New Article: Weiss, How a Gentler Israeli Military Prevents Organized Resistance

Weiss, Erica. “Incentivized Obedience: How a Gentler Israeli Military Prevents Organized Resistance.” American Anthropologist 118.1 (2016): 91-103.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aman.12501
 

Abstract

In this article, I offer an ethnographic examination of neoliberal techniques of control through absence by the Israeli military, the state institution most associated with discipline, indoctrination, and direct coercion. I highlight the ways that the apparent withdrawal of the state from practices of indoctrination and the punishment of conscientious objectors are accompanied by a shift in recruitment and training that emphasizes self-advancement and social mobility above national and ideological commitments. While in the past the Israeli state and military focused exclusively on shaping self-sacrificing citizens, today it invests a great deal of its effort in structuring the calculated choices of self-interested individuals toward favorable outcomes. I explore the uneven but strategic deployment of incentivized governance and consider some of the effects of these techniques for the meaning of engaged citizenship and the politics of state violence in a militarized society. Further, I demonstrate that the lightening of disciplinary sanctions in favor of individual freedom is an effective form of weakening dissent and that it confounds efforts to constitute organized resistance to militarism, leaving activists floundering to find effective ways to express their political concerns.

 

 

 

New Book: Hever, Suddenly the Sight of War

Hever, Hannan. Suddenly, the Sight of War. Violence and Nationalism in Hebrew Poetry in the 1940s. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

 Hever

Suddenly, the Sight of War is a genealogy of Hebrew poetry written in pre-state Israel between the beginning of World War II and the War of Independence in 1948. In it, renowned literary scholar Hannan Hever sheds light on how the views and poetic practices of poets changed as they became aware of the extreme violence in Europe toward the Jews.

In dealing with the difficult topics of the Shoah, Natan Alterman’s 1944 publication of The Poems of the Ten Plagues proved pivotal. His work inspired the next generation of poets like Haim Guri, as well as detractors like Amir Gilboa. Suddenly, the Sight of War also explores the relations between the poetry of the struggle for national independence and the genre of war-reportage, uniquely prevalent at the time. Hever concludes his genealogy with a focus on the feminine reaction to the War of Independence showing how women writers such as Lea Goldberg and Yocheved Bat-Miryam subverted war poetry at the end of the 1940s. Through the work of these remarkable poets, we learn how a culture transcended seemingly unspeakable violence.

 

Table of Contents

Part I: Hebrew Symbolist Poetry During World War II
1. “The Real Has Become a Symbol”
2. The Dispute over War Poetry
3. Criticism of Nationalism Violence
4. Reading Nationalist Poetry Critically
5. Nationalism Anthologized
6. The Living-Dead in Joy of the Poor
7. Revence on a Nationalist Scale
8. Leah Goldberg Writes War Poetry
9. The Duality of the Symbolist Woman Poet
10. The Living-Dead and the Female Body
11. Amir Gilboa: Boy Poet

Part II: Historical Analogy and National Allegory During the Holocaust
12. A Surprising Moral Judgment
13. The Uncommon Stance of a Major Poet
14. Critical Reception
15. A Postnationalist Reading
16. A Symbol, Not an Allegory
17. Allegory in The Poems of the Plagues of Egypt versus Symbolism in Joy of the Poor
18. Allegory as a Nonhegemonic Stance
19. Alterman and the Memory of the Holocaust
20. The Father-Son Strategy
21. Blind Vengeance
22. Breaking the Cycle of Crime and Punishment
23. History of the Defeated

Part III: Symbols of Death in the National War for Independence
26. Return of the Hegemonic Symbol
27. The Living-Dead in the Independence War
28. Amir Gilboa and the Subversion of the Symbol
29. Gilboa versus the Metaphor of the Living-Dead
30. Poets as Reporters
31. Sorrow Petrified into Symbols
32. Hegemonic Strategies
33. From Reportage to Lyric
34. Women Write of Fallen Soldiers as Flesh and Blood
35. In the Service of National Subjectivity
36. Women and the Metaphor of the Living-Dead
37. Criticism of the Living-Dead Metaphor
38. The Authority and Power of Women
39. Popular versus Canonical Mourning
40. The Secrets and Power of Women

Conclusion
Index

 

HANNAN HEVER is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at Yale University. He is the author of several books, including Producing the Modern Hebrew Canon.

