The concentration of this study was the documentation and analysis of ways in which competing conceptions of citizenship play out in actual classroom settings. Examining three cases in the context of the Israeli education system, its findings show that civics teachers’ views and beliefs influenced ways in which they interpreted the curriculum standards and reacted to schools policies and atmosphere, even in cases where these views contradicted. Nevertheless, when confronted with competing conceptions of citizenship as presented by their students, the teachers were less willing to open true democratic conversations, resulting in lessons that did not necessarily create a true democratic atmosphere.
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.
In many ways the Palestinian civilian is the ultimate or significant ‘other’ for the Israeli soldier serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). (S)he is the one who will be stopped, checked, controlled and at times arrested. (S)he is the one who negotiates, pleads, begs and sometimes curses the soldier. This other represents, amongst other things, disorder for the soldiers. (S)he becomes the ‘face’ of the hardship, the frustration, anger, doubt and boredom the soldiers associate with their work within a military occupation. To regain a sense of order, control and normalcy soldiers construct the military checkpoint as a ‘moral geography’ where the Palestinian is actively ‘othered’. In this paper I will explore how moral boundaries are drawn along these physical borders in a landscape of conflict, while not losing sight of the symbolic meaning of this border. I will do this by exploring the way Palestinians are made into a moral other by Israeli soldiers, in an effort to create a certain sense of order, at the checkpoint. I will first discuss the checkpoint as a site of ‘moral geography’ that enhances and legitimizes these processes of othering that I will explore next. Finally, I will discuss the way Palestinians are made into a moral other, while tracing this back to a moral discourse that is geared to establish a ‘normalized’ self.
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.
This study investigates the status of the Druze women in Israel, focusing on the effects of the frequent interactions between the Druze and the more permissive Jewish-Western society. The main question posed is why Druze women accept the double standards of freedom, especially on sexual morality, that expect them to be chaste but allow sexual freedom to men. I argue that this is a patriarchal deal, in which women trade their sexual freedom in exchange for access to higher education, and to the prestigious status of moral guardians from western temptations. The paper is based on narrative analysis of in-depth interviews conducted with 50 Druze students, half of them male and half female, enrolled in Israeli universities.
Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence / Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places / Human Nature & Jewish Thought / Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought / Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture / The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible / Capitalism: A Ghost Story/Restoring the Soul of the World: Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence
Recognition is vital for conflict resolution. This study was designed to learn more about the factors underlying the willingness to recognize the pain and suffering of the opponent in the asymmetrical protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Data were collected through a public opinion survey conducted with a representative sample of Israeli-Jewish adults (N = 511). Perceptions of threat/distrust toward Palestinians and dehumanization of Palestinians each made a significant contribution to explaining Jewish-Israeli (un)willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering (R2 = .36). Hawkishness made an added significant contribution to the overall explanatory power of the model (R2 = .38). Higher scores on the threat/distrust scale and the dehumanization scale, as well as higher hawkishness predicted decreased willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering. The implications of our findings for understanding the role of recognition and of moral concern in conflict resolution are discussed.
Kalir, Barak. “The Jewish State of Anxiety: Between Moral Obligation and Fearism in the Treatment of African Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [early view online, prior to printed version]
Since 2005 around 60,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have entered Israel by crossing the border from Egypt. Notwithstanding the Jewish history of persecution, and Israel being a signatory to the UN Convention for the protection of refugees, modern Israel systematically refuses to grant a refugee status to asylum seekers. Since 2012, the tenacious hostile approach of Israeli policy-makers and state-agents towards asylum seekers has resulted in an outburst of racist verbal and physical attacks against them. This article analyses the socio-legal location of asylum seekers in Israel by examining how their position is articulated by different parties, deploying competing discourses of human rights, citizenship, security and sovereignty. The article advances that appeals—mostly made by critical non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists and academics—to human rights, Jewish morals and historic sensitivities are beguiling; while they arouse hopes for compassion and moral obligation, they are also used by mainstream Israeli politicians to justify the exclusion and deportation of so-called ‘African infiltrators’. A hegemonic ideology of ‘fearism’—which brands the Israeli national narrative and informs the notion of citizenship among Jewish Israelis—leads to the construction of asylum seekers as abject Others, who pose a threat to the Jewish state and to Jews’ own right for secured citizenship.
Localized debates about who unauthorized migrants are and what they do, or do not, deserve unfold in a culturally specific register that is deeply charged with emotion and moral valuation. Structuring such debates are vernacular discursive frames that emerge from, and reflect, a common “local moral economy.” Taking Israel as case study, this article examines six elements of the country’s local moral economy – biopolitical logic, historical memory, political emotion, popularized religion, an ideology of “fruitful multiplication,” and hasbara (“public diplomacy”/propaganda) – and explores their impact on public debates about unauthorized and irregular forms of migration. Here, as elsewhere, conventionalized distinctions that frame much migration scholarship – e.g. “economic” vs. “political” migrants, “migrant workers” vs. “refugees,” even the terms “authorized” and “unauthorized” themselves – bear but limited salience. Migration researchers who hope to influence local policy debates must recognize the weight and influence of local moral economies, and the chasms that divide vernacular from conventionalized frames. Achieving this sort of nuanced understanding is, at root, an ethnographic challenge.
In Conscientious Objectors in Israel, Erica Weiss examines the lives of Israelis who have refused to perform military service for reasons of conscience. Based on long-term fieldwork, this ethnography chronicles the personal experiences of two generations of Jewish conscientious objectors as they grapple with the pressure of justifying their actions to the Israeli state and society—often suffering severe social and legal consequences, including imprisonment.
While most scholarly work has considered the causes of animosity and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Conscientious Objectors in Israel examines how and under what circumstances one is able to refuse to commit acts of violence in the midst of that conflict. By exploring the social life of conscientious dissent, Weiss exposes the tension within liberal citizenship between the protection of individual rights and obligations of self-sacrifice. While conscience is a strong cultural claim, military refusal directly challenges Israeli state sovereignty. Weiss explores conscience as a political entity that sits precariously outside the jurisdictional bounds of state power. Through the lens of Israeli conscientious objection, Weiss looks at the nature of contemporary citizenship, examining how the expectations of sacrifice shape the politics of both consent and dissent. In doing so, she exposes the sacrificial logic of the modern nation-state and demonstrates how personal crises of conscience can play out on the geopolitical stage.
Erica Weiss teaches anthropology at Tel Aviv University.
Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.