New Article: Hagay and Meyers, National Narrative in Coverage of Israeli National Soccer Team Matches

Hagay, Haim and Oren Meyers. “Everybody’s Team? The National Narrative in the Hebrew Press Covering Israeli National Soccer Team Matches.” Media, Culture, and Society 37.4 (2015): 530-46.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/

 

Abstract

Sports media offer a unique discourse site because the nationalistic nature of reporting is often radicalized and in most cases ‘the national flag is waved with eternal enthusiasm’. Therefore, this study examined changes in the coverage of the Israeli national soccer team between 1949 and 2006 through an exploration of the identity of the journalistic narratives’ storytellers and protagonists. Our findings illuminate a complex picture: whereas during the Israel’s formative era sports reporters pursued a patriotic narrative that praised the players for their fighting spirit and contribution to national prestige, in recent decades the sports sections echo a new variety of local, professional, and gender voices that challenge the supposedly natural hegemony of national identity. These changes can be explained by factors rooted in the fields of journalism, sports, and the politics of identity.

ToC: Israel Affairs 21.2 (2015) – special issue: Israel at the Polls 2013

 

Israel Affairs, Volume 21, Issue 2, April 2015 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

Special Issue: Israel at the Polls 2013: Continuity and Change in Israeli Political Culture

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles
The Run-Up to Israel’s 2013 Elections: A Political History
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Pages: 177-194
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008240

The Peculiar Victory of The National Camp in the 2013 Israeli Election
Arie Perliger & Eran Zaidise
Pages: 195-208
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008243

‘Something new begins’ – religious Zionism in the 2013 elections: from decline to political recovery
Anat Roth
Pages: 209-229
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008238

An uneasy stability: the Haredi parties’ emergency campaign for the 2013 elections
Nissim Leon
Pages: 230-244
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008241

The political transformation of the Israeli ‘Russian’ street in the 2013 elections
Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin
Pages: 245-261
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008244

The Transmigration of Media Personalities and Celebrities to Politics: The Case of Yair Lapid
Rafi Mann
Pages: 262-276
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008239

‘New politics’, new media – new political language? A rhetorical perspective on candidates’ self-presentation in electronic campaigns in the 2013 Israeli elections
Eithan Orkibi
Pages: 277-292
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008242

The 2013 Israeli elections and historic recurrences
Eyal Lewin
Pages: 293-308
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008245

New Article: Edrei, Identity, Politics and Halakhah in Modern Israel

Edrei, Arye. “Identity, Politics and Halakhah in Modern Israel.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.1 (2015): 109-25.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2015.1007608

 

Abstract

The fierce debate over conversion to Judaism raging in Israel today has been fuelled by the Israeli Law of Return and the resulting immigration of large numbers of non-Jews to Israel from the Soviet Union. It has precedents, however, in earlier rabbinic literature. This paper traces the conversion debate from its Talmudic origins, through the nineteenth century halakhic polemic, to the present day. It demonstrates how the processes of secularization and nationalism that have affected the Jewish community have impacted on a changing balance in the roles of religion and nationalism in the definition of “who is a Jew” and “who is a convert?” It also shows how halakhic rulings are affected by social changes and how the ideologies of halakhic authorities impact their decisions.

New Article: Yair, Israeli Existential Anxiety

Yair, Gad. “Israeli Existential Anxiety: Cultural Trauma and the Constitution of National Character.” Social Identities (online first, early view).

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504630.2014.1002390

 

Abstract

The present paper extends recent studies of national character – suggesting that the Israeli case revolves around a set of deep cultural codes which constitute various empirical manifestations. Broadening on this re-emerging paradigm, the study provides a specific case study of a major trait of Israeli national character, namely existential anxiety and fear of annihilation. It does so while advancing the idea that cultural trauma sets a context for Israeli national character. The analysis shows that Israelis constantly reference persistent and endemic existential fears of annihilation. They do so while tying together four levels: the mythological predicament, historical evidence, contemporary threats and future risks.

New Article: Weinblum, Religion in the Israeli Parliament

Weinblum, Sharon. “Religion in the Israeli Parliament: A Typology.” Religion, State and Society 42.2-3 (2014): 283-98.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09637494.2014.945727

 

Abstract

Because religion has been a constant source of social divisions and political conflicts, the role of Judaism in Israel is very often studied through the prism of a rigid religious–secular cleavage.Without denying the contentious character of religion in the political and social arenas, I suggest in this study that a closer look at the usages of religion in Israeli politics offers a more nuanced picture of the role of Judaism in Israel. In order to uphold this thesis, I identify the main usages of Judaism in the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) and scrutinise the extent to which these different mobilisations overlap or crosscut the secular–religious cleavage. This analysis leads to a typology of three usages of religion: religion as a source of authority, religion as a marker of identity and nation, and religion as a source of values. On this basis, I demonstrate that the role of religion in Israel and especially in the Israeli Parliament cannot be reduced to the divide between religious and secular groups. If in its first usage, the religious–secular cleavage indeed predominates, the use of religion as an identity marker does not necessarily lead to a conflict with secular members, while in its final form, religion is mobilised as a resource by members of both groups.

New Article: Gal, Social Resilience in Times of Protracted Crises. An Israeli Case Study

Gal, Reuven. “Social Resilience in Times of Protracted Crises. An Israeli Case Study.” Armed Forces & Society 40.3 (2014): 452-75.

