 were combined into 6 boroughs. The federated city covers 2441 square miles and contains 1.2 million inhabitants. The largest borough is slightly smaller than Jerusalem. Each borough elects a mayor and city council who deal with the municipal responsibilities allocated to it. The elected borough officials are also members of the Metro Council.

The Metro Council has been successful primarily in the field of major construction of public works: new roads, schools, highways, subways, and water and sewage facilities. Its accomplishments are the result of the low pressure politics of the metropolis, weak involvement of interest groups in areawide issues, lack of factioning into parties on the Metro Council, and general cooperation with the Metro Chairman.9 Even though its population is relatively heterogeneous ethnically, it may be politically too homogeneous to be a reliable model for Jerusalem.

There are a number of European examples of municipalities divided into symmetrical boroughs by a strong central government. Paris, for example, is divided geographically and symmetrically into arrondissements. Only recently were the city's voters granted the right to elect a mayor for the city as a whole. Other examples are capital cities that are controlled directly by the central government for reasons of state.

Federation of Existing Municipalities

Under this arrangement, the new entity is created by union of the existing municipalities.10 In Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), where the population of 500,000 more closely approximates that of Jerusalem, the cities retained their historical boundaries while the Manitoban provincial government created a new metro government to embrace them. These efforts were the result of city bureaucrats' pressures for a presumably more efficient and equitable areawide service administrative body. Since then, it should be noted, Greater Winnipeg has been consolidated and redivided into boroughs. Nevertheless, the original arrangement bears consideration if only because one of the major cities in the metro region, St. Boniface, is overwhelmingly French, while all the rest are English-speaking and ethnically mixed.

Israel has provided its own examples of highly successful local federated arrangements, which, while developed for a different scale, deserve consideration. The country's kibbutzim and moshavim are federated into regional councils, some of which have been suburbanized in recent years and have become, for all intents and purposes, urban service authorities. In addition to the standard governmental functions, the regional councils have major economic responsibilities as operating arms of the settlements federated within them. This economic role adds to their strength.

At the same time, their record in dealing with heterogeneity is distinctly mixed. Almost without exception, the regional councils are organized around either kibbutzim or moshavim of the same political trend or camp. The two forms of settlement are rarely mixed within the same regional council nor is it common to build regional councils around settlements of different political movements. This is most particularly a reflection of the intimacy of the connections among kibbutzim, which make it difficult for them to work with settlements outside their own world. Nevertheless, there is one regional council in the Galilee that federates Arab villages and Jewish moshavim. The development of the yishuv kehilati (community settlement) as a non-ideological form of local settlement on an individualistic basis -- a village, in other words -- has led to the establishment of regional councils strictly as local government bodies. Moreover, suburbanized older regional councils have tended to become nonpartisan instruments for service delivery to local populations who do not associate local government with party politics. In short, regional councils have done rather well in handling country-of-origin differences among Jews but less well in handling ideological heterogeneity. To the extent that moshavim are being transformed into ideologically neutral villages, this is changing.11

For Jerusalem, federated city arrangements have to be weighed against the various county-based arrangements because they require more symmetry of size and population among units. Jerusalem may be more asymmetrical in the size of its neighborhoods, in the composition of their populations, and in their fundamental interests. Jerusalem, as a "county" embracing "cities" of different sizes, shapes, and scope, may do better to accommodate these asymmetries.

Neighborhood-District Programs

Neighborhood district programs developed primarily in the larger U.S. cities during the 1960s to accommodate black, Puerto Rican, and some white ethnic demands for more control over the services provided them. As such, this is one of the few local government options specifically developed to accommodate ethnic heterogeneity.

The municipal government, usually a large one, uses the neighborhood district programs to provide a subgovernmental framework through which to respond to citizens' demands. The municipal government itself remains intact, undergoing no basic structural change. Instead, a neighborhood office is set up to manage special interest programs, to mobilize support for them, and/or to absorb public responses. Funds, personnel, and/or technical assistance are made available to local groups to initiate projects within their neighborhood appropriate to their specific needs.

