Securitization vs the yearning for peace in the Israeli casino discourse

Abstract

This study analyses the controversy in Israel in the years 1958–2003 surrounding the legitimacy of casino gambling, with particular focus on how it was affected by the operations of Casino Oasis in the Palestinian Authority territory between 1998 and 2000. An interpretative narrative analysis of debates in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and in the local press reveals that, prior to the casino's opening, most of the arguments raised were similar to those seen elsewhere in the world, with opponents objecting on moral, religious and social grounds, and those in favour emphasizing its economic and tourism benefits. However, once Casino Oasis opened its doors, the controversy took on a character not seen anywhere else in this context – opponents raised concerns about terrorism, while proponents championed the casino as a promoter of peace and coexistence – reflecting a broader, more fundamental national debate within Israeli society over the country's physical boundaries.

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