 

URL: http://afs.sagepub.com/content/40/3/452.abstract

 

Abstract

This article starts with a broad discussion related to theoretical and conceptual aspects comprising the concept Social Resilience at the national level, as well as its multiple definitions, dimensions and measurements. This is followed by a unique case study – a longitudinal study conducted in Israel, during the critical period (with over 1000 terrorism-related deaths) of the Second/ Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-2004), showing some unexpected findings related to community resilience, at the national, mass-behavioral level. These findings comprise both public behavioral indices as well as attitudinal measures. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time such measures are used to assess social resilience. A critical discussion follows, in which the author presents several theoretical and practical challenges to students of the Social Resilience paradigm.

New Article: Prashizky and Remennick, Gender and Cultural Citizenship among Non-Jewish Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in Israel

Prashizky, Anna and Larissa Remennick. “Gender and Cultural Citizenship among Non-Jewish Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in Israel.” Citizenship Studies 18.3-4 (2014): 365-383.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13621025.2014.905276

 

Abstract

About 330,000 of partial Jews and gentiles have moved to Israel after 1990 under the Law of Return. The article is based on interviews with middle-aged gentile spouses of Jewish immigrants, aiming to capture their perspective on integration and citizenship in the new homeland where they are ethnic minority. Slavic wives of Jewish men manifested greater malleability and adopted new lifestyles more readily than did Slavic husbands of Jewish women, particularly in relation to Israeli holidays and domestic customs. Most women considered formal conversion as a way to symbolically join the Jewish people, while no men pondered over this path to full Israeli citizenship. Women’s perceptions of the IDF and military service of their children were idealistic and patriotic, while men’s perceptions were more critical and pragmatic. We conclude that women have a higher stake at joining the mainstream due to their family commitments and matrilineal transmission of Jewishness to children. Men’s hegemony in the family and in the social hierarchy of citizenship attenuates their drive for cultural adaptation and enables rather critical stance toward Israeli society. Cultural politics of belonging, therefore, reflect the gendered norms of inclusion in the nation-state.

New Article: Acosta, The Dynamics of Israel’s Democratic Tribalism

Acosta, Benjamin. “The Dynamics of Israel’s Democratic Tribalism.” Middle East Journal 68.2 (2014): 268-86.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mei/mei/2014/00000068/00000002/art00006

 

Abstract

This article evaluates Israeli national identity and its core founding tenets of Zionism, democracy, and Judaism. For decades, demographic changes and associated cultural and ideological fluctuations have gradually pushed Israel into a national identity conflict, as multiple ethnic and sectarian identity groups have come to promote competing interpretations of the state’s purpose, political nature, and connection to territory. Continued demographic shifts, situated amid the sociopolitical dynamics of what this article will define as Israel’s “democratic tribalism,” will further test the compatibility of the constituent parts of Israeli national identity: the respective roles of Zionist ideology, democratic institutions, and the territory of the historic Jewish homeland.

 

 

New Article: Zerubavel, “Numerical Commemoration” and the Challenges of Collective Remembrance in Israel

Zerubavel, Yael. “‘Numerical Commemoration’ and the Challenges of Collective Remembrance in Israel.” History & Memory 26.1 (2014): 5-38.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/history_and_memory/v026/26.1.zerubavel.html

 

Abstract

Numerical commemoration is a distinctive form of group remembrance in which the collective number of those who make up the group serves as the mnemonic key to the past. The article examines the modern Israeli practice that focuses on the numerical commemoration of patriotic sacrifice and examines its social and ideological underpinnings. The study analyzes the distinct patterns and variations of Israeli numerical commemorations and the unique challenges that this mnemonic tradition faces given its abstract, impersonal and ahistorical character. The discussion addresses the transformations that numerical commemoration has undergone in recent decades, the cultural strategies employed in its support, and the complex interplay between national and local memories in maintaining a mnemonic tradition.

Reviews: Levy, Israel’s Death Hierarchy

Levy, Yagil. Israel’s Death Hierarchy. Casualty Aversion in a Militarized Democracy. New York: NYU Press, 2012.

 

Reviews

Cite: Talmon, Negotiating Israeli Jewish Identity on Television

Talmon, Miri. “A Touch Away from Cultural Others: Negotiating Israeli Jewish Identity on Television.” Shofar 31.2 (2013): 55-72.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v031/31.2.talmon.html

Abstract

The Israeli television drama series, A Touch Away, Jerusalem Mix, and Srugim are symbolic sites for the negotiation of Jewish identity in Israel, a multicultural immigrant society. They open a window to the sociocultural religious communities within Israel, hence creating more visibility of these versions of Israeliness on the small screen, and deconstructing stereotypes thereof, allowing for more complex images of "religious Israeli Jews." The dramatic elaboration of intercultural encounters and conflicts in these TV dramas are contextualized by the Tzav Piyus project of reconciliation, which was initiated as a consequence of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination and the painful sociocultural fissures associated with it, as well as the larger enterprise of the AVI CHAI foundation—the promotion both in Israel and in North America of an awareness and discourse about Jewish identity as a complex and diversified experience. How do resources of the medium—serial drama and audiovisual expressions of television—serve to construct identity as an open-ended process yet a social product bound by communal constraints? This analysis seeks to illuminate how television dramas bring Israeli and American viewers alike to a touch away from marginalized cultural universes within Israel, as well as from the contradictions underlying the yearning to create a unified collective Israeli and Jewish identity in a democratic state.