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New Book: Natanel, Sustaining Conflict

Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.

 

9780520285262

 

Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.

 

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Introduction
    • 1 The Everyday of Occupation
    • 2 Bordered Communities
    • 3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
    • 4 Embedded (In)action
    • 5 Protesting Politics
    • Conclusion
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index

 

KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

Report: Bowers and Fuchs, Women and Parents in the Labor Market

Bowers, Liora and Hadas Fuchs. “Women and Parents in the Labor Market – Israel and the OECD.” Policy Brief, Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, March 2016.

 

URL: http://taubcenter.org.il/wp-content/files_mf/womenandparents_eng.pdf (PDF)

 

Abstract
This brief examines Israeli women’s labor market outcomes and how maternity and parental leave laws in the country compare with those in the OECD. In recent decades, there has been an increase in employment rates among women – particularly among mothers with young children. With regard to payment rate and length of paid leave over a woman’s lifetime, Israel performs better than or similar to other OECD countries. However, there is a gap between Israel and the OECD when it comes to leave benefits for fathers and the design of parental leave benefits.

New Book: Galin, Fatherhood in Transition (Hebrew)

גלין, אראלה. אבהות במעבר. סיפורה של האבהות במעבר הגירושים מנקודת מבט פסיכו-חברתית. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.

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This book explores the fatherly experience during the transition of divorce, alongside a study of the phenomenological experience related to the construction of fatherhood in Israeli context. It examines the perspective of fathers, while bringing the stories and interpretation of forty non-custodial fathers. This book offers a glimpse into their emotional world and gives voice to their experience of fatherhood. They describe the loss of the obvious paternal space and their renewed grappling with their paternal identity, the role, their visibility in the family and Israeli society. The fathers range as subjects from traditionalism and innovation in their paternal conduct, as they continue to seek their identity and location.

This psychological research, which deals with fathers and their fatherhood in a major junction of Israeli discourse about parenting and parental relationships during divorce transition, allows academic and social discussion to acknowledge the experiences and attitudes of fathers in relation to themselves and their families. The inclusion of paternal perspectives in regards to themselves enhances the body of knowledge, raises questions about what is taken for granted and outlines new insights with respect to fathers, mothers, children and the family as a whole during the divorce process.

This book presents new theoretical conceptualizations about fatherhood in the divorce transition as a contextual experience, one which is complex and multidimensional. Fatherhood develops in an emotional space characterized by a dialectic of absence-presence, attachment-separation, and withdrawing-approaching. It is formed by four separate development routes leading to the construction of separate identities, describing four key narratives of paternity: present fatherhood, struggling fatherhood, erratic fatherhood and excluded fatherhood.

Table of Contents
1. חקר חוויית האבהות במעבר הגירושין

2. ‘להיות ברקע’

3. ההוויה האבהית: ‘להיות אב לא-משמורן’

4. הבניית האבהות הלא-משמורנית, תהליכי ההבניה: תנועה במרחב רגשי דיאלקטי

5. אבהות לא-משמורנית

6. אבהות לא-משמורנית: פרספקטיבה פסיכו-חברתית

7. הבניית האבהות הלא-משמורנית בישראל: גורמים תרבותיים וחברתיים.

New Article: Erdreich, Palestinian Israeli Women Negotiate Family and Career after the University

Erdreich, Lauren. “The Paths of ‘Return’: Palestinian Israeli Women Negotiate Family and Career after the University.” International Journal of Educational Research (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2015.11.003

 

Abstract

Based on ethnographic research among Palestinian Israeli university women, this article explores how women reposition themselves in society after university. Continuing the research tradition on educated women’s balance of marriage and career, I consider how this balance is shaped by the political and cultural context. I show how these minority women pave paths of return that both utilize and challenge the ethnic separation between Jewish and Palestinian enclaves in Israel. On a theoretical level, the research shows how women’s uses of higher education simultaneously can be shaped by and work to change macro-structures of society.