During the 1960s, U.S. experiments in community development and citizen participation did initiate some interesting programs for various neighborhood organizations in an effort to overcome the dissatisfaction of city dwellers with municipal services. Relying on funding from the federal government and subsidies from private foundations, community groups could determine and design programs to meet some educational, housing, and health needs, to mention just three fields. For example, housing in some sections of New York City's Harlem was redeveloped through efforts of its residents. New building complexes went up and old ones were rehabilitated with the community board deciding on questions of location. The board also contracted for builders and other related technicians. In other cities, block associations hired private police protection and organized neighborhood clean-up campaigns. In Philadelphia, one community group developed an intricate system of health maintenance programs and services.

The level of success of these programs was dependent upon some combination of the amount of federal funding available and the political sophistication of the community in securing and utilizing those funds, either with their own people or by hiring professionals to work for them. Success was also determined by the flexibility of the government framework in allowing local residents to initiate and explore ideas. In that sense the concept's strength was also its weakness. The less permanent and defined the local arrangement was, the more it was left to citizens to perpetuate these programs. Almost inevitably, the lifespan of the activity was short. By 1973, even the political science literature had come to consider this alternative outmoded. Political and social scientists have shifted their attention toward more structured programs for accommodating pluralistic needs in urban settings.

Considering the aforementioned results, this alternative does not seem to be too promising. Neighborhood institutions of this kind are at the mercy of city hall for help in any form. In the United States, this help usually was provided only after outside intervention, particularly on the part of the federal government. In essence, all concerned were responding to the new ideology and not to a new balance of power embodied in legally defined governmental structures that could also protect and ensure the needs of its citizens. While the neighborhood district system sought to involve minorities, the lack of a permanent governmental structure with real powers of its own thwarted the system as a permanent form of accommodation.12

Jerusalem, like other large Israeli cities, has always had a wide range of informal mechanisms that take cognizance of the religious and cultural needs of special neighborhoods. These included, neighborhood committees but they were advisory rather than operational bodies. A decade ago, the city began to experiment with formal decentralization that went further and had greater success than the American experience. The city government established six "neighborhood administrations" (in Hebrew, minhalot) on an experimental basis, choosing as wide a range of neighborhoods as possible for the experiment including one Arab neighborhood, one mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood, one of the best neighborhoods in town and an adjacent very socially traditional neighborhood, a neighborhood in the process of gentrification, a classic working class neighborhood, and a neighborhood on the city's peripheries, almost physically detached from the main city. Elected councils were established in each with a professional administrator and small staff, and they were given formal responsibility for certain program areas of neighborhood concern.

Evaluations of this experiment have indicated that it has succeeded in providing better services to neighborhood residents and, to a somewhat lesser extent, raising neighborhood consciousness. It was subsequently extended to four other neighborhoods and the city is committed to establishing neighborhood administrations throughout Jerusalem to deal with municipal issues. No doubt one reason for the experiment was to find a structure that can be used in the event of a political solution to give the Arab residents of Jerusalem greater control over their own affairs in a united city.13 Its possibilities and limits are those of any submunicipal government -- citizen interest is sporadic and city hall intervention is continuous. Nevertheless, this is an experiment that has worked.

Functional Programs

Under this arrangement, existing general-purpose local governments are augmented by special-purpose authorities and departments and/or formal intergovernmental arrangements. In effect, new administrations are created as part of the overall network of local government. In some cases, these are designed to serve specific geographic areas -- neighborhoods within the city (or cities) plus areas outside. In others, they are designed to serve particular populations within the common whole. Unlike the neighborhood district approach, where the formal arrangements offer more general powers, these programs are highly specialized.

Israel has developed analogous bodies to implement its major urban renovation program of the late 1970s and 1980s -- Project Renewal. In each Project Renewal neighborhood a neighborhood committee was established whose neighborhood members were elected and which included representatives of the municipality, the state ministries involved in the project, and the Jewish Agency (the principal instrument of world Jewry for developing Israel) to plan, undertake, and oversee neighborhood redevelopment. Such committees were established in all of Jerusalem's Project Renewal neighborhoods and in all but one succeeded in improving the neighborhoods. The one where it failed was where internal conflict within the neighborhood between ultra-Orthodox religious Jews and non-Orthodox Jews prevented the neighborhood steering committee from functioning effectively.

