Based on ethnographic research among Palestinian Israeli university women, this article explores how women reposition themselves in society after university. Continuing the research tradition on educated women’s balance of marriage and career, I consider how this balance is shaped by the political and cultural context. I show how these minority women pave paths of return that both utilize and challenge the ethnic separation between Jewish and Palestinian enclaves in Israel. On a theoretical level, the research shows how women’s uses of higher education simultaneously can be shaped by and work to change macro-structures of society.
Haj-Yahia, Muhammad M., and Amarat Zaatut. “Beliefs of Palestinian Women From Israel About the Responsibility and Punishment of Violent Husbands and About Helping Battered Women.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence (early view; online first).
This article presents a study that examined beliefs about violent husbands and about helping battered women among Palestinian women living in Israel from the perspective of patriarchal ideology. A convenience sample of 701 married women was obtained, and a self-report questionnaire was administered. The findings reveal that the majority of participants held violent husbands accountable for their behavior; however, the majority of them did not support punishing violent husbands through formal agencies (i.e., the police) or through informal social institutions (i.e., the family). In addition, contrary to expectations, the majority of women perceived wife beating as a social problem rather than as a private one that should be dealt with within the family. Regression and multiple regression analysis revealed that women’s endorsement of patriarchal ideology was found to influence all three above-mentioned beliefs about violent husbands and battered women, over and above the amount of variance in each of these beliefs that could be attributed to the women’s sociodemographic characteristics. The limitations of the study and its implications for future research are discussed.
Divorce, separation, and widowhood produce great psychological stress for Palestinian women in Israel. Very often family support is a set of demands seeking to regulate and reshape their conduct. This article is based on a study conducted between 2007 and 2011 with twenty-four divorced, separated, and widowed Palestinian single mothers in Israel. In contrast to claims in most existing scholarship, all of the women turned to nonfamilial sources of support to deal with family and community regulation, restrictions, and stigmatization and to acquire resources. Level of surveillance and regulation was most highly associated with socioeconomic class. The poorer the women, the fewer their choices and the less freedom they had to determine their lives and their children’s lives. The women interviewed disproportionately reported turning to outsiders, such as psychologists, spiritualists, and feminist activists, for “expressive” support.
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.
Cohen, Shuki J. “Breakable and Unbreakable Silences: Implicit Dehumanization and Anti-Arab Prejudice in Israeli Soldiers’ Narratives Concerning Palestinian Women.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 245-77.
This paper illustrates an empirical paradigm for a minimally-biased characterization of the internal representations of female enemy members by male soldiers in the context of a military occupation. Using a combination of psycholinguistic and psychoanalytic tools, the study examined the associative structure of the language that was used by Israeli ex-soldiers in a large corpus of verbatim testimonies detailing their service in the Palestinian occupied territories. Since explicit dehumanization is rare in Israeli official discourse and in media- and political correctness-savvy occupying forces worldwide, this study examined implicit dehumanization through the non-conscious use of spontaneous linguistic choices. Using both computerized and quantitative linguistic analyses, this study tracked a particular pattern or word choice, presumed to capture implicit dehumanization based on a trans-disciplinary definition of the construct. Furthermore, to mitigate the potential confound between fear of the enemy and its dehumanization, this study focused on anecdotes concerning Palestinian women, as they pose less realistic threat to Israeli soldiers. Consistent with this study’s formulation of implicit dehumanization, Israeli soldiers tended to describe Palestinian women’s mental state in situational and behavioral terms (e.g. scream, make a mess, piss her pants, had a heart attack, etc.). In contrast, empathic inference – whereby the narrator extends their emotional understanding of themselves and other humans to the person whose emotional state they attempt to describe or understand – was often reserved in the testimonials only to the narrator and his fellow comrades. This evidence for implicit dehumanization is then discussed as a borderline-level defense mechanism within the larger context of both individual- and national-level anti-Arab prejudice in Israel.
Madar, Revital. “Covered Yet Overexposed: From a Female Religious Jewish Performance to Israel’s Status as a Western or Non-Western Country.” International Journal of Fashion Studies 2.1 (2015): 115-120.