 

 

 

New Article: Rosman-Stollman & Israeli, Transition of the Israeli Soldier’s Media Image from the Collective to an Individual

Rosman-Stollman, Elisheva, and Zipi Israeli. “‘Our Forces’ Become Alexei, Yuval and Liran: The Transition of the Israeli Soldier’s Media Image from the Collective to an Individual.” Res Militaris 5.2 (2015).

 
URL: http://resmilitaris.net/ressources/10223/04/res_militaris_article_rosman-stollman___israeli_our_forces_become_alexei__yuval_and_liran.pdf [PDF]
 
Extract

This article will look at the complex idea of identity and examine the transition from collective to individual representation through the media image of soldiers in Israel. Soldiers, and the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in general, enjoy a uniquely central position in Israeli society, as will be described at length below. Civil-military scholars in Israel agree that soldiers are a source of public pride and national ethos. Few images in Israel attract as much public attention as soldiers do. For this reason, examining the identity of soldiers is telling of social trends in Israeli society at large and can serve as a litmus test for more general changes in Israeli identity.

 

 

 

New Book: Sasley and Waller, Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society

Sasley, Brent E., and Harold M. Waller. Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

 
9780199335060
 

This is the first textbook on Israel to utilize a historical-sociological approach, telling the story of Israeli politics rather than simply presenting a series of dry facts and figures. The book emphasizes six specific dimensions of the conduct of Israeli politics: the weight of historical processes, the struggle between different groups over how to define the country’s identity, changing understandings of Zionism, a changing political culture, the influence of the external threat environment, and the inclusive nature of the democratic process. These themes offer students a framework to use for understanding contemporary political events within the country. Politics in Israel also includes several chapters on topics not previously addressed in competing texts, including historical conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism in Israel, the politics of the Arab minority, and interest groups and political protest.

 

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION
Chapter 1: Israel in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Studying Israel
Israel in a Comparative Framework
Major Themes of the Book
A Note on Terminology
 
PART I: HISTORICAL PROCESSES
Chronology of Key Events
Chapter 2: Zionism and the Origins of Israel
Jewish History before Zionism
The Jewish Predicament in the 19th Century
The Founding of the Zionist Movement
Implications of Zionism
Herzl’s Path to Zionism
Organizing the Zionist Movement
Zionist Ideologies
The Palestine Mandate
Summary
 
Chapter 3: Yishuv Politics during the Mandate Period
Constructing a Jewish Society
Development of a Party System
Conflict between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine
Deteriorating Zionist-British Relations
The End of the Mandate
The Mandate Period in Perspective
Summary
 
Chapter 4: State Building After 1948
Mamlachtiut
The Political Arena
Defense
Education
Economy
Personal Status Issues
Other State-Building Efforts
Summary
 
PART II: ISRAELI SOCIETY
Chapter 5: Political Culture and Demography

The Pre-State Period
Foundational Values of the State
Changes since 1967
From Collectivism to Individualism
Political Culture in the Arab Community
Demography
Summary
 
Chapter 6: Religion and Politics
Religion and the Idea of a Jewish State
Setting the Parameters of the Religion-State Relationship
Growing Involvement in Politics
Issues in Religion-State Relations after 2000
Religious Parties and Coalition Politics
Summary
 
Chapter 7: The Politics of the Arab Minority
What’s in a Name?
Changing Politics of the Community
Jewish Attitudes toward the Arab Minority
Arab Leaders and the Arab Public
Voter turnout
Sayed Kashua as Barometer?
Summary
 
