Arar, Khalid, and Tamar Shapira. “Hijab and Principalship: The Interplay between Belief Systems, Educational Management and Gender among Arab Muslim Women in Israel.” Gender and Education (early view; online first).
This paper discusses the decision of Muslim female principals in Israel to don the hijab following their appointment to school principalship. This research employed narrative life-story interviews to understand the women’s decision to alter their appearance and how this transition is connected to their role as female school principals in the indigenous Muslim community in Israel and the reaction they faced both in personal and professional spheres. The principals’ narratives elucidate that transition to wearing the hijab was a matter of choice and collective belonging; it empowers them and affected their leadership style, although it also provokes others’ resistance and reactions. Findings clarify the social and personal identity of Arab Muslim women school principals in Israel, and point to the need for consideration of traditional cultural contexts, to enrich managerial theory. This understanding also supports the argument that governmental and organizational policies and initiatives should recognize the diversity in Muslim women’s backgrounds and the dangers of privileging mainstream women’s perspectives.
Haj-Yahia, Muhammad M., and Amarat Zaatut. “Beliefs of Palestinian Women From Israel About the Responsibility and Punishment of Violent Husbands and About Helping Battered Women.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence (early view; online first).
This article presents a study that examined beliefs about violent husbands and about helping battered women among Palestinian women living in Israel from the perspective of patriarchal ideology. A convenience sample of 701 married women was obtained, and a self-report questionnaire was administered. The findings reveal that the majority of participants held violent husbands accountable for their behavior; however, the majority of them did not support punishing violent husbands through formal agencies (i.e., the police) or through informal social institutions (i.e., the family). In addition, contrary to expectations, the majority of women perceived wife beating as a social problem rather than as a private one that should be dealt with within the family. Regression and multiple regression analysis revealed that women’s endorsement of patriarchal ideology was found to influence all three above-mentioned beliefs about violent husbands and battered women, over and above the amount of variance in each of these beliefs that could be attributed to the women’s sociodemographic characteristics. The limitations of the study and its implications for future research are discussed.
Understanding the underlying reasons for the under-representation of Arab women within the health care system in Israel is crucial for creating future strategies for intervention, in order to minimize the gaps in the health care system and thus improve the medical services and health status.
Our commentary tries to shed light on the underrepresentation and the marginalization of the Arab women in society in general and in the medical field in specific.
The negative impact of early marriage on girls’ psychosocial well-being is well documented in the literature, but little is known about the girls’ motivations and experiences within marriage. A phenomenological case study approach, combining artwork and semi-structured interviews, was used to investigate the motivations and experiences of early marriage among 10 engaged and married young Muslim women who married young in Israel. The findings regarding the engaged women point to their decision to use marriage as a way to fulfill their need for freedom, their wish to experience love in a culturally respectable frame, and to escape from poverty and from difficult family. Conversely, the married women’s narratives point to the heavy price and limited benefits of early marriage, in creating intense new problems and not providing relief from former problems. The regret over having not studied, intense loneliness, lack of money, and the search for a more respect-based marriage are predominant themes. The financial and social motivations for marriage found among the women studied suggest that in their decision to marry young, they were not passive victims of love or society but were rather taking an active pragmatic decision within the very limited options open to them.
Divorce, separation, and widowhood produce great psychological stress for Palestinian women in Israel. Very often family support is a set of demands seeking to regulate and reshape their conduct. This article is based on a study conducted between 2007 and 2011 with twenty-four divorced, separated, and widowed Palestinian single mothers in Israel. In contrast to claims in most existing scholarship, all of the women turned to nonfamilial sources of support to deal with family and community regulation, restrictions, and stigmatization and to acquire resources. Level of surveillance and regulation was most highly associated with socioeconomic class. The poorer the women, the fewer their choices and the less freedom they had to determine their lives and their children’s lives. The women interviewed disproportionately reported turning to outsiders, such as psychologists, spiritualists, and feminist activists, for “expressive” support.
