The concentration of this study was the documentation and analysis of ways in which competing conceptions of citizenship play out in actual classroom settings. Examining three cases in the context of the Israeli education system, its findings show that civics teachers’ views and beliefs influenced ways in which they interpreted the curriculum standards and reacted to schools policies and atmosphere, even in cases where these views contradicted. Nevertheless, when confronted with competing conceptions of citizenship as presented by their students, the teachers were less willing to open true democratic conversations, resulting in lessons that did not necessarily create a true democratic atmosphere.
Jewish Israeli left-wing activists engage in a subversive affective politics when they express love for, and mourn the loss of, Palestinian life. But the affects of love and mourning also bind these solidarity activists to Israeli state violence and sovereignty in various ways, entangling them in the very forms of power they aim to challenge. Loving and mourning the Palestinian Other involves an ambivalent ethics in which the activist subject objectifies the Other, and this objectification is a kind of violence that emerges in the affective becomings of solidarity activism. Activist loving and mourning thus call into question the nature of solidarity and alert us to the difficulty of ethics as troubled relations enmeshed in the violence of politics.
Klein, Joseph, and Lizi Shimoni-Hershkoviz. “The Contribution of Privatization and Competition in the Education System to the Development of an Informal Management Culture in Schools. A Case Study in Israel.” International Journal of Educational Management 30.4 (2016).
Regulation and privatization of education systems has led to a “league standing” mentality regarding school achievements. The present study examines how school principals deal with the pressures of competition and achievements while aspiring to imbue pupils with values and a broad education. 12 high school principals were interviewed about external demands imposed on them, their educational policy and modes of operation. Publicly, school supervisors advocate a balance between core studies and education for values and enrichment. Informally they pressure principals to allocate maximal resources to preparing for high risk tests at the expense of other educational activities. School administrators and teachers, while dissatisfied with this approach, maintain a covert informal culture that concentrates mainly on external test achievements, which contrasts to their public value-rich educational vision, and undertake actions that raise educational, management and ethical questions. Placing the schools’ informal culture on the research agenda will increase institutional transparency and may contribute to a greater correspondence between school visions advocating knowledge and values, and the policy actually implemented. Raising this subject for discussion may contribute to a demand for more transparency in how schools allocate their resources. It may also help to increase the correspondence between the values and vision promulgated by schools and the educational policy they actually implement.
Organic food consumption is associated with “citizen-consumer” practice, which is an act of promoting different aspects of social and ecological responsibility and the integration of ethical considerations in daily practices such as eating. This article analyzes aspects of organic food consumption in Israel and the symbolic meanings given to it by its consumers. The study shows how practices attributed to ethical eating culture are used in identity construction, social status manifestation, and as a means to demonstrate openness to global cultural trends. Organic food consumption is carried out as part of a symbolic use of ethical values and its adaptation to the local Israeli cultural context. In addition, organic food consumption patterns are revealed as fitting the cultural logic of globalization, which spread in the last decades in Israel. Analysis of the socio-cultural aspects related to organic food consumption points to the polysemy embodied in the term citizen-consumer and shows how the actual implementation of this term in Israel is based on the assimilation of cosmopolitan meanings.
Siani, Merav, and Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf. “The Moral Reasoning of Genetic Dilemmas Amongst Jewish Israeli Undergraduate Students with Different Religious Affiliations and Scientific Backgrounds.” Journal of Genetic Counseling (early view; online first).
The main objective of this study was to shed light on the moral reasoning of undergraduate Israeli students towards genetic dilemmas, and on how these are affected by their religious affiliation, by the field they study and by their gender. An open ended questionnaire was distributed among 449 undergraduate students in institutions of higher education in Israel, and their answers were analyzed according to the framework described by Sadler and Zeidler (Science Education, 88(1), 4–27, 2004). They were divided into two major categories: those whose reasoning was based on the consideration of moral consequences (MC), and those who supported their opinion by citing non-consequentialist moral principles (MP). Students’ elaborations to questions dealing with values towards genetic testing showed a correlation between the students’ religious affiliation and their reasoning, with religious students’ elaborations tending to be more principle based than those of secular ones. Overall, the students’ elaborations indicate that their main concern is the possibility that their personal genetic information will be exposed, and that their body’s personal rights will be violated. We conclude the paper by offering several practical recommendations based on our findings for genetic counseling that is specifically tailored to fit different patients according to their background.
In many ways the Palestinian civilian is the ultimate or significant ‘other’ for the Israeli soldier serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). (S)he is the one who will be stopped, checked, controlled and at times arrested. (S)he is the one who negotiates, pleads, begs and sometimes curses the soldier. This other represents, amongst other things, disorder for the soldiers. (S)he becomes the ‘face’ of the hardship, the frustration, anger, doubt and boredom the soldiers associate with their work within a military occupation. To regain a sense of order, control and normalcy soldiers construct the military checkpoint as a ‘moral geography’ where the Palestinian is actively ‘othered’. In this paper I will explore how moral boundaries are drawn along these physical borders in a landscape of conflict, while not losing sight of the symbolic meaning of this border. I will do this by exploring the way Palestinians are made into a moral other by Israeli soldiers, in an effort to create a certain sense of order, at the checkpoint. I will first discuss the checkpoint as a site of ‘moral geography’ that enhances and legitimizes these processes of othering that I will explore next. Finally, I will discuss the way Palestinians are made into a moral other, while tracing this back to a moral discourse that is geared to establish a ‘normalized’ self.