PART III: THE POLITICAL PROCESS
Chapter 8: The Electoral System

The Development of an Electoral System
Election Laws
Parties and Lists
Electoral Reforms
Summary
 
Chapter 9: Political Parties and the Party System
Party Clusters
Leftist Parties
Rightist Parties
Religious Parties
Arab Parties
Center or “Third” Parties
Ethnic or Special Issues Parties
Party Organization
Summary
 
Chapter 10: Voting Patterns
Four Main Issues
Demographic Factors
Voter Turnout
Electoral Trends
Summary
 
Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Political Protest
Changing Access in the Israeli Political System
Interest Groups
Political Protest
Summary
 
PART IV: INSTITUTIONS
Chapter 12: The Knesset

Structure of the Knesset
Legal Aspects
Knesset Members
Functions and Powers of the Knesset
Relationship to the Government
Summary
 
Chapter 13: The Government
The Government at the Center of the System
Powers of the Government
Forming a Government
Maintaining and Running a Government
Relations with the Knesset
The President of the State
Summary
 
Chapter 14: The Judiciary and the Development of Constitutional Law
The Judicial System
Structure of the Court System
The Religious Court System
The Attorney General
Basic Laws: A Constitution in the Making?
Interpreting the Constitution
Summary
 

PART V: POLITICS AND POLICYMAKING
Chapter 15: Political Economy

Ideas about Economic Development in the Yishuv
A State(ist) Economy
Likud and the Free Market
Structural Weaknesses
Summary
 
Chapter 16: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Three Levels of Threat Perception
Israel’s Threat Environment
Hawks and Doves in the Political System
The Defense Establishment
Public Opinion
Summary
 
PART VI: THE TRANSFORMATiON OF ISRAELI POLITICS
Chapter 17: The Changing Political Arena
A More Complex Society
An Economic Transformation
Transformation of the Security Situation
The Israeli-Palestinian Relationship
Dampening of Ideology
Political Culture and the Party System
The Passing of a Heroic Generation
A More Consequential Arab Sector
The Transformation of the Judiciary
Change versus Continuity
 
Chapter 18: Confronting the Meaning of a Jewish State
The Political Question: What is Jewish and Democratic?
The Social Question: Who Belongs?
The Academic Question: Whose Historiography?
Conclusion
 
Appendices
Glossary
Bibliography

 

BRENT E. SASLEY is Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Texas at Arlington.
HAROLD M. WALLER is Professor of Political Science at McGill University.

New Article: Mosco, Noga & Atzaba-Poria, Socialization Goals of Mothers and Fathers From the Bedouin Society of the Negev

Mosco, Noga, and Naama Atzaba-Poria. “In Search of ‘the Bedouin Adaptive Adult’. Socialization Goals of Mothers and Fathers From the Bedouin Society of the Negev.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022022115610632

 

Abstract

The Bedouins of the Negev are a unique minority group living in southern Israel. They are known to be a formerly nomadic society characterized by tribal collectivism. The purpose of this study was to improve the understanding of the broad context in which parenting and child development take place in Bedouin society by exploring the images Bedouin parents have of the adults they wish their children to become (the adaptive adult). We explored the images of the adaptive adult as expressed by parents’ ratings of individualistic and collectivistic socialization goals (SGs), while also examining the eco-cultural factors that may be related to these images. Specifically, we examined the relations between SG preferences and parental acculturation attitude, parental education, and child gender. Participants included 65 Bedouin mothers and 30 Bedouin fathers. Parents completed the Acculturation Questionnaire and the Socialization Goals Rating Task. Results indicated that mothers who had higher education and those who had higher levels of contact and participation in Israeli Jewish culture preferred more individualistic SGs over collectivistic SGs for their children. Furthermore, acculturation level was a stronger predictor of maternal SGs than level of education. Contrary to mothers, fathers’ SG preferences were found to be related only to their level of education and not to their acculturation levels. Finally, both mothers and fathers preferred individualistic SGs for their sons and collectivistic SGs for their daughters. The links between SG preferences and the factors of parental acculturation, parental education, and child gender are discussed, and implications are proposed.