The present article addresses the support and supervisional relations of Palestinian Israeli single mothers vis-à-vis their families and communities. It links the theoretical discussion on intersectional analysis with power relations and gender. In this article I focus on the importance of employing analytical models that take into consideration the internal variance within this social category of ‘Palestinian Israeli single mothers’ which emerge due to the contradictory social trends typifying Palestinian society in Israel today – models that examine the implications of the complexity of women’s lives in discrete locations, the changes society is undergoing, together with processes of discrimination and the strengthening of conservative trends. The article is based on data gathered during in-depth, semi-structured interviews that were conducted and analyzed with a commitment to the principles of feminist research.
Meier, Tal. “Palestinian-Israeli Single Mothers Accord Motherhood a New Meaning ‘I would like to teach my children a new way of life … I’m responsible for them now’.” International Review of Sociology (early view; online first).
Over the last three decades, Palestinian society in Israel has undergone numerous changes, reflected in the rising numbers of families headed by single mothers. This article is based on a study conducted between 2007 and 2011 among 24 divorced, separated, and widowed Palestinian single mothers in Israel. I analyze this emerging family configuration, focusing on these women’s experiences as mothers and on how they accord new meaning to motherhood. My analysis will deal with the diverse ways these women ‘do motherhood’ and negotiate with different familial players. It will extend beyond the discourse on motherhood to shed light on the current changes in power and gender relations taking place in Palestinian-Israeli society.
Cohen, Shuki J. “Breakable and Unbreakable Silences: Implicit Dehumanization and Anti-Arab Prejudice in Israeli Soldiers’ Narratives Concerning Palestinian Women.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 245-77.
This paper illustrates an empirical paradigm for a minimally-biased characterization of the internal representations of female enemy members by male soldiers in the context of a military occupation. Using a combination of psycholinguistic and psychoanalytic tools, the study examined the associative structure of the language that was used by Israeli ex-soldiers in a large corpus of verbatim testimonies detailing their service in the Palestinian occupied territories. Since explicit dehumanization is rare in Israeli official discourse and in media- and political correctness-savvy occupying forces worldwide, this study examined implicit dehumanization through the non-conscious use of spontaneous linguistic choices. Using both computerized and quantitative linguistic analyses, this study tracked a particular pattern or word choice, presumed to capture implicit dehumanization based on a trans-disciplinary definition of the construct. Furthermore, to mitigate the potential confound between fear of the enemy and its dehumanization, this study focused on anecdotes concerning Palestinian women, as they pose less realistic threat to Israeli soldiers. Consistent with this study’s formulation of implicit dehumanization, Israeli soldiers tended to describe Palestinian women’s mental state in situational and behavioral terms (e.g. scream, make a mess, piss her pants, had a heart attack, etc.). In contrast, empathic inference – whereby the narrator extends their emotional understanding of themselves and other humans to the person whose emotional state they attempt to describe or understand – was often reserved in the testimonials only to the narrator and his fellow comrades. This evidence for implicit dehumanization is then discussed as a borderline-level defense mechanism within the larger context of both individual- and national-level anti-Arab prejudice in Israel.
Buchbinder, Eli, and Nisreen George Karayanni. “Rejection and Choice: Arab Battered Women Coping with Stigmatization After Leaving Battered Women’s Shelters in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work 24.3 (2015): 235-50.
In the collectivist Arab society, intimate partner violence (IPV) is considered to be a personal and a family problem. Arab women who seek refuge in shelters for battered women are perceived as violating a cultural norm. This study focused on how Arab women cope with living independently in the community after spending time in a shelter. In this qualitative study, 12 women between the ages of 25 and 42 were interviewed, after having spent six to 30 months in the shelter. Since then, they had been living in the community. Analysis of the interviews revealed that the women described their independent lives as positioned between two poles: On one pole, they experienced stress and rejection from the family and society, which caused them pain, anger, and loneliness. On the other pole, the women experienced strength that enabled them to find meaning in their right to choose. The discussion of the study findings focuses on the dialectical relationships between the social stigma of rejection and the women’s self-transformation toward an empowered identity in the context of a collectivist-patriarchal community.
