ToC: Israel Affairs, 23.2 (2017)

Israel Affairs 23.2 (2017)

Table of Contents


Book Reviews

New Book: Mechter and Maya-Mechter, Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space

Mechter, Eytan, and Avital Maya. Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space. A Socio-Cultural Perspective on Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016 (in Hebrew).


This book seeks to contribute to the socio-cultural discourse on the first Hebrew-cosmopolitan city, a discourse that may serve as an alternative to the conventional economic content in relation to urban processes. The attempt to decipher the secret of the transformation of the first Hebrew city into a “world city” will be made by examining the uniqueness of the culture and ethos of Tel Aviv in connection with universal norms. The socio-cultural discussion presents the tension between rationality and desire that late capitalism is based on, while highlighting the manifestations of this tension in the urban, local, and general arenas–both by the conquest of space through capital and in the design of and objectified consciousness and consumerist styles.

Multiculturalism and density are distinct urban characteristics contributing to urban activity based on openness, creativity, innovation and sophistication, but also reflect expressions of convergence and alienation. The individuation process serves as a central axis f or the translation of the rational subject into an object of consumerist desire as a result of the capitalist system. Individuation and the process of self-branding encourage the growth of various forms of unique and dynamic identities and styles, but hinder the constructions of relationships based on emotions and commitment. “The neighborhood community” is offered in this book as a possible solution to anonymity and the instrumentalism of interpersonal relationships, a solution which enables interpersonal relationships in the metropolin without disrupting the dynamic nature of variability and diversity, while creating a stable core, whether territorial or virtual.

The concluding chapter discusses the spiritual challenge of the big city to cultivate expressions of “Hard Liberty” following Levinas, as a substitute for the splitting of the subject and the self-alienation which endanger the urban soul.


Eytan Mechter is a scholar and lecturer of sociology of culture at the NB Haifa School of Design, Holon Institute of Technology, and the Arts Faculty of the Kibbutzim College.Avital Maya Mechter was a lecture of creative education at Hemdat Hadarom college.




New Article: Eyal & Te’eni-Harari, Advertising Food Products on Israeli Television

Eyal, Keren, and Tali Te’eni-Harari. “High on Attractiveness, Low on Nutrition: An Over-Time Comparison of Advertising Food Products on Israeli Television.” Health Communication (early view; online first).





This content analysis examines Israeli television food advertising. It compares 2008–2009 and 2012–2013, two periods immediately before and several years after regulatory, educational, and public-advocacy efforts have been advanced to raise awareness of and tackle the television–obesity link. Advertisements were drawn from a composite week sample aired on Israeli broadcast channels from 4:00 p.m. until midnight in each of the two periods. Nearly a quarter of ads were for food products, even after a significant drop over the years. The most common food categories included candies and sweetened drinks, whereas fruit and vegetables were among the least common products advertised. The most prevalent central message in food advertisements was that the product makes for an economically sensible purchase, with a much lower focus on the health qualities of the food products. Food advertisements were characterized by a very short duration and an increased reliance on emotional, rather than cognitive, appeal, especially in ads for low-nutrient foods. A significant increase was observed in 2012–2013 in the reliance on thin models in food advertisements, and these were most often associated with high levels of physical attractiveness, promoting the thin ideal. Findings are discussed in light of theory, previous research conducted worldwide, and audience effects. Implications are addressed for health and media industry regulation efforts.




New Article: Shoham et al, Impulsive and Compulsive Buying Behaviors among Israeli and U.S. Consumers

Shoham, Aviv, Yossi Gavish, and Sigal Segev. “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Impulsive and Compulsive Buying Behaviors among Israeli and U.S. Consumers: The Influence of Personal Traits and Cultural Values.” Journal of International Consumer Marketing 27.3 (2015): 187-206.





This study tests a model to investigate the extent to which drivers of compulsive and impulsive buying behaviors overlap. The model includes personal and cultural antecedents for traits of consumer impulsiveness and compulsiveness and impulsive and compulsive buying behaviors as outcomes. Survey results from 336 Israeli and 595 U.S. consumers indicate that the personality antecedents envy, low self-esteem, and fantasizing generally drive consumer traits of impulsiveness and compulsiveness, though some differences exist between consumers in the U.S. and Israel. However, cultural orientations were found to be insignificant in driving traits of impulsiveness or compulsiveness.

New Article: Shoham et al, Children’s Influence on Family Purchasing Decisions

Shoham, Aviv, Bella Florenthal, and Fredric Kropp. “Children’s Influence on Family Purchasing Decisions: An Israeli Replication.” In Global Perspectives in Marketing for the 21st Century (ed. Ajay K. Manrai and H. Lee Meadow; New York: Springer, 2015): 87-91.





Studies exploring kids’ influence have used different methodologies. Thus, it is virtually impossible to compare their findings. Additionally, most previous studies have been conducted in the US. Therefore, cross-cultural comparisons are few and far between. We replicate Ward and Wackman’s study (1972) and present a cross-cultural comparison between Israeli and US samples. The study revealed differences across products and age groups. Israeli children request more frequently products that are used primary by children such as clothing, bicycles and records. US children mostly try to influence the purchase of food products such as breakfast cereals, snacks and soft drinks. Additionally, for most products, Israeli mothers tend to yield more often than US mothers do.

New Book: Katz, Bringing Zion Home. Israel in American Jewish Culture

Katz, Emily Alice. Bringing Zion Home. Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967. Albany: SUNY Press, 2015.


