Sasley, Brent E., and Harold M. Waller. Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
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
Chapter 1: Israel in Historical and Comparative Perspective
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
The Palestine Mandate
Chapter 3: Yishuv Politics during theMandate 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
Chapter 4: State Building After 1948 Mamlachtiut
The Political Arena
Personal Status Issues
Other State-Building Efforts
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
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
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
Sayed Kashua as Barometer?
PART III: THE POLITICAL PROCESS
Chapter 8: The Electoral System
The Development of an Electoral System
Parties and Lists
Chapter 9: Political Parties and the Party System
Center or “Third” Parties
Ethnic or Special Issues Parties
Chapter 10: Voting Patterns
Four Main Issues
Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Political Protest
Changing Access in the Israeli Political System
Chapter 12: The Knesset
Structure of the Knesset
Functions and Powers of the Knesset
Relationship to the Government
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
Taking Israel’s National Health Insurance Law as a point of entry, in this article I probe how notions of equality and citizenship, secularism and religion become entangled in the experience of Negev/Naqab Bedouin, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research, I show how Jewish citizens have come to represent the secular and modern citizens in the region, while Bedouins, although mandated and claimed by policy and providers to be the ‘same’ and ‘equal’, are always already imagined and characterized as other. Universal healthcare and the daily manner in which biomedicine is practiced in southern Israel provides an avenue for examining the Jewish valences medicine carries in southern Israel, Israel’s boundaries of inclusion, and the connection between biomedicine and secularism.
Arar, Khalid, and Tamar Shapira. “Hijab and Principalship: The Interplay between Belief Systems, Educational Management and Gender among Arab Muslim Women in Israel.” Gender and Education (early view; online first).
This paper discusses the decision of Muslim female principals in Israel to don the hijab following their appointment to school principalship. This research employed narrative life-story interviews to understand the women’s decision to alter their appearance and how this transition is connected to their role as female school principals in the indigenous Muslim community in Israel and the reaction they faced both in personal and professional spheres. The principals’ narratives elucidate that transition to wearing the hijab was a matter of choice and collective belonging; it empowers them and affected their leadership style, although it also provokes others’ resistance and reactions. Findings clarify the social and personal identity of Arab Muslim women school principals in Israel, and point to the need for consideration of traditional cultural contexts, to enrich managerial theory. This understanding also supports the argument that governmental and organizational policies and initiatives should recognize the diversity in Muslim women’s backgrounds and the dangers of privileging mainstream women’s perspectives.
Cohen, Stuart, Aaron Kampinsky, and Elisheva Rosman-Stollman. “Swimming against the Tide: The Changing Functions and Status of Chaplains in the Israel Defense Force.” Religion, State and Society (early view; online first).
This article describes and analyses the changes that have occurred in the services performed by chaplains in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) – the only military in the world that consists almost entirely of Jews. Essentially, we argue, the shift has been one of focus. For many years, IDF chaplains primarily (albeit never exclusively) concerned themselves with providing religious services to the minority of personnel who observed Orthodox Jewish rituals. ‘Outreach’ programmes, targeted at the secular Jewish majority, were secondary. Recently, however, the IDF rabbinate has undergone a process of ‘role expansion’, emphasising the provision of counselling and guidance to the entire Jewish complement, especially in combat units. In the second part of the article, we analyse the possible reasons for that development: demographic and cultural trends in Israeli society; the prominence of counter-insurgency missions in the IDF’s operational agenda; and the personalities of recent chief chaplains. Finally, we address the possible implications of this shift, asking whether the intra-organisational frictions that it generates, especially with the Education Corps, portends a battle for the soul of the IDF.
The Islamic Movement, which is called in Arabic Al-harakaat al-islamiyya or Al-haraka al-islamiyya, has, since its foundation in the 1970s, placed emphasis on education, especially the dissemination of the Islamic message. After the movement scored significant successes in local authority elections, its influence increased on the ideological guidelines according to which some of the Arab education system is partially or fully shaped. The article discusses the split in the movement within the State of Israel, and the differences between the southern and northern faction. It also compares Islamic education and Arab education within Israel and abroad in Europe, in countries which have large immigrant Moslem populations.