This article considers the role of the humanitarian sentiment empathy in peace initiatives in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Recently, a sustained critique of humanitarianism has emerged. While many of these accounts focus on the ethical effects of specific manifestations of humanitarian governance, there is a significant strain criticizing the inherent logical structure of humanitarian empathy, and questioning the innate ability of the humanitarian tradition to understand ethical questions politically. This critique does not resonate with my fieldwork experiences with Jewish Israeli conscientious objectors, who are explicitly inspired by empathetic experiences with Palestinians, and interpret these experiences politically. Thus, following Dipesh Chakrabarty’s example, I suggest that provincializing the humanitarian tradition is a more productive anthropological stance than critique, because it similarly allows us to criticize universal claims and abuses of power, while not subscribing to determinism, and not repudiating our interlocutors’ core ethical beliefs.
“Voluntary repatriation” to a country of origin may be necessary to restore refugees’ rights, when only a country of origin will provide rights associated with citizenship. Yet, if refugees are returning because they do not have access to basic rights in a host country, their return is not voluntary according to UNHCR guidelines (1996). There is a tension between facilitating repatriation to restore rights, and ensuring that repatriation is voluntary. This article will first draw on arguments from moral philosophy to suggest an alternative policy to current UNHCR guidelines. Following this normative analysis, the article hypothesizes that, on an empirical level, a repatriation policy that attempts to only facilitate repatriation that is not coerced, out of concern for voluntariness alone, may fail both to prevent coerced returns and to restore right through repatriation. This hypothesis was then tested in the case of South Sudanese repatriation from Israel between 2009-2012.
Fischer, Shlomo. “The Crises of Liberal Citizenship: Religion and Education in Israel.” In Religious Education and the Challenge of Pluralism (ed. Adam B. Seligman; Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014): 119-49.
The religious Zionist community is starting to understand the place of civics and citizenship within the new Israeli public discourse, and it wishes to be part of that discourse. It understand, too, that it can make its own unique communitarian or republican contribution to that discourse, but it understands two further things as well: it understands that if it entirely disregards the liberal citizenship discourse of individual human and civil rights, of tolerance and of pluralism, it will lose its ability to communicate with the larger Israeli public. Much to its chagrin, it has all ready experienced such a break in communication during the Disengagement from Gaza in 2005. It discovered then that it had no allies in the Israeli public sphere to help it prevent the evacuation of seventeen settlements in the Gaza strip. It wishes very much to reestablish lines of communication in order to prevent a reoccurrence of that event. Secondly, it understands that it cannot seriously offer a citizenship discourse for the entire community if it offers no modicum of inclusion, of membership, and of tolerance to the non-Jewish minorities of the country. Alongside its communitarian and republican orientation, and alongside its integral nationalist demands that Israel remain a Jewish country, it must find room for the other non-Jews, even the Palestinians. Hence, it seeks from within the Jewish tradition resources of tolerance and inclusion. Only time will tell whether it actually achieves a new synthesis of nationalism and democracy, and of republicanism and inclusiveness.
Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence
Recognition is vital for conflict resolution. This study was designed to learn more about the factors underlying the willingness to recognize the pain and suffering of the opponent in the asymmetrical protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Data were collected through a public opinion survey conducted with a representative sample of Israeli-Jewish adults (N = 511). Perceptions of threat/distrust toward Palestinians and dehumanization of Palestinians each made a significant contribution to explaining Jewish-Israeli (un)willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering (R2 = .36). Hawkishness made an added significant contribution to the overall explanatory power of the model (R2 = .38). Higher scores on the threat/distrust scale and the dehumanization scale, as well as higher hawkishness predicted decreased willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering. The implications of our findings for understanding the role of recognition and of moral concern in conflict resolution are discussed.
Kalir, Barak. “The Jewish State of Anxiety: Between Moral Obligation and Fearism in the Treatment of African Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [early view online, prior to printed version]
Since 2005 around 60,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have entered Israel by crossing the border from Egypt. Notwithstanding the Jewish history of persecution, and Israel being a signatory to the UN Convention for the protection of refugees, modern Israel systematically refuses to grant a refugee status to asylum seekers. Since 2012, the tenacious hostile approach of Israeli policy-makers and state-agents towards asylum seekers has resulted in an outburst of racist verbal and physical attacks against them. This article analyses the socio-legal location of asylum seekers in Israel by examining how their position is articulated by different parties, deploying competing discourses of human rights, citizenship, security and sovereignty. The article advances that appeals—mostly made by critical non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists and academics—to human rights, Jewish morals and historic sensitivities are beguiling; while they arouse hopes for compassion and moral obligation, they are also used by mainstream Israeli politicians to justify the exclusion and deportation of so-called ‘African infiltrators’. A hegemonic ideology of ‘fearism’—which brands the Israeli national narrative and informs the notion of citizenship among Jewish Israelis—leads to the construction of asylum seekers as abject Others, who pose a threat to the Jewish state and to Jews’ own right for secured citizenship.