 

 

 

New Book: Ben Shitrit, Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right

Ben Shitrit, Lihi. Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

 

BenShitrit

How do women in conservative religious movements expand spaces for political activism in ways that go beyond their movements’ strict ideas about male and female roles? How and why does this activism happen in some movements but not in others? Righteous Transgressions examines these questions by comparatively studying four groups: the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the ultra-Orthodox Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas. Lihi Ben Shitrit demonstrates that women’s prioritization of a nationalist agenda over a proselytizing one shapes their activist involvement.

Ben Shitrit shows how women construct “frames of exception” that temporarily suspend, rather than challenge, some of the limiting aspects of their movements’ gender ideology. Viewing women as agents in such movements, she analyzes the ways in which activists use nationalism to astutely reframe gender role transgressions from inappropriate to righteous. The author engages the literature on women’s agency in Muslim and Jewish religious contexts, and sheds light on the centrality of women’s activism to the promotion of the spiritual, social, cultural, and political agendas of both the Israeli and Palestinian religious right.

Looking at the four most influential political movements of the Israeli and Palestinian religious right, Righteous Transgressions reveals how the bounds of gender expectations can be crossed for the political good.

 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Note on Language xi
  • 1 Introduction: “Be an Other’s, Be an Other”: A Personal Perspective 1
  • 2 Contextualizing the Movements 32
  • 3 Complementarian Activism: Domestic and Social Work, Da‘wa, and Teshuva 80
  • 4 Women’s Protest: Exceptional Times and Exceptional Measures 128
  • 5 Women’s Formal Representation: Overlapping Frames 181
  • 6 Conclusion 225
  • Notes 241
  • References 259
  • Index 275

 

LIHI BEN SHITRIT is an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.

 

 

 

New Article: Kulik et al, Work–Family Role Conflict and Well-Being Among Women and Men

Kulik, Liat, Sagit Shilo-Levin, and Gabriel Liberman. “Work–Family Role Conflict and Well-Being Among Women and Men.” Journal of Career Assessment (early view; online first).

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072715616067
 
Abstract

The main goal of the present study was to examine gender differences in the variables that explain the experience of role conflict and well-being among Jewish working mothers versus working fathers in Israel (n = 611). The unique contribution of the study lies in its integrative approach to examining the experience of two types of role conflict: work interferes with family (WIF) and family interferes with work (FIW). The explanatory variables included sense of overload, perceived social support, and gender role ideology. The findings revealed that for women, both FIW and WIF conflict correlated negatively with well-being, whereas for men, a negative correlation with well-being was found only in the case of FIW conflict. Contrary to expectations, social support contributed more to mitigating negative affect among men than among women. On the whole, the findings highlight the changes that men have experienced in the work–family system.

 

 

 

New Article: Betzer-Tayar et al, Barriers to Women’s Access to Decision-Making Positions in Sport Organizations

Betzer-Tayar, Moran, Sima Zach, Yair Galily, and Ian Henry. “Barriers to Women’s Access to Decision-Making Positions in Sport Organizations: The Case of Establishing a Girls’ Volleyball Academy in Israel.” Journal of Gender Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2015.1111835

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to highlight the nature of the barriers facing women in terms of their participation in decision-making in Israeli sport, and to identify and evaluate some of the strategies and tactics adopted to overcome these barriers. This is done by making reference to a particular case study, the case of the process of establishing a major policy initiative in Israeli sport – the founding of the national Volleyball Academy for Young Talented Girls. The case is analyzed in order to identify how and why the goal of establishing the Academy was successful, and to consider what may be learned in terms of the implications for the tactics and strategies used that might be adopted by other women in similar circumstances.

 

 

 

New Article: Dana & Walker, The Effects of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian Gender Roles

Dana, Karam, and Hannah Walker. “Invisible Disasters: The Effects of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian Gender Roles.” Contemporary Arab Affairs 8.4 (2015): 488-504.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2015.1090100

 

Abstract

Women’s participation in the First Intifada allowed for increased gender equality in Palestine. However, the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, established by the Oslo Accords, created space for non-state actors (dominated by the Islamist political organization Hamas) to emerge and gain popularity. Likewise, during the post-Oslo period conservative positions on gender resurged. This paper re-examines the structural factors that facilitated increased gender inequality and argues that the nature of the occupation itself serves as the greatest force for gender inequality in Palestine. To develop and test our theory, we draw on original, large-n survey data and in-depth interviews.

