The article asks why the Israeli theatre’s ‘voicing hegemony’ practices endure despite a critical public debate that favors cultural pluralism. Ethnographies at two central repertory theatres elicit the meanings of the theatre’s ‘back-to-the past’ institutional habitus, as revealed in observations and in-depth interviews with actors, and disclose artistic dispositions that bolster veteran actors’ stature in the theatre and Israeli art generally. Analysis of the findings links professional capital with the twilight of an artist’s theatrical career. One conclusion connects the theatrical habitus with justification of Israel’s Zionist ideology. Theoretically, the article illuminates the historical component of the Bourdieuian concept of habitus. The duplication of this component in the back-to-the-past habitus inheres to mythification processes and makes the theatrical habitus relatively resilient to social changes.
Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.
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
1 The Everyday of Occupation
2 Bordered Communities
3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
4 Embedded (In)action
5 Protesting Politics
KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
The realism-social constructionism debate has been consequential over the last several decades. Silverstein’s vocabulary of micro-/macro-contexts aids in understanding why the tension can be a useful epistemological heuristic for discourse analysts. Narratives were collected in focus groups of Ethiopian-Israeli college students. Five narratives were selected for ethnic mentions and found to have a particular ‘iterative’ ‘emplotment scenario’ (IES) – recurrent storylines and settings – across tellers and telling events. ‘the only Ethiopian’ is an IES of being sent away to a majority-White elementary/secondary school, socially isolated and denigrated. How are we to understand it when a particular plotline and setting recur in our corpora? I argue that although each story and storytelling is unique, they all borrow from a larger-than-single-telling, already existent trope, that is, a budding master narrative. Taken together, a unique view of a particular socio-cultural process – in this case, something of what it means to be an Ethiopian Israeli – emerges.
Gross-Manos, D., and A. Ben-Arieh. “How Subjective Well-Being Is Associated With Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion in Israeli 12-Year-Olds.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (early view; online first).
The literature examining the relations between economic situation and happiness has focused almost exclusively on a household’s income as a proxy for economic situation and, accordingly, also focused chiefly on the adult population, excluding children and adolescents. To fill this gap, this study examines the relation between economic deprivation and happiness by using 2 alternative proxies: material deprivation and social exclusion. The study tests the relation of these measures to the most common measure for happiness-subjective well-being (SWB)-in a sample of Israeli 12-year-olds (N = 1,081). The study also examines the effects of culture and life circumstances on these complex relations. Findings show that both material deprivation and social exclusion are negatively associated with children’s SWB. Social exclusion explained a much larger percentage of children’s SWB, adding up to 20%. Furthermore, children who were identified as materially deprived and socially excluded were found to be at much greater risk for unhappiness. Material deprivation was found to be significantly more important to the SWB of males compared with females, and for Jews compared with Arabs. Finally, some implications for social policy and regarding the relation of economic situation and happiness are discussed.
This article examines 100 women and their enterprises in moshav-type cooperative rural settlements in the rural-urban fringe of Tel-Aviv metropolitan area, Israel, and analyses the catalysts and obstacles to development and expansion of such enterprises. Most of the businesses are small, in the personal and service sector, and based on experience in past employment. The majority are located in homes or unused farming structures and constitute the major source of household income. Major catalysts of development include the search for alternatives to waning farming income, self-fulfilment, and professional development; main obstacles are shortage of capital and lack of self-confidence in the ability to manage a business. The location is advantageous for fulfilling family obligations and saving costs, but problematic because of distance from central markets and intense local competition. The businesses play a crucial role in the survival strategy of rural households and help improve the quality of life and wellbeing in the region.
Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. “Gendering Conflict Analysis: Analysing Israeli Female Combatants’ Experiences.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace. Challenging Gender in Violence and Post-Conflict Reintegration (ed. Seema Shekhawat; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 69-83.
Catharine MacKinnon, in her oft-cited article, portrays an imaginary heavenly encounter between a female combat soldier and a feminist activist — … ‘a dialogue between women in the after-life: The feminist says to the [female] soldier, “we fought for your equality.” The soldier says to the feminist, “oh, no, we fought for your equality”…’ In their dialogue, both fight for acknowledgement of their relative contribution to promoting women in society. As Barak-Erez pointed out, “military service has traditionally been considered one of the most distinctive signs of full citizenship, and the exclusion of women from military service has been inseparable from their lower civic status”. Nevertheless, women’s struggle for equal participation in the military and for equality is often criticized. Scholars have indicated that this process has many negative side effects, including reinforcing militarism, encouraging the militarization of women’s lives and even legitimizing the use of force.
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.
