New Book: Bekerman, The Promise of Integrated Multicultural and Bilingual Education

Bekerman, Zvi. The Promise of Integrated Multicultural and Bilingual Education. Inclusive Palestinian-Arab and Jewish Schools in Israel. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.


The Promise of Integrated and Multicultural Bilingual Education presents the results of a long-term ethnographic study of the integrated bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel that offer a new educational option to two groups of Israelis–Palestinians and Jews–who have been in conflict for the last one hundred years. Their goal is to create egalitarian bilingual multicultural environments to facilitate the growth of youth who can acknowledge and respect “others” while maintaining loyalty to their respective cultural traditions. In this book, Bekerman reveals the complex school practices implemented while negotiating identity and culture in contexts of enduring conflict. Data gathered from interviews with teachers, students, parents, and state officials are presented and analyzed to explore the potential and limitations of peace education given the cultural resources, ethnic-religious affiliations, political beliefs, and historical narratives of the various interactants. The book concludes with critique of Western positivist paradigmatic perspectives that currently guide peace education, maintaining that one of the primary weaknesses of current bilingual and multicultural approaches to peace education is their failure to account for the primacy of the political framework of the nation state and the psychologized educational perspectives that guide their educational work. Change, it is argued, will only occur after these perspectives are abandoned, which entails critically reviewing present understandings of the individual, of identity and culture, and of the learning process.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Part 1
  • 1. Positioning the Author
  • 2. Theoretical Perspectives
  • 3. Methodology: From Theory to Implementation
  • 4. Schools in Their Contexts
  • Part 2
  • 5. The Parents
  • 6. Teachers at Their Work
  • 7. The Children
  • Part 3
  • 8. School Routines: Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Classroom
  • 9. Ceremonial Events
  • 10. Conflicting National Narratives
  • Part 4
  • 11. The Graduates
  • 12. Conclusions
  • Author Index
  • Subject Index


ZVI BEKERMAN teaches anthropology of education at the School of Education and The Melton Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His main interests are in the study of cultural, ethnic, and national identity, including identity processes and negotiation during intercultural encounters and in formal/informal learning contexts. He is particularly interested in how concepts such as culture and identity intersect with issues of social justice, intercultural and peace education, and citizenship education.




Cite: Orbach, The Kafr Qasim Political Trial

Orbach, Danny. “Black Flag at a Crossroads: The Kafr Qasim Political Trial (1957–58).” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45.3 (2013): 491-511.





A political trial, according to Steven E. Barkan, is a trial revolving
around highly publicized legal controversies. In some cases, such a
trial may determine fundamental political questions, exceeding the legal
realm, which are in debate inside a given polity. The 1957–58 trial
related to the 1956 massacre in Kafr Qasim, Israel certainly belongs to
this category. The trial established the doctrine of a “manifestly
unlawful order” in Israeli military law, contributed considerably to the
reshaping of civil–military relations, and influenced the civic status
of the Arab minority in Israel. In this article, using hitherto
underexamined primary sources, I argue that the most important
contribution of the trial, the doctrine of a “manifestly unlawful
order,” was not only a creation of the bench but also a result of a
complicated interaction between the actors present in the courtroom: the
defendants, their defense lawyers, the prosecutors, and the judges.
Above all, the article shows how the bitter struggle between the two
main attorneys helped shape the doctrine of a “manifestly unlawful
order,” that is, an order that is illegal for a soldier to obey.