 

 

New Book: Goldscheider, Israeli Society in the Twenty-First Century

Goldscheider, Calvin. Israeli Society in the Twenty-First Century. Immigration, Inequality, and Religious Conflict, Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press (imprint of University Press of New England), 2015.

9781611687477

This volume illuminates changes in Israeli society over the past generation. Goldscheider identifies three key social changes that have led to the transformation of Israeli society in the twenty-first century: the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the economic shift to a high-tech economy, and the growth of socioeconomic inequalities inside Israel. To deepen his analysis of these developments, Goldscheider focuses on ethnicity, religion, and gender, including the growth of ethnic pluralism in Israel, the strengthening of the Ultra-Orthodox community, the changing nature of religious Zionism and secularism, shifts in family patterns, and new issues and challenges between Palestinians and Arab Israelis given the stalemate in the peace process and the expansions of Jewish settlements.

Combining demography and social structural analysis, the author draws on the most recent data available from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources to offer scholars and students an innovative guide to thinking about the Israel of the future.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary Israel, the Middle East, sociology, demography and economic development, as well as policy specialists in these fields. It will serve as a textbook for courses in Israeli history and in the modern Middle East.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figure
• Preface
• Acknowledgments
• Nation-Building, Population, and Development
• Ethnic Diversity
Jewish and Arab Populations of Israel
• Immigration, Nation-Building, and Ethnic-Group Formation
• Arab Israelis
Demography, Dependency, and Distinctiveness
• Urbanization, Residential Integration, and Communities
• Religiosity, Religious Institutions, and Israeli Culture
• Inequality and Changing Gender Roles
• Education, Stratification, and Inequality
• Inequality and Mortality Decline
• Family Formation and Generational Continuities
• Emergent Israeli Society
Nation-Building, Inequalities, and Continuities
• Appendix:
Data Sources and Reliability
• Bibliography
• Index

New Article: Slone and Mayer, Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence

Slone, Michelle, and Yael Mayer. “Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence among Israeli Adolescents.” Children and Youth Services Review 58 (2015): 170-178.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.09.013

 

Abstract

This study examined the role played by gender differences in the relation between political violence exposure and mental health during adolescence. Understanding these differences is particularly pertinent during the period of adolescence characterized as it is by processes of identity formation and gender role consolidation. Participants were 154 high school students recruited from two high schools in central Israel (78 males, 76 females; average age 16.54), who completed the Political Life Events Scale for measurement of political violence exposure, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 for assessment of psychological symptoms and disorders, a risk-taking behavior scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale — Interview (PSS-I) for assessment of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results reflected high levels on many psychological indicators. The dose–response hypothesis was partially confirmed with adolescents’ higher reported political violence exposure related only to higher levels of somatization and greater severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Contrary to the literature, only a few gender differences emerged and these showed mixed patterns. Females showed higher levels of anxiety than males, and males showed higher levels of risk-taking behavior. Females exposed to low political violence exposure showed significantly less substance abuse than males but those with high exposure reported significantly higher levels of substance abuse, equivalent to those of males. Findings show a complex constellation of gender effects on relations between political violence exposure and different psychopathological outcomes. Findings of this study indicate the necessity for more refined examination of gender differences in psychological processes in reaction to living in conditions of protracted conflict and war.

 

 

Dissertation: Wooten, Gender Integration into the Military

Wooten, Jeff. Gender Integration into the Military: A Meta-Analysis of Norway, Canada, Israel, and the United States, EdD Dissertation, University of New England, 2015.
 