The international experience suggests that work is the best way of lifting families out of poverty. Thus, this paper assumes that one crucial policy, among many others, aimed at poverty reduction is to increase the women’s participation in the labour market and their access to decent work. This issue is critical among Arab and Muslim women around the world in general and among Arab women in Israel since the participation rate of women in the labour market is quite low and about 55% of the Arab families live under the poverty line. Therefore, this paper aims to identify the reasons behind the low rate of Arab female participation in the labor market, and based on that to propose a framework for increasing their participation rate and reducing poverty among them and their households. An empirical study, based on 574 personal interviews, was conducted among unemployed Arab women in Israel. This paper identified four major domains that affect the level of employment participation: the socio-cultural domain, the ethno-political domain, the personal domain, and the spatial domain. Eventually, the paper proposes interference policies based on these domains in order to reduce poverty among Arab minority women in Israel.
Halperin, Ofra, Orly Sarid, and Julie Cwikel. “The Influence of Childbirth Experiences on Women׳s Postpartum Traumatic Stress Symptoms: A Comparison between Israeli Jewish and Arab Women.” Midwifery 31.6 (2015): 625-32.
childbirth is a positive experience for most women yet some women express distress after birth. Traumatic experience can sometimes cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in relation to childbirth. Prevalence of traumatic birth experience and PTSD after childbirth differs between cultures.
to examine the subjective recall of childbirth experiences and PTSD symptoms of Israeli Jewish and Arab women; to examine comparatively the prevalence of PTSD symptoms six to eight weeks after childbirth and to establish the factors that predict PTSD symptoms.
a prospective study was conducted in a region characterised by wide variations in ethnocultural groups. The study was comprised of two time points: Time 1 (T1) interviews were conducted at the bedside of the women in the maternity ward of each hospital 24–48 hours after childbirth. Time 2 (T2), all 171 women participating in T1 were interviewed by phone six to eight weeks after childbirth.
34 women (19.9%) reported their labour as traumatic 24–48 hours after birth (T1), and six to eight weeks later (T2) 67 women (39.2%) assessed their experience as traumatic. More Arab women (69.6%) than Jewish women (56.5%) had a positive memory of childbirth, but this difference only approached statistical significance (p=.09). Results showed rather low frequencies of PTSD symptoms, and no ethnic difference. PTSD symptoms were significantly and positively predicted by subjective recollection of childbirth experience (Time 2). PTSD symptoms were higher for women who did not have a vaginal birth, and more women with PTSD symptoms were not breast feeding.
we found more similarities than differences between Arab and Jewish women׳s experience of their births and no differences between them on the prevalence of PTSD symptoms after birth. The results suggest that non-vaginal birth (instrumental or caesarean section) and negative recollection of the childbirth experience are important factors related to the development of PTSD symptoms after birth, and that women with PTSD symptoms are less likely to breast feed.
The study of epistemic thinking focuses on how people understand and coordinate objective and subjective aspects of knowing and make sense of multiple and discrepant knowledge claims. Typically described in terms of normative development, cross-cultural studies show differences in epistemic development and characteristics of epistemic thinking. This study focuses on within-culture variations of epistemic thinking, with the assumption that social change will produce changes in development. Arab society in Israel has undergone notable change over the last half century. In this cross-sectional research design, cross-generational comparison and rural–urban comparison were used as proxies for longitudinal social change. Three generations of Muslim Arab women in a village in Israel (20 adolescents, 20 mothers and 20 grandmothers) and 20 Muslim Arab adolescents from a large, mixed city in the same region responded to six dilemmas invoking epistemic thinking. Village adolescents were more subjectivist than their mothers and grandmothers. Sociodemographic characteristics representing greater exposure to diverse people and ideas accounted for generational differences. Both urban and rural adolescents tended towards subjectivist perspectives, and they did not differ. Parents’ education levels emerged as the sociodemographic variables most consistently related to epistemic thinking. Epistemic thinking mediated the relationship between generation and gender role/cross-sex relation values.