 

 

New Article: Kaplan & Werczberger, Jewish New Age and the Middle Class

Kaplan, Dana, and Rachel Werczberger. “Jewish New Age and the Middle Class: Jewish Identity Politics in Israel under Neoliberalism.” Sociology (early view; online first).

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038515595953

 

Abstract
This article asks why middle-class Israeli seculars have recently begun to engage with Jewish religiosity. We use the case of the Jewish New Age (JNA) as an example of the middle class’s turn from a nationalised to a spiritualised version of Judaism. We show, by bringing together the sociology of religion’s interest in emerging spiritualities and cultural sociology’s interest in social class, how after Judaism was deemed socially significant in identity-based struggles for recognition, Israeli New Agers started culturalising and individualising Jewish religiosity by constructing it in a spiritual, eclectic, emotional and experiential manner. We thus propose that what may be seen as cultural and religious pluralism is, in fact, part of a broader system of class reproduction.

 

 

New Article: Sharabi, Social Changes and Their Impact on Work Outcomes

Sharabi, Moshe. “Social Changes in Israeli Society and Their Impact on the Importance of Work Outcomes.” Social Change 45.1 (2015): 81-94.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0049085714561842

 

Abstract

Over the last 30 years, Israeli society has undergone dramatic social, political and economic changes, and this study examines changes in the importance of the valued work outcomes between 1981 and 2006. Results are reported for cross-sectional studies conducted in 1981 (n = 973) and 2006 (n = 909), which were drawn from representative samples of the Israeli workforce. The samples allow us to examine the cohort effect/generational differences and the ageing effect. The findings reveal substantial differences in work outcome importance over the course of time. Between 1981 and 2006, there was a decrease in the importance of the intrinsic outcome of interest and the social outcome of serving society while the importance of the extrinsic outcomes of income, status and prestige increased. This trend reflects the transformation from a collectivist and altruistic society to an individualist and materialistic society, and can be explained by the generational/cohort effect and ageing effect. The changes in work outcomes over the course of time are explained by political, social and economic factors.

Conference Paper: Berkovitch & Manor, Grandparents Care Work in a Neo Liberal Era

Berkovitch, Nitza, and Shlomit Manor. “‘We Must Help Them As Much As We Can’: Grandparents Care Work in a Neo Liberal Era.” Inequality in the 21st Century, LSE, London, July 4, 2015, 8:30am.

 

URL: https://sase.confex.com/sase/2015am/webprogram/Paper2416.html

 

Abstract

Similar to many other countries, the Israeli family has undergone major changes in the last few decades, chief among these are processes of individualization and the emergence of “new forms of families” or postmodern families. However, the Israeli family—traditional or new—still plays a central role in public life and in the lives of individuals from all social groups. In this paper we focus on grandparents and grandparental child care within these changing configurations of the family.

In addition to cultural factors, the care provided by grandparents, is also influenced by the “new economy”. In the wake of globalization and neo liberalization, we have witnessed increasing demands on professionals – both in term of their hours and availability. There has also been a rise in the number of workers in hourly-waged “precarious” or “bad jobs” with little to no flexibility. These trends coupled with the growing numbers of working mothers with young children have resulted in a “care deficit” and a growing demand for child care.  In a familist society, such as Israel, this is translated into the young parents’ expectations that their parents, the grandparents, will help shoulder the care work.