URL: http://dune.une.edu/theses/33/
 
Abstract

Over the past 15 years, the Global War on Terrorism has necessitated an examination of the military’s practices and the way that they meet the complexities of new and different types of war and tactics. Vital to this examination are policies related to the inclusion and deployment of women in combat. Burba stated war is not a setting for social testing, but the American Military must embrace the social subtleties of gender differences in an effort to meet the Armed Services requirement for an ever-changing asymmetrical battlefield. This study compares and contrasts the American current policy divergent to three other countries’ policies that have successfully integrated women into combat: Norway, Canada, and Israel. Through this examination, an opportunity to recognize gaps in training and procedural information that are most important to the successful implementation in the United States is revealed. The scientific data, although supporting the fact that physiological differences exist between men and women, were not supported in the argument that all women should be excluded from combat units. In all case studies, it was found that women who volunteered for combat assignments performed equally as well as their male counterparts without degradation of operational readiness or a lower unity of cohesion. However, I was not surprised that the leaders of the three counties observed that the successful integration of women into combat units is not about changing a culture. It is simply a leadership issue.

 

 

New Article: Finzi-Dottan & Cohen, Predictors of Involvement and Warmth of Custodial Fathers in Israel

Finzi-Dottan, Ricky, and Orna Cohen. “Predictors of Involvement and Warmth of Custodial Fathers in Israel: Comparison with Married and Noncustodial Divorced Fathers.” Family Process (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/famp.12124

 

Abstract

This study compared the levels and predictors of paternal warmth and involvement of 218 custodial fathers to 222 married fathers and 105 noncustodial (NC) divorced fathers in Israel. The examined predictors were fathers’ perceptions of their own fathers; their own caregiving behaviors and parental self-efficacy; and child characteristics and coparental coordination. Results indicated that being a custodial father was associated with more involvement than being a married or NC divorced father. Regression analyses revealed that experience of care with own father predicted fathers’ involvement, whereas own father control was related to lower paternal warmth. Lower avoidant caregiving and high paternal self-efficacy predicted both paternal involvement and warmth, whereas perceiving the child as more difficult predicted lower paternal warmth. Higher levels of coparental coordination were associated with more paternal involvement, whereas low coparental coordination was associated with less involvement, primarily among NC divorced fathers. These interactions highlight the distinct paternal behavior of custodial fathers. Unlike married and NC divorced fathers, they showed more warmth, regardless of their avoidant caregiving. Results are discussed in light of the different roles played by fathers in the three groups.

New Article: Sher-Censor, Gender Differences in Observed Autonomy and Adolescent-Mother Interactions

Sher-Censor, Efrat. “The Challenges of Israeli Adolescent Girls: Gender Differences in Observed Autonomy and Relatedness in Adolescent-Mother Interactions.” Sex Roles 72.3-4 (2015): 150-62.

 
 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-015-0445-5

 

Abstract
This study examined gender differences in autonomy and relatedness in adolescent-mother interactions, to evaluate two competing notions. The first, based on social role theory, suggested that girls and their mothers would show lower autonomy and higher relatedness than boys and their mothers. The second, stemming from the psychodynamic perspective, suggested that girls would show higher autonomy than boys, and that girls and their mothers would show lower relatedness than boys and their mothers. Participants were 122 Jewish Israeli mothers and their 16.5 years old adolescents (58.19 % girls) from middle class families residing in northern and central cities in Israel. Dyads were observed during a family disagreement (i.e., a high-conflict condition) and while planning a vacation (i.e., a low-conflict condition). Autonomy and relatedness of each participant in each task were coded using the Individuality and Connectedness Q-sort (Bengston & Grotevant 1999). Our findings indicated that girls displayed higher autonomy than boys across the two conflict conditions. In addition, girls and their mothers showed lower relatedness than boys and their mothers, but only under the high-conflict condition. These results are in line with the notions offered by the psychodynamic perspective. They reveal the unique challenges which Jewish Israeli girls and their mothers may face with respect to autonomy and relatedness, and highlight the importance of assessing autonomy and relatedness under varied conflict conditions.