Special functional authorities serve as adjunct organizations to already established local governments, either as units within the government or as a unit that overlaps several local governments. The boundaries of a park district may be coterminous with the county borders; a school board may be fully independent while limited to each city; a water district may cut across general government boundaries. A functional authority may serve a distinct geographic area tailored to the function itself, for example a sewage treatment district defined by topography and drainage network; a distinct ethnic group, regardless of the geographic location of its members, for example, the Montreal system of Catholic and Protestant school boards; or a particular population based upon geographic area, for example, a metropolitan airport district that can tax all potential users within its jurisdiction regardless of the municipality in which they reside.14 The following specific arrangements can be detailed.

Special Districts that Function as Independent Governments

This form of special functional authority is an entirely separate local governmental unit that has the power to tax and spend, make and execute policy, and administer programs.15 It is built around a particular "service-shed" or "user-shed," that is, the area or population appropriate for the function involved. Local funding may come from a general tax on all those within the district boundaries or from users alone. Thus the special district may overlap several general-purpose governments to accommodate its users or properly fill a particular function. Special districts are generally governed by a small council elected by residents or users that appoints a professional manager with substantial powers. The closest that Israel comes to such districts are regional drainage authorities and "strawman" school districts set up in some cities to manage school buildings built with contributions from the United States that cannot be made to governments.

Interlocal Networks of Accommodation

In some cases, rather than separate or overarching authorities, municipalities have developed special intermunicipal links to handle common tasks such as planning, law enforcement, and joint services.16 These links range from long-term formal contracts to informal but regular contacts. While they are generally confined to singular metropolitan regions, they can even cross state boundaries when the patterns of urbanization call for it.17 These networks guarantee the juridical and functional independence of a substantial number of municipalities working together to provide regional programs. They also encourage outside governments (national or state) to rely on interlocal decision-making mechanisms rather than intervene directly into local affairs on the grounds that local jurisdictions are too limited to handle them.

Israel has developed its own system of federations of cities for specific purposes (fire protection, education, drainage, and sewage disposal), which function on the same principle. Such federations are constituted as permanent separate authorities whose governing bodies are constituted by representatives of the constituent units and whose budgets are contributed by those units on a shared basis.18

Long-Term Contractual Links19

Long-term contractual links are favored in cases such as Brussels, Melbourne, and Sydney, where the urbanized area actually consists of a significant number of independent municipalities of roughly equal size and the city bearing the common name, if there is one, is actually no larger or more politically significant than any of the others.

In the major metropolitan areas of Australia, the cities whose names are attached to the entire area remain within their original boundaries, much as the city of London remains confined to its original square miles, and are surrounded by newer municipalities. Like Brussels, they have remained independent and linked, if at all, through functional arrangements. The major difference is that the state governments in Australia intervene directly in municipal affairs in a multitude of ways. This is principally because of the country's population configuration, whereby some 90 percent of the total population in most states live within one metropolitan area. The state government must function as a kind of metropolitan authority, or it will have little to do.20

Councils of Governments (COGs)21

The COG is a U.S. device stimulated by the federal government during the Johnson and Nixon administrations in an effort to achieve metropolitan areawide coordination for planning services with areawide implications and handling the distribution of federal grants for those services. All COGs are technically voluntary bodies; however, as long as they were required by Congress to make local governments in metropolitan areas eligible for certain federal aid programs, they were well-nigh United States. Since the Reagan administration abandoned the requirement for COG clearance of federal grants, most have disappeared. Nevertheless, in a few cases they acquired a true local base as useful instrumentalities for local coordination and planning. Where that occurred they have survived.

COGs have taken two forms. In most cases they are constituted by representatives from each local government within the metropolitan areas. The resultant council is principally a forum for the expression of municipal interests and the hammering out of a joint policy to meet federal requirements -- a kind of United Nations General Assembly or arena for bargaining rather than decision-making. COGs of this kind disappeared once the federal government dropped its requirements for metropolitan-wide planning to qualify for federal funds.