The education system that the Islamic Movement tries to develop symbolizes the complexity of the relations between it and the state authorities. They are aware that the authorities will not help in differentiation and separation and will not cease from the constant supervision of the movement’s educational institutions. Therefore, their choice of a synthesis between formal and informal education or of a partition between pedagogic state education and moral study classes, is a rational, calculated choice, taking into consideration the reality of a cultural – ethnic – national minority.
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.
Secular-believers, who constitute about 25% of Israeli Jews, are self-identified secular people who believe in some kind of divinity. Based on in-depth interviews with secular-believer women, this study aims to reveal their theological assumptions and claims. It examines metaphors and images participants used to relate to the divine as well as the theological categories they emphasized. The study uncovers the pluralistic nature of secular-believers’ beliefs and the common tendency to address faith-related content in a positive light.
Paul-Binyamin, Ilana, and Shahar Gindi. “Autonomy and Religious Education: Lessons from a Six-Year Evaluation of an Educational Reform in an Israeli School Network.” British Journal of Religious Education (early view; online first).
This study investigated the tension that exists between promoting an educational agenda and practising an educational approach which emphasises autonomy within the framework of religious education. Our main thesis is that every educational deed contains a dialectical tension between endorsing an educational agenda and the promotion of autonomy. Moreover, this tension is not restricted to religious education. The intensity of such a conflict varies in accordance with the flexibility (or inflexibility) of the dogma, the conceptual cohesion of the educational agenda and the perceived importance of granting autonomy to students. The more cohesive and inflexible the educational agenda is, the greater the danger that autonomy will be discarded. The present research examined an educational reform implemented in the National-Religious School Network in Israel, which included the promotion of autonomy among principals, teachers and students. Conducted over a six-year period (2006–2012), the research employed both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and involved various stakeholders in the school network. The multifaceted picture that emerged of the relationship between educational autonomy and religious agenda is presented.
Ben Shitrit, Lihi. Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.
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
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
Campbell, Heidi A., ed. Digital Judaism: Jewish Negotiations with Digital Media and Culture. New York: Routledge, 2015.
In this volume, contributors consider the ways that Jewish communities and users of new media negotiate their uses of digital technologies in light of issues related to religious identity, community and authority. Digital Judaism presents a broad analysis of how and why various Jewish groups negotiate with digital culture in particular ways, situating such observations within a wider discourse of how Jewish groups throughout history have utilized communication technologies to maintain their Jewish identities across time and space. Chapters address issues related to the negotiation of authority between online users and offline religious leaders and institutions not only within ultra-Orthodox communities, but also within the broader Jewish religious culture, taking into account how Jewish engagement with media in Israel and the diaspora raises a number of important issues related to Jewish community and identity. Featuring recent scholarship by leading and emerging scholars of Judaism and media, Digital Judaism is an invaluable resource for researchers in new media, religion and digital culture.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Studying Jewish Engagement with Digital Media and Culture Heidi A. Campbell
1. Ethnography and social movement studies
2. The Jewish Communication Tradition and its Encounters with (the) New Media Menahem Blondheim
4. Yoatzot Halacha: Ruling the Internet, One Question at a Time Michal Raucher
5. Sanctifying the Internet: Aish HaTorah’s use of the Internet for Digital Outreach Heidi A. Campbell and Wendi Bellar
6. Jewish Games for Learning: Renewing Heritage Traditions in the Digital Age Owen Gottlieb
7. Communicating Identity through Religious Internet Memes on “Tweeting Orthodoxies” Facebook Page Aya Yadlin-Segal
8. Resistance & Reconstruction: Legitimation of New Media and Community Building amongst Jewish Denominations in the USA Oren Golan
9. On Pomegranates and Etrogs: Internet Filters as Practices of Media Ambivalence among National Religious Jews in Israel Michele Rosenthal and Rivki Ribak
10. Pashkevilim in Campaigns Against New Media: What Can Pashkevillim Accomplish that Newspapers Cannot? Hananel Rosenburg and Tsuriel Rashi
11. The Israeli Rabbi and the Internet Yoel Cohen
HEIDI A. CAMPBELL is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University and Director of the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies. She is author of Exploring Religious Community Online (2005) and When Religion Meets New Media (2010) and editor of Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media World (2013).