 
 
 
 

New Book: Ben-Porat, Women in the Football Pitch (in Hebrew)

Ben-Porat, Amir. Cosi (non) fan tutte. Women in the Football Pitch. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

book_827_big

 

 

Women began to play soccer some time after this game was coded and turned into the game par excellence of the working class in England, and thus stirred heated emotions. The men united against them: the English Football Association banned them and its members were ordered not to cooperate with them; the male-controlled press denounced them and determined the game as not suitable for them. But nevertheless, and despite of it all, English women founded football clubs of their own and held games among themselves. Over the years, women’s soccer expanded to other Western countries, and then on to South America, Asia and Africa. One hundred and seventy-seven countries now have women’s soccer, including Israel. Women’s soccer enjoys a “relative autonomy” around the world, granted to it by national and international soccer institutions, led by men. Women achieved this autonomy through a persistent and unremitting struggle that paralleled the feminist struggle that took place on the political front, but also set apart from it. In Israel, Women’s soccer is conducted on the margins: the number of groups is not large, the budget is low, and the audience is scarce. Its status is as a leaf falling in the forest: with no one to see nor hear. And yet, during the season the players take to the field week after week, to show success in spite of it all, to themselves, and to others.

New Article: Shloim et al, UK and Israeli Women’s Accounts of Motherhood and Feeding

Shloim, N., S, Hugh-Jones, M.C.J Rudolf, R.G. Feltbower, O. Loans, and M. M. Hetherington. “‘It’s like giving him a piece of me’: Exploring UK and Israeli Women’s Accounts of Motherhood and Feeding.” Appetite 95 (2015): 58-66.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.004

Abstract

Abstract

Objective

The present study explored how Israeli and UK mothers integrate feeding into their conceptualisations of mothering 2–6 months post-partum.

Background

The nature and importance of motherhood is subject to differential contextual, cultural, political and historical influences. We set out to compare experiences of motherhood and feeding between these two countries using a qualitative approach.

Methods

Forty one women (mean age 36.4 ± 2.7 years) from Israel and the UK, mostly married or in a committed relationship were interviewed about their experience of pregnancy, motherhood and feeding. Data were analysed thematically.

Results

The experience of motherhood in the early postnatal period was dominated, for all mothers, by the experience of breastfeeding and clustered around three representations of mothering, namely; 1) a devoted mother who ignores her own needs; 2) a mother who is available for her infant but acknowledges her needs as well; and 3) a struggling mother for whom motherhood is a burden. Such representations existed within both cultural groups and sometimes coexisted within the same mothers. UK women described more struggles within motherhood whereas a tendency towards idealising motherhood was observed for Israeli women.

Conclusion

There are similarities in the ways that UK and Israeli women experienced motherhood and feeding. Where family life is strongly emphasized, mothers reported extremes of idealism and burden and associated an “ideal” mother with a breastfeeding mother. Where motherhood is represented as just one of many roles women take up, they are more likely to represent a “good enough” approach to mothering. Understanding the experience of motherhood and feeding in different cultural settings is important to provide the context for postnatal care specifically where mothers are reluctant to share problems or difficulties encountered.

ToC: Israel Studies 20.2 (2015); Special Section: Bodies In Question

Israel Studies 20.2 (2015) Table of Contents:

 

Special Section: Bodies In Question

Wars of the Wombs: Struggles Over Abortion Policies in Israel (pp. 1-26)

Rebecca Steinfeld

Halutzah or Beauty Queen? National Images of Women in Early Israeli Society (pp. 27-52)

Julie Grimmeisen

‘Re-orient-ation’: Sport and the Transformation of the Jewish Body and Identity (pp. 53-75)

Yotam Hotam

‘Uniting the Nation’s Various Limbs into a National Body’ the Jerusalem People’s House (pp. 76-109)

Esther Grabiner

 

Articles

The Test of Maritime Sovereignty: The Establishment of the Zim National Shipping Company and the Purchase of the Kedmah, 1945–1952 (pp. 110-134)

Kobi Cohen-Hattab

Budgeting for Ultra-Orthodox Education—The Failure of Ultra-Orthodox Politics, 1996–2006 (pp. 135-162)

Hadar Lipshits

The Mizrahi Sociolect in Israel: Origins and Development (pp. 163-182)

