Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin against the Settlers: A Stakeholder Analysis


  • Both authors contributed equally to the writing of this article.

Israel Drori is an associate professor and chair of the human resources and organizational consulting program in the College of Management, School of Business Administration, Rishon Letzion. He also teaches in the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University. His research and publications address the interface between management and policy in such areas as regional development, work culture, the evolution of the Israeli high-tech sector, and ethnic entrepreneurship. He recently completed a book on labor migration policies in Israel.

Chaim Weizmann is a doctoral candidate at the School of Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D.C. His research interest is stakeholder management theory and its applications to public administration and conflict resolution, as well as the connection between domestic public administration and the formulation of foreign policy.


This case study considers how a minority stakeholder group of Israeli settlers blocked Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s peace initiatives. Drawing on interviews with those who served in Rabin’s administration and with the settlers’ leaders, this article contends that the prime minister’s use of adversarial public rhetoric against the settlers denied the legitimacy of an influential stakeholder group, triggering a backlash of intense militancy from the right-wing minority. This, coupled with Rabin’s failure to deal with opposing coalitions, diminished his capacity to implement “land for peace” initiatives. The case illustrates a leader’s failure to maintain adequate forms of engagement with key stakeholders. The accompanying analysis demonstrates that stakeholder theories, though incomplete in their existing forms, can still illuminate the high risk and ineffectiveness of denying the legitimacy of stakeholder groups and the strategic importance of maintaining channels of flexible negotiation and cooperation with seemingly marginal groups when high-stakes rivalries are likely to ensue.