Comparative electoral research suggests that issue voting has increased and that the ability of social cleavages to account for voting patterns in most advanced industrial democracies has declined. In Israel, only the first of these generalizations holds. The capacity of social cleavages to structure the vote has been maintained along with our overall ability to explain the vote. Based on longitudinal analysis of electoral cleavages between 1969 and 1996 and on an analysis of the 1996 election, we argue that this pattern is driven by issues involving identity dilemmas that have become increasingly important in structuring the vote. Such dilemmas amalgamate policy issues and social allegiances, while reinforcing existing cleavage structures. Focusing on the 1996 election we probe the meanings of internal and external collective identity concerns in Israeli politics, their considerable overlap, and their translation into political choices.