Yehudit Henshke

Review Essay: The Theoretical Normalization of Israel in International Relations(pp. 183-189)

[Reviews  of: The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, by Yael S. Aronoff; Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel by Guy Ziv]

Brent E. Sasley

 

Notes on Contributors (pp. 190-191)

Guidelines for Contributors (pp. 192-194)

New Article: Drucker, The Alliance Israélite Universelle and Moroccan Jews

Drucker, Peter. “‘Disengaging from the Muslim Spirit’: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and Moroccan Jews.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 11.1 (2015): 3-23.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_middle_east_womens_studies/v011/11.1.drucker.html

 

Abstract

The project of the French Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) in Morocco in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—to win social and political equality for Jews through European enlightenment—was intertwined with the French imperial project. Moroccan Jewish women were assigned, as mothers and wives, a special role in the AIU’s efforts: to help Jewish boys and men pursue commercial or professional careers in French-dominated society The AIU schools set out to win Moroccan Jews away from despised Muslim gender and sexual norms by Europeanizing Jews’ marriage patterns and family forms, combating prostitution, eliminating women’s traditional head coverings, and reining in what the AIU saw as men’s promiscuity and homosexual tendencies. Ultimately, the AIU helped further estrange Moroccan Jews from Muslims but failed to secure Moroccan Jews’ smooth integration into French secular culture. Moroccan Jews in Israel today, faced with persistent discrimination, largely cling to religiously based, conservative gender norms.

New Article: Olmert, Mothers of Soldiers in Israeli Literature

Olmert, Dana. “Mothers of Soldiers in Israeli Literature: The Return of the Politically Repressed.” Prooftexts 33.3 (2013): 333-64.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/prooftexts/v033/33.3.olmert.html

 

Abstract

This article discusses the role of mothers of soldiers in Israeli literature of the past decennia. The canonical Israeli literature between the 1940s and the 1990s teems with figures of fighters and soldiers, alive and dead, combatants and noncombatants, but in only very rare cases does it actively feature mothers. In the great majority of these sporadic cases, these are, moreover, bereaved mothers. Though ostensibly bereavement would appear to underscore the conflict between loyalty to the national ethos and to the family, most of the mothers who appear in this literature do not bear this out and tend, unquestioningly, to fall in with the dominant national ideology. The canonical Israeli literature, that is, fails to exploit its potential fictional freedom to propose alternative narratives to those provided by the ideologically engaged national culture. From the early 1990s, however, the role of the soldier’s mother in Israeli literature starts to change. Inspired by the active part taken by Israeli women in the public struggle against the first Lebanon war and against Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories, a new character enters the literary stage: the mother who refuses to accept the conventional gender roles and questions the validity, good faith, and moral superiority of the national ideological discourse. In these works—by Orly Castel Bloom, Yehudit Hendel, David Grossman, Sammy Bardugo and others—motherhood takes a more central role and is treated with more complexity and ambivalence.

The first part of this article is dedicated to a description of the national norm of motherhood and the way it evolved, from a psychoanalytical and historical perspective and in relation to other cultural models of soldiers’ mothers. The second part offers a critical description of the sphere of action set aside for mothers of soldiers in post-independence Israeli literature. Here the question arises what mothers of soldiers in Israeli literature between the 1940s and 1990s “were allowed” to think, feel, and do, and what they were “forbidden” to think, feel, and do.

The final part offers a reading of Orly Castel Bloom’s novel Dolly City. Here the argument is that Dolly constitutes the most critical mother of the national ethos this literature hitherto evolved. The focus of this discussion is on the interrelations between Dolly and the sphere in which she acts, Dolly City—relations that on the face of it are marked by continuity and containment. The argument of this article is that Dolly’s inclusion in the Dolly City—an inclusion reflected in the name of the city—is a parodic and challenging gesture aimed toward a continuity typical of the relations in Israel’s national domain between the mothers of soldiers—or of soldiers-to-be—and the state. The interpretive move that concludes the article suggests reading Dolly City’s drama of motherhood in light of the elusive and deceptive mechanism of continuity between mothers and the nation.