Katz, Bringing Zion Home


Bringing Zion Home examines the role of culture in the establishment of the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel in the immediate postwar decades. Many American Jews first encountered Israel through their roles as tastemakers, consumers, and cultural impresarios—that is, by writing and reading about Israel; dancing Israeli folk dances; promoting and purchasing Israeli goods; and presenting Israeli art and music. It was precisely by means of these cultural practices, argues Emily Alice Katz, that American Jews insisted on Israel’s “natural” place in American culture, a phenomenon that continues to shape America’s relationship with Israel today.

Katz shows that American Jews’ promotion and consumption of Israel in the cultural realm was bound up with multiple agendas, including the quest for Jewish authenticity in a postimmigrant milieu and the desire of upwardly mobile Jews to polish their status in American society. And, crucially, as influential cultural and political elites positioned “culture” as both an engine of American dominance and as a purveyor of peace in the Cold War, many of Israel’s American Jewish impresarios proclaimed publicly that cultural patronage of and exchange with Israel advanced America’s interests in the Middle East and helped spread the “American way” in the postwar world. Bringing Zion Home is the first book to shine a light squarely upon the role and importance of Israel in the arts, popular culture, and material culture of postwar America.

Emily Alice Katz teaches history at the University of California, Irvine.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Introduction: Postwar American Jewry Reconsidered

2. Before Exodus: Writing Israel for an American Audience

3. Hora Hootenannies and Yemenite Hoedowns: Israeli Folk Dance in America

4. A Consuming Passion: Israeli Goods in American Jewish Culture

5. Cultural Emissaries and the Culture Explosion: Introducing Israeli Art and Music



Cite: Ruah-Midbar & Zaidman, New Age Values in Israeli Advertising

Ruah-Midbar, Marianna & Nurit Zaidman. “‘Everything starts within’: New Age Values, Images, and Language in Israeli Advertising.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 28.3 (2013): 421-36.




This article focuses on the appropriation of New Age values, images, and language by different sectors of the mainstream in a Western society—in Israel. The findings support earlier research about the shift in values in the mainstream of Western societies. Specifically, this is a shift towards the admiration of nature, Far Eastern lore, a search for a ‘balanced’ way of life, and so on, in accordance with New Age values. This article analyzes how, and for what purpose, mainstream advertisements appropriate New Age elements. The analysis of about 100 advertisements from the last decade leads to the conclusion that all mainstream sectors, including relatively conservative ones (such as academic institutions), borrow elements from New Age, but differ in the intensity and form of appropriation: some are interested in simply attracting attention, while others directly appropriate New Age values. This article discusses the differentiation between the receptivity of specific sectors to New Age and explores possible motivations for the use of New Age elements, such as the more conservative sectors’ use of esoteric elements of New Age.

Cite: Shoham, Separatist Consumption in Interwar Palestine

Shoham, Hizky. “‘Buy Local’ or ‘Buy Jewish’? Separatist Consumption in Interwar Palestine.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45.3 (2013): 469-89.



The article explores the Zionist cultural economy in interwar Palestine,
by studying the emergence of the field of consumption as an arena for
political struggles among Jews and between Jews and Arabs. The Jewish
nationalist movement employed dominant contemporary assumptions about
economic nationalism in attempts to politicize the economy of British
Palestine, including through campaigns advocating ethnonational
separatism in consumption. Unlike other “buy local” movements around the
world, these were not directed solely against imports; rather, they
were often “buy Jewish” campaigns waged against the consumption of
commodities produced by the rival ethnonational sector in Palestine.
Using a variety of archival and media sources, the article tracks the
development of Jewish separatist consumption campaigns in interwar
Palestine, uncovering a gradual amplification of their ethnonational
emphasis that paralleled the escalation of the Arab–Jewish conflict. The
cultural mechanisms used to attribute ethnic qualities to objects and
define them as either “Jewish” or “foreign” are analyzed with particular
attention to the conceptual contradictions in the definitions of a
Jewish product, which were shaped by economic conflicts and the diverse
political conceptions of Jewish identity. The study of separatist
consumption sheds new light on the “dual society” thesis, revealing the
deep grip of separatist approaches across multiple layers of the Jewish
middle class in the Yishuv.

Cite: Sharabi ‘Teshuvah Baskets’ in the Israeli Teshuvah Market

Sharabi, Asaf. “‘Teshuvah Baskets’ in the Israeli Teshuvah Market.” Culture and Religion 13.3 (2012): 273-93.





As opposed to the approach that makes a dichotomous distinction between ‘rigid religiosity’ and ‘soft religiosity’, I would like to point to a reality in which these boundaries are blurred. I shall do so by examining the case of the religious revival movement in Israel (the ‘teshuvah movement’), which offers a broad range of teshuvah styles, out of which hozrim beteshuvah (penitents) select ‘teshuvah baskets’, which they fill and pack themselves, according to their own personal preferences. These ‘teshuvah baskets’ are dynamic, in that their owners can fill, empty and modify their contents, while they conduct an ongoing critical ‘market survey’. This dynamism creates a reality, accompanied by a discourse, which continuously blurs the symbolic boundaries separating the various types of religious ‘supply’ sources. It demonstrates how practices and beliefs related to ‘soft religiosity’ are expressed also by those participating in what is generally referred to as ‘rigid religiosity’.