Western discourse over the Muslim veil generated different discursive outcomes. It generalized the different practices of veiling used in the Muslim world, turned it into a symbol of women’s oppression, and remained indifferent to practices of veiling outside of the Muslim world. Research regarding this phenomenon focuses particularly on the political role Muslim practices of veiling play in the western world. In that light, I look at the overt meaning minor acts of covering up have in Israel, ignored in most western countries and argue that it originates in Israel’s self-image as a western country. As such, analyses can serve as a new perspective for thinking of the relation of the West with covertness in general, i.e. beyond a specific garment. The first part of this article describes my personal experiences as a secular woman who is identified as a Jewish religious woman in Israel. The second part discusses Jacqueline Kahanoff’s gaze on Palestinian women. After this, I discuss my work with Comme Il Faut, a local fashion house based in Tel Aviv. After stitching these three points together, the status of Israel as a western or non-western country is discussed, as well as future research.
Since the end of the Cold War, the quest to spread democracy has become the rallying call of many Western donor agencies. Reflecting this new agenda, new program priorities prevailed that placed greater emphasis on civil society development, civic engagement and gender empowerment. Contrary to expectations, however, many of these programs have often adversely affected existing social movements. Most scholars attempting to explain these unintended outcomes have focused on the impact of NGO professionalization. Examining the Palestinian women’s movement, this article addresses the inadequacy of this explanation and focuses on the political dimension of this discussion by illustrating how Western donors’ lack of understanding of the Palestinian women’s movement and its “embeddedness” in the broader political context served to weaken and undermine this movement. The influx of Western donor assistance in the post-Madrid, post-Oslo era, along with the greater emphasis on Western promoted gender empowerment, undermined the cohesiveness of the women’s movement by exacerbating existing political polarization (that went beyond Islamist and secular divisions) and disempowering many grassroots activists. Effectively, many of these activists were transformed from active political participants involved in their organizations to the recipients of skills and services in need of awareness raising. Findings in this article also speak to current regional developments, especially in light of the current Arab uprisings and the promise of greater Western involvement to empower women in the region.
Women,Reconciliation and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict explores the most prominent instances of women’s political activism in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel, focussing primarily on the last decade. By taking account of the heterogeneous narrative identities existing in such a context, the author questions the effectiveness of the contributions of Palestinian and Israeli Jewish women activists towards a feasible renewal of the ‘peace process’, founded on mutual recognition and reconciliation.
Based on feminist literature and field research, this book re-problematises the controversial liaison between ethno-national narratives, feminist backgrounds and women’s activism in Palestine/Israel. In detail, the most relevant salience of this study is the provision of an additional contribution to the recent debate on the process of making Palestinian and Israeli women activists more visible, and the importance of this process as one of the most meaningful ways to open up areas of enquiry around major prospects for the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tackling topical issues relating to alternative resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this book will be a valuable resource for both academics and activists with an interest in Middle East Politics, Gender Studies, and Conflict Resolution.
Table of Contents
Foreword Ilan Pappé
Part I: Ethno-Nationalism and Women’s Activism From a Critical Viewpoint
1 Challenges to the intertwined narratives of Palestinian and Israeli Jewish Women
2 Palestinian Women and Deep-Rooted National Narrative Identity
3 Different perspectives of Narrative Identities Among Israeli Women Activists
4 Parallelism and Inextricability of Women’s Narratives in Palestine/Israel
5 Deconstructing Ethno-national Narrative Identities: Women’s Activism Within the Paralysis of Military Occupation
6 Women Activists Towards Political Criticism and Joint Actions
Water sources have always played a significant role in Palestinian rural life. Springs and wells are frequently depicted in orientalist sources, yet they have barely been studied from the perspective of oral history. This article explores the social texture of an ancient well, located in the Palestinian Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyya in Israel, by using fragmented memories of the old women and men who drew water from that well more than half a century ago. This study examines the well as a powerful reservoir of local memories, focusing on the feminine experience that was formed at the well, on its symbolic meaning in the lives of Palestinian women, and on a silent language of implicit expressions that was once used at the well.