Guetzkow, Josh, and Idit Fast. “How Symbolic Boundaries Shape the Experience of Social Exclusion. A Case Comparison of Arab Palestinian Citizens and Ethiopian Jews in Israel.” American Behavioral Scientist (early view; online first).
Symbolic boundaries, understood as the conceptual distinctions used to demarcate in-groups and out-groups, are fundamental to social inequality. While we know a great deal about how groups and individuals construct and contest symbolic boundaries along lines of class, race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality, less attention is given to (a) national belonging as a component of symbolic boundaries distinct from citizenship and (b) comparing how distinct symbolic boundaries shape individuals perceptions of, and reactions to, instances of stigmatization and discrimination. To examine these issues we compared two marginalized groups in Israel, Arab Palestinian citizens and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants. Analyzing 90 in-depth interviews, we find that exclusion based on boundaries of nationality engenders different ways of interpretating and responding to stigmatizing and discriminatory behavior, compared with exclusion based on racial and ethnic boundaries. While Ethiopians see everyday stigmatizing encounters as part of their temporary position as a recently immigrated group from a developing country, and react accordingly with attempts to prove their worth as individuals and ultimately assimilate, Palestinians view the line between them and the Jewish majority as relatively impermeable and attempts to fully integrate as mostly useless, viewing solidarity and education as a means to improve their group’s standing.
Based on interviews with Palestinian professionals in Jewish organizations in Israel, this article discloses a distinctive practice of ‘everyday racism’ and microaggression – a language of everyday racism. This ‘language of everyday racism’ refers to Hebrew words and expressions that are routinely used by Jews in their mundane conversations and that include the word ‘Arab’ when describing a deficiency or defect, some sort of unsightliness, filth, or general negativity (as in the expression ‘You’re dressed like an Arab woman’). This article not only describes the language of everyday racism as a specific form of everyday racism and microaggression (national microaggression), it also illustrates how this language activates the Palestinian professionals in a reflexive manner. The discussion section describes how the internal dialectic between structure and agency is critical to understanding the language of everyday racism, which in turn acts as a mechanism of the inequality that underlies face-to-face interactions.
Understanding the underlying reasons for the under-representation of Arab women within the health care system in Israel is crucial for creating future strategies for intervention, in order to minimize the gaps in the health care system and thus improve the medical services and health status.
Our commentary tries to shed light on the underrepresentation and the marginalization of the Arab women in society in general and in the medical field in specific.
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).
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.
The Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel, one-fifth of the country’s population, has been underrepresented in Israeli institutions of higher education since the establishment of the state. This article focuses on the authors’ shared aim of promoting diversity and multiculturalism in institutions of higher education in Israel. It first introduces Arab marginalisation within Israeli society as a whole. Subsequently, it offers a critical overview of existing data and research on the challenges faced by young Arab-Palestinians in higher education institutions in Israel. Based on this indispensable analysis, which clearly shows the numerous obstacles that await Arab-Palestinians on their path to graduation, the article goes on to suggest some required changes. Presenting some useful policy transformations and courses of action, it subsequently introduces multicultural academia as a better conceptual and practical framework for achieving inclusive education.
This essay explores the politics of women’s writing in the Zionist yishuv by examining the literary career of Rivka Alper, whose work features a difficult clash between a “feminine” narrative of sexual trauma and Zionist ideology. I discuss Alper’s literary trajectory from her first novel, Pirpurey mahapekha, a coming-of-age story of a young woman, which foregrounds themes of sexual trauma and gendered violence, to her second project, Ha-mitnaḥalim ba-har, a biography of a Zionist role model, one of the women founders of the colony of Motza. Alper’s transition from “personal” fiction to ideological literature is part of a process of an arduous self-fashioning toward carving a place for herself, albeit marginal, in the Zionist republic of letters. Her process demonstrates the predicament of writing as a woman in a Zionist cultural space that marks writing as an emasculating practice, but exclusively assigns male writers the role of national subjects. In such a space, I argue, transitioning to marginal genres in order to write for the collective emerges as a privileged alternative for an aspiring woman writer. And yet, as contents from Alper’s fictional writing infiltrate her biographic writing, the literariness of her “less literary” text exposes the exclusions that lie at the heart of the Zionist ideological project, and, in turn, reinscribes “the feminine” as a composite marker of these exclusions back into the Zionist text.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera and Dorit Roer-Strier. “Context-Informed, Counter-Hegemonic Qualitative Research: Insights from an Israeli/Palestinian Research Team Studying Loss.” Qualitative Social Work (early view; online first).