Metropolitan Pueblo, Colorado (pop. 118,000), has developed a second option. Because the entire metropolitan population is contained within the county, either within the city of Pueblo (pop. 97,000) or closely adjacent to it, its COG was organized to include all seven members of the city council, all three county commissioners, and one representative from each of the two independent school districts and the water district serving the metropolitan area. As a result, any decision taken in the COG reflects the will of the constituent governments and is then ratified automatically by each body sitting separately. The Pueblo COG has established four planning bodies subordinate to it, one for physical planning and development, one for planning technical services, one for industrial development, and one for health and welfare planning. They develop plans and monitor programs within the community in the name of COG, thus providing an additional measure of areawide planning and coordination.

Regional Planning Commission

These are bodies that serve multiple local jurisdictions, often crossing state and even national boundaries, principally to develop lines for comprehensive regional physical planning and economic development. They are generally not governments in the formal sense, but rather arms of some government -- state, provincial, or local. They may even be only semipublic if local interest demands that kind of arrangement.

The Regio Basiliensis, serving the Basel region (which includes the cantons of northwestern Switzerland, southern Alsace in France, and southwestern Baden-Wurtenburg in Germany) is one of the best examples of how a semipublic regional planning commission has succeeded in serving metropolitan regional interests cutting across three national states and a substantial number of federated states (in Germany and Switzerland).22

Backed by the canton of Basel Stadt and the great industrial firms of Basel, it has dealt with such problems as a work force that commutes across those national boundaries daily, the construction of a Swiss-owned and -operated airport on French territory, the maintenance of a German railroad station on Swiss territory, and many other such problems. It is a major factor in promoting cooperation in the Rhine River Valley. Its success has come precisely because it is a local body rather than the instrument of a state. So, too, its limitations are to be found in the resistance of one of the states in the region -- France -- to anything smacking of real local autonomy. A similar instrumentality exists in the Geneva area serving Switzerland and France, and more are being developed in other European frontier regions.

Functional Arms of a General-Purpose Government

Services are sometimes provided to heterogeneous populations through specialized functional arms of a general-purpose government in which the various groups are represented. The Montreal school system is a dual one in which two distinct school boards, Catholic and Protestant, administer schools. The citizens choose the school system of their choice and their school taxes are allocated accordingly.23 (The Jews came under the Protestant system by their own choice, having turned down a possible opportunity to develop a third system many years ago.)

Delhi, the Indian federal capital, has an even more complicated variation of this system, involving private as well as public initiatives. Four separate school systems function in Delhi. The one sponsored by the Delhi government is the Hindi-speaking public school system. The Indian federal government provides a separate school system for its employees' children in which the language of instruction is English, so as to include families of non-Hindi-speaking civil servants and to facilitate a basic stability in the education of children of parents who may be transferred often in the course of their careers. There are schools sponsored by linguistic groups identified with the various states of India (the state of Gujarat maintains a school in Delhi for Gujarathi speakers and the South India Education Society, a semipublic body, for children from the several states where Tamil is spoken). Finally, there is a private school system that employs English as a language of instruction. Similar, but less elaborate arrangements prevail in other major cities in India.24

Israel's state school system is also organized on the principle of public support for a variety of educational "streams," with parents having free choice among them. In Jerusalem, the municipal Department of Education serves state schools, state religious schools, state Arabic schools, independent schools, and private schools through its various subdivisions. Each of these four streams has subdivisions within it supported by the state and the municipality.

Thus the state schools include experimental schools, state traditional schools (with greater emphasis on Jewish religious studies), and state schools in the spirit of the labor movement. State religious schools include a subdivision of state Torah schools that emphasize even more traditional religious learning than the mainstream state religious schools. The independent schools are essentially ultra-Orthodox ones that provide a minimum of general education and a maximum of traditional studies. Recently an offshoot of the independent schools has developed which gives more place to general education. Jewish private schools are mostly very traditional chederim that exclude general studies and try to stay as far away from any connection with the government as possible.

There are also non-Jewish private schools in the city which come under the jurisdiction of the municipal Department of Education. State Arabic schools function in East Jerusalem, but most students there go to Christian or Muslim private schools that follow the Jordanian curriculum.