Localized debates about who unauthorized migrants are and what they do, or do not, deserve unfold in a culturally specific register that is deeply charged with emotion and moral valuation. Structuring such debates are vernacular discursive frames that emerge from, and reflect, a common “local moral economy.” Taking Israel as case study, this article examines six elements of the country’s local moral economy – biopolitical logic, historical memory, political emotion, popularized religion, an ideology of “fruitful multiplication,” and hasbara (“public diplomacy”/propaganda) – and explores their impact on public debates about unauthorized and irregular forms of migration. Here, as elsewhere, conventionalized distinctions that frame much migration scholarship – e.g. “economic” vs. “political” migrants, “migrant workers” vs. “refugees,” even the terms “authorized” and “unauthorized” themselves – bear but limited salience. Migration researchers who hope to influence local policy debates must recognize the weight and influence of local moral economies, and the chasms that divide vernacular from conventionalized frames. Achieving this sort of nuanced understanding is, at root, an ethnographic challenge.
The main question raised by the notion of a global ethic of care is one of how care is to be extended into ever larger spaces. Is it possible to go beyond conventions that attempt to limit harm to extending care, even to those who pose a potential threat of harm? The article begins with an analysis of one prominent, but potentially problematic, argument by Avishai Margalit about why the notion of a specifically global ethic of care is difficult in practice. Like the feminist arguments for a global ethic of care, Margait highlights the importance of the particular or specific other, but also highlights the problem that care for the specific other – and identification of that other – is exclusionary. While his discussion of the potential for a global memory, based on the Holocaust, should provide a way out of the problem, the case of Israel/Palestine reveals a paradox in so far as the memory of the Holocaust has tended to block out the memory of Al Nakba (the catastrophe), the more particularized memory of Palestinians. The second section moves to an exploration of memory, identity and care as they relate to Israel/Palestine. Having revealed the paradox, the third section explores the feminist argument about an ethic of care in more depth, asking to what extent it provides a way out of the paradox.
In Conscientious Objectors in Israel, Erica Weiss examines the lives of Israelis who have refused to perform military service for reasons of conscience. Based on long-term fieldwork, this ethnography chronicles the personal experiences of two generations of Jewish conscientious objectors as they grapple with the pressure of justifying their actions to the Israeli state and society—often suffering severe social and legal consequences, including imprisonment.
While most scholarly work has considered the causes of animosity and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Conscientious Objectors in Israel examines how and under what circumstances one is able to refuse to commit acts of violence in the midst of that conflict. By exploring the social life of conscientious dissent, Weiss exposes the tension within liberal citizenship between the protection of individual rights and obligations of self-sacrifice. While conscience is a strong cultural claim, military refusal directly challenges Israeli state sovereignty. Weiss explores conscience as a political entity that sits precariously outside the jurisdictional bounds of state power. Through the lens of Israeli conscientious objection, Weiss looks at the nature of contemporary citizenship, examining how the expectations of sacrifice shape the politics of both consent and dissent. In doing so, she exposes the sacrificial logic of the modern nation-state and demonstrates how personal crises of conscience can play out on the geopolitical stage.
Erica Weiss teaches anthropology at Tel Aviv University.
Ethnic conflicts often involve a delegitimation of the rival ethnic community and its national aspirations. This, I suggest, can impel the community in question to legitimate its politics through ethical principles, which in turn may affect its policies. An abiding non-recognition of the ethnonational movement from within and without may engender ethical transformation and policy reorientation. Empirically, I trace the emergence, evolvement and possible effects of the Zionist ‘Iron Wall’ ethics. The original concept comprised the horizon of Arab recognition and peace, the strategy of containment, and the moral pillars of reciprocal self-determination and the lesser injustice. Iron Wall ethics, while constantly challenged, predominated much of Zionism’s history, culminating in the 1990s peace process. However, in the wake of the Second Palestinian Intifada, a prevailing assertion that the Arabs would never accept Israel’s right to exist has undermined the Iron Wall’s original ideals, rewriting its strategic prescription.
While the academic study of counterterrorism has gained momentum in recent years, it still suffers from major theoretical weaknesses. One of the most prominent shortcomings is an absence of theories that can effectively explain the factors that shape the counterterrorism policies of democratic regimes. The present study attempts to fill this theoretical void in two ways. First, it proposes an analytical framework for a classification of counterterrorism policies. Second, it presents a theoretical framework that strives to uncover the factors that have influenced the struggle against domestic terrorism in democratic regimes. The analyses, which have used a unique and comprehensive dataset that documents counterterrorism policies in eighty-three democracies, show that the robustness of the regime’s democratic foundations as well as the symbolic effect of terrorism are major forces in shaping the democratic response to it, while the direct impact of terrorism is less influential than assumed in the literature.