Based on in-depth interviews of 32 Jewish retirees, men and women with heterogeneous class backgrounds, we examine how economic forces and cultural factors have shape gendered grandparents’ care practices and meanings. Though both men and women feel that grandparenthood is an important and central aspect in their lives, they still grandparent differently. Whereas women tend to perceive taking care of their grandchildren as a continuation of their role as mothers, helping adult children juggle between work and family, for men fatherhood continues by carrying on their “provider” role and assisting their children financially. These men “slide” easily into the grandfather role without much internal deliberation, whereas women are much more likely to debate among themselves about what constitutes “a good grandmother” and what kind of grandmother they are or would like to be. They oscillate between the individualistic cultural imperative of “it’s me time” and the motherly imperative that, in the Israeli context, never ends.

This gendered perception of grandparenting has two interrelated implications. One, it tends to reproduce the gendered division of care work both among the grandparents and the young couples. It is most often the grandmother who takes responsibility, though the grandfather might tag along. Moreover, the care grandparents provide is usually understood in terms of helping the young mother (daughter or daughter-in-law) more than the father. Two, this emerging Israeli version of “two- person career” (Papanek 1973) family where the (house)wife, who now works full- time, is replaced by care-on-demand grandmothers enables employers to place increasing demands on workers’ time and commitments, assuming that every worker (with family responsibilities) has someone at home to help with domestic care work. Thus, neoliberal labor market practices appear to be operating in tandem with and are maintained by gendered moral rationalities, which are based on love, commitment and an ideology of the “good mother”.

 

ToC: Israel Studies Review 29.2 (2014): New Age Culture in Israel

Guest Editors’ Introduction: New Age Culture in Israel
pp. 1-16
Authors: Werczberger, Rachel; Huss, Boaz

Articles

This article focuses on the concept of identity by juxtaposing New Age philosophy and nationalism in the Israeli context. Based on my qualitative research, I deconstruct the Israeli New Age discourse on ethno-national identity and expose two approaches within this discourse. The more common one is the belief held by most Israelis, according to which ethno-national identity is a fundamental component of one’s self. A second and much less prevalent view resembles New Age ideology outside Israel and conceives of ethno-national identities as a false social concept that separate people rather than unite them. My findings highlight the limits of New Age ideology as an alternative to the hegemonic culture in Israel. The difficulty that Israeli New Agers find in divorcing hegemonic conceptualizations demonstrates the centrality and power of ethno-national identity in Israel.
In this article I examine eschatological beliefs and practices among channels in Israel and abroad, and show that they demonstrate an avoidance of traditional, group-oriented political action, and an embrace of alternative, spiritual action performed individually. This is linked to Israel’s shift to a neo-liberal economy and culture in the last few decades, where self-accountability has become the norm. Channeling teaches an extreme version of self-divinity, claiming that a person creates all aspects of his or her life and objecting to outside authority and regulation. It believes in a coming of a New Age of light and that the means to achieve it are personal quests for individual empowerment, which are anticipated to affect the whole world via the “virtual aggregate group,” an energetic reservoir that replaces the traditional group. Channels are engaged in alternative political action, attempting to change the world by virtually pooling spiritual resources.
This article charts the recent development of Modern Paganism in Israel (1999–2012) and analyzes the discourse maintained by Israeli modern-day Pagans when discussing questions of organization and of religious-political rights. As such it deals with the complexities of identifying oneself as a (Jewish-born) Pagan in Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people. I argue that although Israeli Pagans may employ a community-building discourse, they constantly fear the perceived negative consequences of public exposure. They see the bond between (Jewish) religion and the state in Israel as a main factor in the intolerance and even persecution that they expect from the government and from Haredim (“ultra-Orthodox” Jews). The result of this discourse during the first ten years or so of the presence of Modern Paganism in Israel can be seen through the metaphor of a dance, in which participants advance two steps, only to retreat one.
The notion of consciousness change as a political concept has re-emerged as a central issue in recent Israeli political discourse in diverse and seemingly remote groups. The following is a study of some of the contexts and implications of according primacy to consciousness change in political thought, through the tensions between the highly individualistic character of this discourse and its collective language and aims. I focus on one study case, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a key figure in both extreme settler groups and current New Age Hasidic revival. Analyzing his political writings, I explore his notion of consciousness as the true place of politics. Finally, I return to the question of the context in which Rabbi Ginsburgh’s binding of the political to consciousness should be read, and propose liberal individualism, and the direct line it draws between the individual’s consciousness and that of the state, as an alternative hermeneutical perspective.
The quest for personal and inner spiritual transformation and development is prevalent among spiritual seekers today and constitutes a major characteristic of contemporary spirituality and the New Age phenomenon. Religious leaders of the Bratslav community endeavor to satisfy this need by presenting adjusted versions of hitbodedut meditation, a practice that emphasizes solitary and personal connection with the divine. As is shown by two typical examples, popular Bratslav teachers today take full advantage of the opportunity to infuse the hitbodedut with elements not found in Rabbi Nachman’s teachings and to dispense with some elements that were. The article addresses the socio-political rationale at the root of these teachers’ novel interpretation of Bratslav hitbodedut and the ways they attempt to deal with the complications that arise out of their work.
This article describes the new “field” of Sufi ideas and practices in Israeli Jewish society and analyzes the mutual relations between new Western Sufi influences and traditional Sufi orders of the Middle East. It focuses on the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this evolving field. While the current rise of interest in spirituality is often described as emphasizing an apolitical approach, the evolving Sufi field in Israel is an example of a field that cannot detach itself from the overarching conflict. Moreover, efforts are made by some of the actors in this field to present Sufism as representing a different Islam and, hence, as a potential bridge between the rival parties. These approaches, as this article shows, have their own complexities and influences on the emerging Sufi field in Israel.
Review Essay