This rather bewildering array of elementary and secondary educational opportunities seems to be capable of almost indefinite expansion since under Israeli law any individual school can change up to 25 percent of its curriculum by decision of the principal in consultation with the parents while up to 20 percent can be changed by the parents in consultation with the principal. (It is assumed that these are overlapping rather than consecutive percentages, but given the accepted understanding of what basic subjects are required for literacy in everyone's mind, 25 percent of a school curriculum represents almost complete freedom of choice.)25

Functional Service Entities

In multilingual areas, separate universities are frequently established to provide instruction in different languages and to serve as focal points for group cultural development (and often as centers for political expression as well, given the nature of things). Brussels, Montreal, and the major cities of South Africa have such arrangements. Likewise, there are separate hospitals in Quebec for French- and English-speakers. In many countries, religious organizations are responsible for providing social services to their constituencies with government support. All these are examples of quasi-public institutional arrangements for the maintenance of heterogeneity with government backing. In such cases the services are formally private but should be considered public nongovernmental or "communal" in character.

Functional service arrangements offer many positive ways of solving the problems indigenous to heterogeneous cities. These programs ensure the interests of various populations and in certain cases supply them with quasi-governmental institutions that serve as vehicles for self-expression and transcend the geographic problem by servicing the target population wherever it may be located.

Extralocal Models

It has already been noted that most discussions of political organization dealing with heterogeneous populations focus on extralocal political contexts. In a few cases, those extralocal arrangements may be relevant to the Jerusalem situation. Two such sets of arrangements are particularly worthy of consideration.

Consociational Arrangements26

Consociational arrangements are semiformal, based in every case on many years of evolving accommodation among ethnic, religious, and/or ideological groups, which reflect fundamental commitment to structural pluralism within a particular polity. In the Netherlands and Switzerland, the various ethnoreligious groups have developed ways of preserving their integrities through such devices as percentages of representation on national bodies, separate spheres of influence, and independent organizations supported by government funds.

Consociational arrangements often rely on some of the specific devices described in this chapter. Their success is as much a matter of attitude as of formal government structure. After decades of conflict between Protestants, Catholics and Liberals in the late nineteenth century, the Netherlands reached a remarkable level of stability within its borders through consociational arrangements. Lebanon, on the other hand, once regarded as a model of consociationalism in the Middle East, has been unable to restrain the most severe conflict-provoking tendencies -- several of them external in origin.27 Austria and Switzerland combine consociationalism and federalism very successfully, and Belgium has adopted a federal system to give its consociational system a firmer foundation.28

Observers have noted that in many ways Israel was also built on consociational lines.29Jerusalem itself is governed by a regime that has many consociational elements, which can be extended to new groups as appropriate. Consociationalism needs time to develop properly because it requires a basic consensus regarding the virtue or necessity of intergroup power-sharing. Jerusalem itself is an example of this. Its consociational form has emerged out of literally centuries of intergroup accommodation and has been sharpened by the policies pursued by the present municipal government. It was the prior existence of tacit consociational arrangements that shaped the approach of the Jerusalem authorities toward East Jerusalem after 1967 and that made this approach a workable one for all parties, even if the Arabs were unwilling to accept a formal role in the city's governance.30

Capital Districts

In a number of countries, capital districts are set aside with special arrangements for their governance.31 In some cases (e.g., France until the 1970s), they are ruled directly by officers of the national government but divided intentionally into neighborhoods with administrations of their own. In others (Australia, India, and the United States) they are organized as federal districts. Should the character of the overall settlement between Israel and its neighbors take a federal or confederal turn, one of these models may be worth further examination in conjunction with others suggested earlier.

Implications for Jerusalem

As has already been suggested, Jerusalem has done as well as or better than any city in the modern world in the development of means to govern its heterogeneous population. This point deserves emphasis. Jerusalem's success in this regard reflects a combination of intelligent and far-seeing leadership. It judiciously utilized and built upon principles of accommodating ethnic heterogeneity that are indigenous to the Middle East and western Asia, where civilization is built upon the determined existence of varied ethnoreligious communities that, out of necessity, have had to live together within the same territory and under the same political jurisdiction. In the past, these arrangements rested upon an autocratic base, or more properly, were able to exist only within an overarching autocratic framework. One of the great achievements of the city fathers of Jerusalem has been to transform that framework into a democratic one and to adapt older models to a democratic society.