Sharkia, Rajech, Muhammad Mahajnah, Esmael Athamny, Mohammad Khatib, Ahmad Sheikh-Muhammad, and Abdelnaser Zalan. “Changes in Marriage Patterns among the Arab Community in Israel over a 60-Year Period.” Journal of Biosocial Science (early view; online first).
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and trends of various types of consanguineous marriage among the Arab community in Israel over a long time period (1948–2007) by religion and educational level. Data were collected by face-to-face interview of 3173 Arab couples living in Israel in 2007 and 2008. The trend in consanguineous marriages was found to decrease significantly over successive time periods, from 42.5% to 30.9% (p=0.001), and the prevalence of first-cousin and closer marriages decreased, from 23% to 12.7%. Consanguinity was found to be significantly related to religion (p=0.001) and wife’s level of education (p=0.028).
Madar, Revital. “Covered Yet Overexposed: From a Female Religious Jewish Performance to Israel’s Status as a Western or Non-Western Country.” International Journal of Fashion Studies 2.1 (2015): 115-120.
Western discourse over the Muslim veil generated different discursive outcomes. It generalized the different practices of veiling used in the Muslim world, turned it into a symbol of women’s oppression, and remained indifferent to practices of veiling outside of the Muslim world. Research regarding this phenomenon focuses particularly on the political role Muslim practices of veiling play in the western world. In that light, I look at the overt meaning minor acts of covering up have in Israel, ignored in most western countries and argue that it originates in Israel’s self-image as a western country. As such, analyses can serve as a new perspective for thinking of the relation of the West with covertness in general, i.e. beyond a specific garment. The first part of this article describes my personal experiences as a secular woman who is identified as a Jewish religious woman in Israel. The second part discusses Jacqueline Kahanoff’s gaze on Palestinian women. After this, I discuss my work with Comme Il Faut, a local fashion house based in Tel Aviv. After stitching these three points together, the status of Israel as a western or non-western country is discussed, as well as future research.
Sharkia, R., J. Tarabeia, A. Zalan, E. Atamany, M. Athamna, and S. Allon-Shalev. “Factors Affecting the Utilization of Genetic Counseling Services among Israeli Arab Women.”Prenatal Diagnosis35.4 (2015): 370-375.
To assess the factors associated with utilization of genetic counseling services among pregnant Israeli Arab women.
A case–control study was conducted among 414 pregnant Arab women who were referred by a family physician or a perinatologist to genetic counseling services between 2008 and 2011. Data was collected using interviews, with both groups ‘users’ and ‘non-users’ of genetic counseling, based on a structured questionnaire including demographic, socio-economic, medical and cultural variables.
In multivariate analysis, factors affecting women’s utilization of genetic counseling service were high income level (OR 3.44, 95%CI 1.8–6.5, p < 0.001), high service accessibility (OR 0.75, 95%CI 0.67–0.84, p = 0.001), more positive attitude toward genetic counseling (OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.27–0.67, p = 0.012) and lower religiosity level (OR 1.40, 95%CI 0.94–2.09, p = 0.04). However, when we examined the following variable: pregnant woman’s age, woman’s education, consanguinity and pregnancy’ age, knowledge level and the perspective toward abortion, no significant differences were found between the users and non-users groups.