Theorizing social work qualitative methodologies have always been closely related to the context of the studied subjects. This paper offers the framework of context-informed, counter-hegemonic qualitative research for theorizing research in conflict zones. Based on a case study of a group of Jewish and Palestinian social work researchers who examined together the effect of the loss of home on families during an ongoing political conflict, this paper explores the impact of participating in a research team on the researcher’s perceptions and study of otherness and otherization in the context of asymmetries of power. Analysis of the group dynamics discovered: (1) a growing ability to see and acknowledge the other, accompanied by a growing willingness to be attentive; (2) a growing ability to empathically listen to and hear the experiences of suffering of the other; (3) overcoming silencing by allowing voices of dissent, pain and resilience; and (4) creating a liminal space of “safe haven” for the researchers. The paper explores the development of context-informed group reflexivity leading to emancipatory consciousness and academic activism.
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.
This paper casts a retrospective gaze at an article written as a beginning academic who had immigrated to Israel just two years prior, some 40 years ago. Not wanting to alter anything I had written, it was subsequently published nearly five years later. In that paper, I observed a deep abyss between the Israel I “understood”—mainly through reading—before I immigrated and which I thought I “knew”, and the Israel I was experiencing following my arrival. This chasm led me to identify Israeli myths contra an Israeli reality and caused me to pose what were for me, at the time of writing, some disturbing questions about Israeli landscape and society. I did this by choosing three iconic landscapes — new towns, kibbutzim and the desert — and picking away at misunderstandings about them and the way in which we perceived Israel. Four decades on, I ask whether I had been impulsive in writing that paper then with so little experience and if a similar paper in a similar vein were to be written, set in 2015 rather than 1974, what questions might be asked about Israel now and what would they say about Israeli society and culture?
Kritzman-Amir, Tally. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara: Social and Legal Aspects of Israeli Asylum Policy. Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Bney Brak: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2015 (in Hebrew).
In recent years, thousands of non-Jewish African asylum seekers have arrived to Israel, the state of Jewish refugees, numbering several tens of thousands. Migration of asylum seekers is a common phenomenon in almost all countries of the world. Questions of sovereignty and control of borders and society, belonging and status, demographics and security, culture and religion, as well as welfare and social justice have a decisive influence on the attitude towards asylum seekers in Israel and abroad, and cast a dark shadow over their future. Against this background, it is no wonder that the treatment of refugees became a politically charged issue arousing severe controversies between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary authorities.
This volume is the most comprehensive collection of articles that dealing with asylum seekers in Israel. It includes twelve articles seeking to characterize the communities of asylum seekers in Israel and to critically and comparatively describe the changing policy applied by the authorities and civil society. The articles are by scholars of various disciplines as well as involved activists. Among other topics, the book discusses the bureaucratic system of the State of Israel dealing with asylum applications; the experiences of asylum seekers in Israel and their ways of integration in the urban landscape; the religious life of Christian asylum seekers; asylum and gender; the exclusion of asylum seekers by restricting their entry at the border and their confinement in detention camps; refugees who are citizens of enemy states and Palestinian refugees; and viable solutions to the refugee problem. The essays in the volume serve as a foundation for studying this field and future research, and can be employed to assist policymakers and decision-makers.
Traditionally viewed as the “back yard” of Israel’s urban landscape, ethnically mixed towns have been predominantly studied in light of the marginality paradigm, which neglects to recognize these spaces as social places, namely as life worlds in and of themselves. Drawing on archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Jaffa, we propose a relational anthropological approach to the problématique of marginality and pluralism in Jewish-Arab cities. These are seen not as unidimensional sites of hyper-segregation but rather as spaces of creative marginality, which paradoxically challenge the nationalist spatial hegemony (both Palestinian and Zionist). Examining the everyday enactment of alterity we show how marginality and exclusion become precisely the driving force behind one of Israel’s most creative back stages.
Published in English and French, with abstracts in English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Integration is one of Israel’s greatest challenges, as Israeli Arabs, comprising 20 percent of the Israeli population, are still a segregated minority. After an incredibly violent summer for both Israelis and Palestinians, it has become more important than ever to find a solution to this issue that involves building a shared Israeli society. I argue that because the workforce is the last place where segregated societies can come together, it presents a critical opportunity to integrate. Driven by intergroup contact theory, this thesis demonstrates that (1) the workplace environment is optimal for positive intergroup contact, (2) integration in the workplace produces more positive outgroup opinions and (3) positive outgroup opinions can could withstand pressure from ethnic conflict. This is supported by 47 interviews and surveys, and guided by preexisting frameworks on intergroup contact. With this research, I hope to contribute to the literature on intergroup contact, which has yet to explore workforce integration in Israel and link it to intergroup contact theory. The findings of this thesis will be beneficial for private and public sectors to consider in order to maximize the benefits of intergroup contact and work toward a shared society.