What has emerged is something that comes closer to consociationalism than to any other form of accommodation. In Jewish Jerusalem, this consociationalism has been substantially institutionalized within the municipal governmental structure. This has been less true for Arab Jerusalem because of the Arabs' reluctance to accept formal institutionalization. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate the degree to which informal consociational devices have been institutionalized.

Were the situation to be left as it presently stands, that is, were Jerusalem to cease to be a matter of political contention between Jews and Arabs and simply be accepted by one and all as an integral part of Israel in all of its sections, then the present consociational framework would probably become further institutionalized within the municipal structure through the existing electoral processes. Because this is not the case, it becomes necessary to consider how such institutionalization can be achieved under circumstances that are likely to prevail as a result of any settlement of the conflict.

The shape of the larger settlement will do much to determine its expression in relation to Jerusalem. However, it is appropriate to assume that Jerusalem will remain an undivided city and under Israeli control -- exclusive for most of the city and perhaps shared for certain sites or parts. This may mean the development of a territorial formulation along with consociational ones. Indeed, the expansion of Jerusalem's boundaries in 1967, which has led to the development of outlying Jewish neighborhoods within the municipal jurisdiction, probably makes such territorial expression necessary for the Jewish population as well as for the Arabs.

Any solutions proposed could probably utilize some combination of several devices and mechanisms discussed in this chapter. For example, Jerusalem could be established as a capital district; this would give it an organic law of its own, including provisions for extraterritorial status for certain sites or residents within its boundaries. As a capital district, it would become the equivalent of a county within which separate municipalities could be established. Then most municipal services would be provided to the municipalities by the capital district government on a contractual basis, and the municipalities' primary function would be to provide political expression for specific populations or neighborhoods within the larger whole. In addition, various functional authorities could be established to serve those communal needs that are not clearly geographically defined. The council governing the overall district could be elected on an areal basis, that is, by dividing the entire jurisdiction into districts and electing all or most council members from them.

A less far-reaching solution could be accommodated within contemporary Israeli law. This already provides that residents of a particular municipality who are not citizens of the state can vote in municipal elections, while municipalities themselves can request the establishment of submunicipal governments for particular neighborhoods. Thus special neighborhoods chosen for their internal uniqueness or outlying character could be given the status of urban quarters (the technical term under Israeli law) and allowed to elect councils of their own while still remaining part of the larger Jerusalem municipality.

Should the political circumstances change, other combinations are also possible, which might emphasize federal and/or confederal structures and relationships. Jerusalem could conceivably be reorganized as a federation of quarters or, in most extreme form, as a confederation of separate cities, united for shared municipal purposes. Few if any Israelis would recommend either of the latter two courses of action, as both would not only involve some ceding of Israeli sovereignty over the united city but would also introduce great complexity that might prove to be a hostile environment.

Rule over parts of Jerusalem could be shared by Israel and the Arab state to the east of it. In other words, the idea of condominium, which may no longer be applicable to Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District, might indeed be very applicable to all or part of East Jerusalem.

The point is that many options do exist and that, while it will be necessary to be inventive, the inventions do not have to emerge out of whole cloth, but rather can build upon models that have been tested and found workable.


1. These alternatives are treated in the literature through one or more of the following strains of political science thought: structure of governments, public policy, and political behavior. Recent political science literature emphasizes the latter two, stressing different trends depending on what is current and fashionable. Material identifying and examining the actual structure of government is harder to find in the current literature, which has emphasized behavioral policy problems sometimes to the exclusion of such basics.

There are some gaps in this survey. Belgium and Australia are mentioned only briefly. Almost no attention is given to Asian frameworks. This is because of the shortage of published material available and can be corrected only through more extensive research.

2. John C. Bollens and Henry J. Schmandt, The Metropolis: Its People, Politics and Economic Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), pp. 107-13; Clyde F. Snider and Samuel K. Grove, American State and Local Government (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1965), pp. 359-416.

3. Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis, pp. 358-64; Winston Crouch and Beatrice Dinerman, Southern California Metropolis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), pp. 201-205; Richard M. Lion, "Accommodation Par Excellence: The Lakewood Plan," in Michael N. Danielson, ed., Metropolitan Politics: A Reader (Boston: Little, Brown, 1966), pp. 272-280.

4. Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis, pp. 302-307; Daniel F. Grant, "A Comparison of Predictions and Experiences with Nashville Metro," Urban Affairs Quarterly (September 1965): 38-42, 47-48; William L. Harvard, Jr. and Floyd L. Cordy, Rural-Urban Consolidation: The Merger of Governments in the Baton Rouge Area (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964); Bruce D. Rogers and C. McCurdy Lipsey, "Metropolitan Reform: Citizen Evaluations of Performances in Nashville-Davidson County, Tennessee," in The Study of Federalism at Work, Vincent Ostrom, ed., Publius 4:4 (Fall 1974): 19-35.

5. Brett W. Hawkins, Nashville Metro: The Politics of City-County Consolidation (Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1966).

6. Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis, pp. 324-339; Edward Sofen, The Miami Metropolitan Experiment, rev. ed. (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1966).

7. Joseph F. Zimmerman, The Federated City: Community Control in Large Communities (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1972).

8. Frank Smallwood, Greater London: The Politics of Metropolitan Reform (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs Merrill, 1965).

9. On Toronto Metro, see Harold Kaplan, "Metro Toronto: Forming a Policy-Formation Process," in Edward C. Banfield, ed., Urban Government: A Reader in Administration and Politics, rev. ed. (New York: Free Press, 1969), pp. 623-625, and Urban Political System: A Functional Analysis of Metro Toronto (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967); Frank Smallwood, Metro Toronto: A Decade Later (Toronto: Bureau of Municipal Research, 1963), p. 35.

10. Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis, pp. 336-339.

11. All too little has been written on the regional councils in Israel. The best sources of information are to be found in the publications of the Center for the Study of Rural and Urban Settlement in Rehovot. A general treatment of the subject matter can be found in the Center's Regional Cooperation in Israel (Rehovot, 1972) (Hebrew). For more specialized work at the Center, see Erik Cohen and Elazar Leshem, Survey of Regional Cooperation in Three Regions of Collective Settlements (Rehovot, 1972) (Hebrew).

12. For the strongest argument on behalf of this approach, see Milton Kotler, Neighborhood Government: The Local Foundations of Political Life (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs Merrill, 1965). See also Alan A. Altshuler, Community Control: The Black Demand for Participation in Large American Cities (New York: Pegasus, 1970).

13. On Jerusalem's minhalot, see Abraham Rabinovitch, "Boroughs Revisited," Jerusalem Post (February 1, 1980); Daniel J. Elazar, "Local Government for Heterogeneous Populations: Some Options for Jerusalem," in Joel L. Kramer, ed., Jerusalem: Problems and Prospects (New York: Praeger, 1980); Daniel J. Elazar and Chaim Kalchheim, eds., Local Government in Israel (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988); Robert Rosenberg, "'Borough' Plan Resurfaces in Jerusalem," Jerusalem Post (December 23, 1979); Yehuda Yalon, "The Neighborhood Plan," Jerusalem Post (March 2, 1980); Daniel J. Elazar, Institutional Arrangements for Local Government of Heterogeneous Populations (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Federal Studies, 1977).

14. Leonard J. Fein, The Ecology of the Public Schools: An Inquiry into Community Control (New York: Pegasus, 1971).

15. Robert B. Hawkins, Jr., Self Government by District: Myth and Reality (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1976).

16. For a survey of such movements, see Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental, Substate Regionalism and the Federal System (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974), Vol. 3, Ch. 3, "Intergovernmental Service Agreements and Transfer of Functions," pp. 29-52. For the workings of such arrangements and their theoretical rationale, see the articles included in Vincent Ostrom, ed., The Study of Federalism at Work, Publius 4:4 (Fall 1974); and California Governor's Task Force on Local Governments, "Report: Public Benefits from Public Choice," Robert B. Hawkins, Jr., Chairman (Bloomington, Ind.: Workshop in Policy Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University).