The underutilization of genetic counseling services among pregnant Israeli Arab women was associated with the following: lower income level, attitude toward genetic counseling, accessibility to service and religiosity. Thus, it is advisable to expand genetic counseling service within this community
Yonay, Yuval P., Mair Yaish, and Vered Kraus. “Religious Heterogeneity and Cultural Diffusion: The Impact of Christian Neighbors on Muslim and Druze Women’s Participation in the Labor Force in Israel.” Sociology 49.4 (2015): 660-78.
This study exploits the unique demographic structure of the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel and their geographical immobility in order to help resolve the riddle why women in the Middle East and North Africa are less likely to participate in the labor force than women elsewhere in the world. We show that, controlling for economic variables, Muslim and Druze Arab women are more likely to enter the labor force if they live in a locality where Christian Arabs live as well. A possible explanation of this finding is the impact of social interaction among people who have different cultural schemas. Female labor force participation is rising throughout the Middle East, including among Arab-Palestinians in Israel, but the tempo of this transformation depends on various local variables, and in this article we identify one such factor, namely, the ethno-religious composition of a community.
Keshet, Yael, Ariela Popper-Giveon, and Ido Liberman. “Intersectionality and Underrepresentation among Health Care Workforce: The Case of Arab Physicians in Israel.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 4.18 (2015): 13pp.
An intersectionality approach that addresses the non-additive influences of social categories and power structures, such as gender and ethnicity, is used as a research paradigm to further understanding the complexity of health inequities. While most researchers adopt an intersectionality approach to study patients’ health status, in this article we exemplify its usefulness and importance for studying underrepresentation in the health care workforce. Our research objectives were to examine gender patterns of underrepresentation in the medical profession among the Arab minority in Israel.
We used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The quantitative data were obtained from the 2011 Labor Force Survey conducted by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, which encompassed some 24,000 households. The qualitative data were obtained through ten semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted during 2013 with Arab physicians and with six nurses working in Israeli hospitals.
The findings indicate that with respect to physicians, the Arab minority in Israel is underrepresented in the medical field, and that this is due to Arab women’s underrepresentation. Arab women’s employment and educational patterns impact their underrepresentation in medicine. Women are expected to enter traditional gender roles and conform to patriarchal and collectivist values, which makes it difficult for them to study medicine.
Using an intersectionality approach to study underrepresentation in medicine provides a foundation for action aimed at improving public health and reducing health disparities.
The current study focuses on the conception of work and higher education among ten Israeli Arab women, enrolled in an undergraduate program of early childhood education. This qualitative study aims to explore the gap between women’s career development in under-investigated cultures and career development assumptions traditionally reported in the literature. We explored the contextual aspects within Arab society that shape women’s career development, as well as their own candid conceptions of their development. The content analysis of the interviews revealed various aspects of a long and arduous journey to the desired goal of becoming an educated working mother. Six domains were identified: studies, interpersonal relations, conflicts and difficulties, resources, decision-making processes, and future perceptions. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.
Ayalon, Liat, Khaled Karkabi, Igor Bleichman, Silvia Fleischmann, and Margalit Goldfracht. “Between Modern and Traditional Values: Informal Mental Health Help-Seeking Attitudes according to Israeli Arab Women, Primary Care Patients and Their Providers.” International Journal of Social Psychiatry 61.4 (2015): 386-93.
Background: Israeli Arab women under-utilize mental health services.
Objectives: The present study evaluated the use of alternative services for dealing with depression and anxiety among Israeli Arab women and primary care providers.
Material: Four focus groups with primary care patients and two focus groups with primary care providers were conducted. Constant comparisons were employed in order to identify major themes related to informal help-seeking behaviors.
Discussion: Three informal help-seeking behaviors were identified: (a) social support, divided into extended family and neighbors versus nuclear family and close friends; (b) religiosity, divided into inner, direct practices and beliefs versus externally mediated ones; and (c) self-help techniques, such as engagement in activities and distancing oneself from the situation. Both social support and religiosity were viewed with ambivalence by primary care patients and providers.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that the Arab population in Israel might be lacking informal sources of support at times of mental health needs.