This paper aims to identify the emergence of the concept “new anti-Semitism” in both public discourse and academic research in Israel. Our main argument is that the new anti-Semitism has emerged in tandem with changing values within Israeli society, primarily the adoption of a mythic-traditional perspective. This historical review focuses on description of a key event: United Nations Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism. We argue that increasing adherence to Jewish tradition goes hand in hand with the assimilation of Jewish myths regarding anti-Semitism. Scholarly discourse about new anti-Semitism is presented through critical study of Shmuel Almog’s anthology Sin’at Yisrael ledoroteiha (A History of Hatred of Israel). This study is the first to be published that discusses an updated view of anti-Semitism in Israeli public discourse and academic research, emphasizing how the State of Israel has become its object.
This article explores the role of sacred places and pilgrimage centers in the context of contemporary geopolitical strife and border disputes. Following and expanding on the growing body of literature engaged with the contested nature of the sacred, this article argues that sacred sites are becoming more influential in processes of determining physical borders. We scrutinize this phenomenon through the prism of a small parcel of land on the two sides of the Separation Wall that is being constructed between Israel and Palestine. Our analysis focuses on two holy shrines that are dedicated to devotional mothers: the traditional Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch on the way to Bethlehem and Our Lady of the Wall, an emergent Christian site constructed as a reaction to the Wall. We examine the architectural (and material) phenomenology, the experience, and the implications that characterize these two adjacent spatialities, showing how these sites are being used as political tools by various actors to challenge the political, social, and geographical order.
Novak, David. Zionism and Judaism. A New Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Why should anyone be a Zionist, a supporter of a Jewish state in the land of Israel? Why should there be a Jewish state in the land of Israel? This book seeks to provide a philosophical answer to these questions. Although a Zionist need not be Jewish, nonetheless this book argues that Zionism is only a coherent political stance when it is intelligently rooted in Judaism, especially in the classical Jewish doctrine of God’s election of the people of Israel and the commandment to them to settle the land of Israel. The religious Zionism advocated here is contrasted with secular versions of Zionism that take Zionism to be a replacement of Judaism. It is also contrasted with versions of religious Zionism that ascribe messianic significance to the State of Israel, or which see the main task of religious Zionism to be the establishment of an Israeli theocracy.
Table of Contents
1. Why Zionism?
2. Was Spinoza the first Zionist?
3. Secular Zionism: political or cultural?
4. Should Israel be a theocracy?
5. Why the Jews and why the land of Israel?
6. Can the state of Israel be both Jewish and democratic?
7. What could be the status of non-Jews in a Jewish state?
8. What is the connection between the Holocaust and the state of Israel?
DAVID NOVAK holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair in Jewish Studies as Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is President of the Union for Traditional Judaism, and Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. Novak also serves as a Consulting Scholar for the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and as a Project Scholar for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
Rodgers, James. Headlines from the Holy Land: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Tied by history, politics, and faith to all corners of the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fascinates and infuriates people across the world. Based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats, Headlines from the Holy Land explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters: those who bring the story to the world. Despite decades of diplomacy, a just and lasting end to the conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve. Inspired by the author’s own experience as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002-2004, and subsequent research, this book draws on the insight of those who have spent years observing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starting from a historical perspective, it identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Rosemary Hollis
1 Reporting from the Ruins: The End of the British Mandate and the Creation of the State of Israel
In this Article, I suggest that “religion,” both as it is commonly understood, and as it is understood and applied by courts as a legal term of art, refers chiefly to belief. This understanding of “religion” is incorrectly, if tacitly, assumed to be both neutral and broadly applicable. Building on previous work focusing on British courts, I now turn to investigating how Israeli courts understand the concept of religion. And, as before, I focus on cases addressing the question “who is a Jew?” as a window into how courts understand religion and membership in a religion more generally.