Book Reviews

Book Reviews
pp. 153-170

Daniel Bar-Tal and Izhak Schnell, eds., The Impacts of Lasting Occupation: Lessons from Israeli Society

Review by Ned Lazarus

Alan Craig, International Legitimacy and the Politics of Security: The Strategic Deployment of Lawyers in the Israeli Military

Review by Ariel L. Bendor

Joel S. Migdal, Shifting Sands: The United States in the Middle East

Review by Aharon Klieman

Miriam Fendius Elman, Oded Haklai, and Hendrik Spruyt, eds., Democracy and Conflict Resolution: The Dilemmas of Israel’s Peacemaking

Review by Jay Rothman

Eyal Levin, Ethos Clash in Israeli Society

Review by Gabriel Ben-Dor

Danielle Gurevitch, Elana Gomel, and Rani Graff, eds., With Both Feet on the Clouds: Fantasy in Israeli Literature

Review by Ari Ofengenden

New Article: Girsh, Israeli Adolescents’ Views of Heroes and Celebrities

Girsh, Yaron. “Between My Mother and the Big Brother: Israeli Adolescents’ Views of Heroes and Celebrities.” Journal of Youth Studies 17.7 (2014): 916-929.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13676261.2014.881984

 

 

Abstract

Sociological interest in popular culture has contributed much to our understanding of heroes and celebrities as promoted by the media in a macro-cultural sense. However, knowledge of how individuals interpret these processes and the characters promoted thereby is lacking. Based on 44 group interviews with Jewish adolescents in 12 Israeli high schools, this study explores youth attitudes toward heroes and celebrities, including how they are differentiated from one another, and the cultural, social, and personal meanings associated with them. In contrast to prevalent social conceptions, and offering a differing focus from that of previous research, this article argues that the characters promoted by the media have little meaning for adolescents. Moreover, adolescents view celebrity worship as a phenomenon that threatens one’s identity. A few celebrities do gain the title of hero, however, thus shifting the traditional dichotomy between hero and celebrity toward a more nuanced position on the continuum. These findings undermine the moral panic accompanying celebrity worship and the place of celebrities in adolescents’ lives, and challenge the analytical hero-celebrity dichotomy.