17. The Basle-Mulhouse airport is one example of this. See Susan J. Stock, "Toward a Europe of Regions: Transnational Political Activities," Publius 4:3 (Summer 1977); Steven Schechter, "Sharing Jurisdiction Across Frontiers," in Self Rule/Shared Rule, Daniel J. Elazar, ed. (Ramat Gan: Turtledove, 1979).

18. There are no studies of these bodies, only the periodic reports of the Israel state comptroller on each of them.

19. Emanuel Gutmann and Claude Klein, "The Institutional Structure of Heterogeneous Cities: Brussels, Montreal, and Belfast," in Joel L. Kramer, ed., Jerusalem: Problems and Prospects (New York: Praeger, 1980).

20. C.P. Harris, "Regional and Local Government," in Australian Federalism, Russell Mathews, ed., Publius 7:3 (Summer 1977).

21. Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis, pp. 364-372; Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, "Improving Urban America: A Challenge to Federalism" (Washington, D.C.: September 1976).

22. On the Regio Basilensis, see Stock and Schechter, op. cit.

23. Stephen Schechter, Montreal "Metro" field notes, 1975. See also Gutmann and Klein, "The Institutional Structure of Heterogeneous Cities."

24. Daniel J. Elazar, New Delhi field notes, January 1977.

25. On Israel's educational system, see Daniel Bar-Tal, Educational, National and Social Attitudes of High School Teacher (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, School of Education, 1978); Deborah Milgram, ed., The Israeli Education System (Jerusalem: Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, 1985).

26. On the theory of consociationalism, see Arend Lipjhart, "Consociational Democracy," World Politics 21:2 (January 1969): 207-25, and The Politics of Accommodation: Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968). On Austria, see Rodney P. Stiefbold, Segmented Pluralism, Consociational Democracy and Austrian Electoral Politics: A Theoretical and Empirical Case Study of Austria under the Great Coalition, 1955-1966 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, 1973); Kenneth MacRae, Consociational Democracy (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974).

27. Leonard Binder, ed., Politics in Lebanon (New York: Wiley, 1966); Daniel J. Elazar, Israel: From Ideological to Territorial Democracy (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Federal Studies, 1978); R. Hrair Dekmejjan, Patterns of Political Leadership: Egypt, Israel, Lebanon (Binghamton, NY: State University Press, 1975).

28. On consociationalism and federalism in Switzerland and Belgium, for Belgium see Frank Delmartino, "Regionalization in Belgium: Evaluation of an Ongoing Institutional Crisis," European Journal of Political Research 16 (1988): 381-394; G.V. Stephenson, "Cultural Regionalism and the Unitary State Idea in Belgium," Geographical Review 62 (October 1972): 501-523; Jean Beaufays, "Belgium: A Dualist Political System?" Publius 18:2 (Spring 1988); R. Denolf, "Federalism in Belgium as a Constitutional Problem," Res Republica 10:3 (1968): 383-406. For Switzerland, see Charles F. Schuetz, Revising the Federal Constitution of Switzerland (Ottawa: Carleton University, Department of Political Science, 1983); George Arthur Codding, The Federal Government of Switzerland (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965); Jurg Steiner, Amicable Agreement Versus Majority Rule: Conflict Resolution in Switzerland (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974); Kenneth D. McRae, Switzerland: Example of Cultural Coexistance (Toronto: Canadian Institute of International Affairs, 1964); R. Reich, "Notes on the Local and Cantonal Influence in the Swiss Federal Consultation Process," Publius 5:2 (Spring 1975).

29. Jacob Landau and Emanuel Gutmann, "The Political Elite and National Leadership in Israel," in George Lenczowski, ed., Political Elites in the Middle East (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1966), pp. 163-199; Daniel J. Elazar, "Israel's Compound Polity," in Howard R. Penniman, ed., Israel at the Polls, 1977 (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1979), pp. 1-39.

30. On post-1967 Jerusalem, see Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem: The Torn City (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976); U. Benziman, Jerusalem: A City Without Walls (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Schocken, 1973) (Hebrew).

31. Donald L. Rowat, The Government of Federal Capitals (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1973).

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