To set the legal issues in context, in Part II, I briefly trace the emergence of the State of Israel. Part II.A discusses the early Zionist movement with particular attention to the philosophy of Theodor Herzl. Part II.B traces the early legal foundations of the State of Israel from the Balfour Declaration through the Proclamation of the State. Part III concerns the legal system created by the State. Part III.A introduces the legal structure of the state of Israel. Part III.B details the function and authority of the courts within that structure. Part III.C addresses the legal status of religion in the state, and Part III.D looks at the Law of Return, a unique feature of Israeli law applicable only to Jews (and certain relations). Part IV concerns the substantive debate on “Who is a Jew” under Israeli civil law. Part IV.A discusses in detail three seminal cases addressing the legal relationship between Judaism and the State-Rufeisen (also known as Brother Daniel), Shalit, and Beresford-along with significant legislation passed in the wake of Shalit. Part IV.B attempts to reconcile these decisions and tease out the factors that the Israeli Supreme Court has considered significant and the assumptions that it has made in adjudicating issues of religious identity.
Part V turns to the historical validity and neutrality of the understanding of “religion” applied by the Israeli Supreme Court. Part V.A offers an overview of the Christian origins of the modern concept of “religion” as primarily a matter of belief. Part V.B reflects on how the Jewish state, through its secularist Supreme Court, could have come to a Christian understanding of religion. Finally, Part VI takes a step back to place the findings in the wider debate on secularization. Part VI.A provides the necessary background on this secularization paradigm, and Part VI.B suggests that these cases may point to a useful refinement. Part VII offers a brief conclusion.
Bene Menashe Negotiations of Migration and Citizenship
Dr. Yulia Egorova
University of Durham
Wednesday, 28 Oct, 3:15-5 PM
SOAS Main Building,Ground Floor
Room 52 (to the left of the elevators)
Abstract: The Bene Menashe stem from a number of Christian groups of the Indo-Burmese borderland, some of whom back in the 1950s declared their descent from the Lost Tribes of Israel. In 2005 the Bene Menashe became recognized as people of Israelite descent by the then Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and in 2011 were allowed by Israeli government to continue their migration through conversion. The paper will use the example of the Bene Menashe migration to cast analytical light on different ways in which race and religion co-constitute each other in processes of transnational migration. To do so, I will focus on one specific aspect of the Bene Menashe migration – the way the community has to construct and enact their religious affiliation to be able to become Israeli citizens and to be considered part of the Jewish people by their ‘hosts’. The paper argues that in the case of the Bene Menashe race and religion co-produce each other in ways that reinforce racialized understandings of Judaism and Jewishness, and will suggest that what accounts for this phenomenon is that the opportunities that the Bene Menashe immigrants had in defining their religiosity in Israel were limited by the conditions of their migration, which developed against the backdrop of multiple colonial contexts. In the end, I will reflect on the situation of other ‘emerging’ Jewish communities in India who are in the process of organizing their migration to Israel.
About the speaker: Dr. Yulia Egorova is Reader in Anthropology and Director, Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics at the University of Durham. Her research interests include Anthropology of Jewish communities, the social aspects of science and biotechnology, and the relationship between science and religion. She recently completed an AHRC-funded project devoted to the Indian Jewish community of the Bene Ephraim of Andhra Pradesh, and a cluster of studies exploring the socio-cultural implications of population genetics with particular reference to South Asia. She is presently developing a new project on Jewish-Muslim relations in the UK.