Emergent Veteran Identity: Toward a New Theory of Veteran Identity in Israeli Society

Uzi Ben-Shalom, Itamar Rickover, Abira Reizer, Vincent Connelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Israeli society has seen a gradual decrease in the proportion of compulsory and reserve soldiers amid growing criticism of the military from those who have previously served. This criticism is connected to a willingness on their part to organize collective action for postservice benefits and influence other postservice-related issues. We argue that a new theoretical concept of an “emergent veteran identity” could explain this new social phenomenon for both the Israeli military and others. In this study, 248 Israeli veterans completed questionnaires designed to investigate emergent veteran identity. The results reveal that emergent veteran identity was explained by the perception of the role of the military in society, by the organizational dimensions of veterans’ transition into society, and, to a lesser extent, by combat experiences. Female veterans had a higher emergent veteran identity and exhibited higher transformation limbo. The article also discusses the utility of this new concept for the study of veterans in general and the results’ implications for threats to and the loss of military identity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Early online date23 Feb 2023
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2023


  • Israel
  • combat experiences
  • emergent veteran identity
  • military identity
  • veterans


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