Haifa was named a ‘mixed city’ by the British, who ruled Palestine from 1917 to 1948, in reference to the two national communities that inhabited the town. This definition was not neutral, and reflected the Brits aspirations to create national coexistence in Palestine among the diverse urban societies.
Reality was more complicated. The basic assumption of this paper follows the idea that the bi-national urban society of Mandatory Haifa developed into dual society, albeit with much overlapping in economic and civil matters, but takes it one step further: through highlighting changes in the urban landscape, I wish to argue dominance of the national European modern Hebrew society over the Palestinian-Arabs and the traditional and oriental Jewish societies and ideas alike. The changes in the urban landscape tell us the story of Zionism’s growing influence and dominance, and the way the urban landscape was used to embody Zionism’s modern European ethos. The neighbourhood’s segregation, therefore, represents not only the effort to separate but to create a modern national ‘sense of place’ that influenced the city development.
Traditionally viewed as the “back yard” of Israel’s urban landscape, ethnically mixed towns have been predominantly studied in light of the marginality paradigm, which neglects to recognize these spaces as social places, namely as life worlds in and of themselves. Drawing on archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Jaffa, we propose a relational anthropological approach to the problématique of marginality and pluralism in Jewish-Arab cities. These are seen not as unidimensional sites of hyper-segregation but rather as spaces of creative marginality, which paradoxically challenge the nationalist spatial hegemony (both Palestinian and Zionist). Examining the everyday enactment of alterity we show how marginality and exclusion become precisely the driving force behind one of Israel’s most creative back stages.
Published in English and French, with abstracts in English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Based on an examination of Israel’s territorial conceptions, strategies, and achievements since the establishment of the state, this article shows how state territoriality subsumes ideology and political agendas and may, under certain circumstances, lead the state to negate its very self-conceptions and harm its own perceived interests. Its analysis pays special attention to the state’s inadvertently produced territories of negation, which run counter to its own conception of territoriality, and considers the kind of social–spatial entities produced by the state. It also considers Israeli territoriality’s more recently asserted goal of shaping Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in addition to the goals of controlling Jerusalem and Judaizing the Galilee and the Negev. To illustrate the theoretical assertion that discriminatory and marginalizing state territoriality has the distinct potential to bring about its own negation, the article concludes with two prominent expressions of this phenomenon. The first is manifested in green-line Israel, where the state’s territorial policies and the resulting marginalization of the Palestinian minority has resulted in collective resistance against the state and its policies, basic Jewish-Israeli symbols such as the anthem and the flag, and Israel’s very definition as a Jewish State. The second is manifested in Israel’s inadvertent creation of bi-national spaces both within Israel proper and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, indirectly promoting the solution of a single bi-national state and posing a serious challenge to the very goals that Israeli territoriality has consistently strived to achieve.
Monterescu, Daniel. Jaffa Shared and Shattered. Contrived Coexistence in Israel/Palestine. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.
Binational cities play a pivotal role in situations of long-term conflict, and few places have been more marked by the tension between intimate proximity and visceral hostility than Jaffa, one of the “mixed towns” of Israel/Palestine. In this nuanced ethnographic and historical study, Daniel Monterescu argues that such places challenge our assumptions about cities and nationalism, calling into question the Israeli state’s policy of maintaining homogeneous, segregated, and ethnically stable spaces. Analyzing everyday interactions, life stories, and histories of violence, he reveals the politics of gentrification and the circumstantial coalitions that define the city. Drawing on key theorists in anthropology, sociology, urban studies, and political science, he outlines a new relational theory of sociality and spatiality.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Contrived Coexistence: Relational Histories of Urban Mix in Israel/PalestinePart I. Beyond Methodological Nationalism: Communal Formations and Ambivalent Belonging
1. Spatial Relationality: Theorizing Space and Sociality in Jewish-Arab “Mixed Towns”
2. The Bridled “Bride of Palestine”: Urban Orientalism and the Zionist Quest for Place
3. The “Mother of the Stranger”: Palestinian Presence and the Ambivalence of SumudPart II. Sharing Place or Consuming Space: The Neoliberal City
4. Inner Space and High Ceilings: Agents and Ideologies of Ethnogentrification
5. To Buy or Not to Be: Trespassing the Gated CommunityPart III. Being and Belonging in the Binational City: A Phenomenology of the Urban
6. Escaping the Mythscape: Tales of Intimacy and Violence
7. Situational Radicalism and Creative Marginality: The “Arab Spring” and Jaffa’s Counterculture
Conclusion: The City of the Forking Paths: Imagining the Futures of Binational Urbanism
Daniel Monterescu is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University. He is author (with Haim Hazan) of A Town at Sundown: Aging Nationalism in Jaffa and editor (with Dan Rabinowitz) of Mixed Towns, Trapped Communities: Historical Narratives, Spatial Dynamics, Gender Relations and Cultural Encounters in Palestinian-Israeli Towns.
This article examines the pedagogical shifts in the study of Arabic at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, the leading school for Arabic studies in the Jewish education system. Analyzing the moulding of Arabic studies in the crucial years of educational institutionalization (1913–48), it demonstrates an inevitable tension with regard to Arabic studies: between the German philological approach and the ‘practical’ approach. In light of this tension, it shows the gradual emergence of a new ‘practical’ approach in the Jewish education system in Palestine, which was not only the result of a clash between different pedagogical methods, but was propelled by another, powerful, clash: that of the heated political conflict in Palestine. Using primary sources from seven different archives, in Israel, Britain and Germany, this article reveals that the shift towards practicality was motivated by political developments and ideological shifts as much as by pedagogical considerations, and therefore has had significant ramifications for the emerging field of Arabic studies in Jewish schools in Palestine/Israel.