This is a response to claims made by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Antonina Griecci Woodsum, Himmat Zu’bi, and Rachel Busbridge in this journal that patriarchal constraints have little to do with the low employment rates of Bedouin women and that their communities suffer from sustained government neglect.
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.
The negative impact of early marriage on girls’ psychosocial well-being is well documented in the literature, but little is known about the girls’ motivations and experiences within marriage. A phenomenological case study approach, combining artwork and semi-structured interviews, was used to investigate the motivations and experiences of early marriage among 10 engaged and married young Muslim women who married young in Israel. The findings regarding the engaged women point to their decision to use marriage as a way to fulfill their need for freedom, their wish to experience love in a culturally respectable frame, and to escape from poverty and from difficult family. Conversely, the married women’s narratives point to the heavy price and limited benefits of early marriage, in creating intense new problems and not providing relief from former problems. The regret over having not studied, intense loneliness, lack of money, and the search for a more respect-based marriage are predominant themes. The financial and social motivations for marriage found among the women studied suggest that in their decision to marry young, they were not passive victims of love or society but were rather taking an active pragmatic decision within the very limited options open to them.
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.
Mosco, Noga, and Naama Atzaba-Poria. “In Search of ‘the Bedouin Adaptive Adult’. Socialization Goals of Mothers and Fathers From the Bedouin Society of the Negev.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (early view; online first).
The Bedouins of the Negev are a unique minority group living in southern Israel. They are known to be a formerly nomadic society characterized by tribal collectivism. The purpose of this study was to improve the understanding of the broad context in which parenting and child development take place in Bedouin society by exploring the images Bedouin parents have of the adults they wish their children to become (the adaptive adult). We explored the images of the adaptive adult as expressed by parents’ ratings of individualistic and collectivistic socialization goals (SGs), while also examining the eco-cultural factors that may be related to these images. Specifically, we examined the relations between SG preferences and parental acculturation attitude, parental education, and child gender. Participants included 65 Bedouin mothers and 30 Bedouin fathers. Parents completed the Acculturation Questionnaire and the Socialization Goals Rating Task. Results indicated that mothers who had higher education and those who had higher levels of contact and participation in Israeli Jewish culture preferred more individualistic SGs over collectivistic SGs for their children. Furthermore, acculturation level was a stronger predictor of maternal SGs than level of education. Contrary to mothers, fathers’ SG preferences were found to be related only to their level of education and not to their acculturation levels. Finally, both mothers and fathers preferred individualistic SGs for their sons and collectivistic SGs for their daughters. The links between SG preferences and the factors of parental acculturation, parental education, and child gender are discussed, and implications are proposed.
This paper seeks to provide an ecofeminist and queer critique of Israeli aggression towards and occupation of Palestine in three parts. Firstly, providing a critical analysis of tropes surrounding the creation of the Israel including early policies relating to land and afforestation. Secondly, by revealing how these tropes about the founding of Israel expose racist understandings about the supposed nature of Palestinians and Arabs (as backwards, queered and so on) and Thirdly, how these projections in the two previous sections about Israeli ingenuity and the supposed natural inferiority of Palestinians and Arabs informs current ecological mal/development in Israel and Palestine.
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.
Buchbinder, Eli, and Nisreen George Karayanni. “Rejection and Choice: Arab Battered Women Coping with Stigmatization After Leaving Battered Women’s Shelters in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work 24.3 (2015): 235-50.
In the collectivist Arab society, intimate partner violence (IPV) is considered to be a personal and a family problem. Arab women who seek refuge in shelters for battered women are perceived as violating a cultural norm. This study focused on how Arab women cope with living independently in the community after spending time in a shelter. In this qualitative study, 12 women between the ages of 25 and 42 were interviewed, after having spent six to 30 months in the shelter. Since then, they had been living in the community. Analysis of the interviews revealed that the women described their independent lives as positioned between two poles: On one pole, they experienced stress and rejection from the family and society, which caused them pain, anger, and loneliness. On the other pole, the women experienced strength that enabled them to find meaning in their right to choose. The discussion of the study findings focuses on the dialectical relationships between the social stigma of rejection and the women’s self-transformation toward an empowered identity in the context of a collectivist-patriarchal community.
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.
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.
Lahad, Kinneret, and Avi Shoshana. “Singlehood in Treatment: Interrogating the Discursive Alliance between Postfeminism and Therapeutic Culture.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22.3 (2015): 334-49.
This article offers a critical discourse analysis of the Israeli television series In Treatment. The series unfolds the therapy sessions of a 40-year-old single female attorney with her therapist. The main objective of the study was to identify the scripted tactics or narrative strategies that establish and maintain singlehood. The findings indicate that the therapeutic discourse plays a central role in the construction and interpretation of single women’s subjectivities, prompting a narrative that encourages the ‘discarding’ of singlehood as well as therapeutic work slanted towards a more familial and maternally oriented subjectivity. This narrative unfolds through two dominant scripted tactics: the symbolic annihilation of singlehood and the construction of feminine identity hierarchies (what the authors term ‘hierarchies of happy endings’). Moreover, it is also prompted by the discursive alliance between the therapeutic discourse and the postfeminist discourse. Consequently, long-term singlehood is portrayed as an unnatural and pathological life script characterized by its lack and deficiency. Furthermore, as opposed to childless singlehood, single motherhood by choice emerges as a preferred and desirable life option. The category of single motherhood is endowed with new forms of legitimacy, reinforcing new-old patriarchal and postfeminist conceptions of women’s reproductive potential and what is considered to be women’s primary life purpose.
This article explores how material and ideological forms of social exclusion manifest at the borders of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and play out in the walking patterns of surrounding (non-Ultra-Orthodox) populations. It is based on a pilot study that uses a mixed methods design consisting of mental maps and questionnaires to examine how (particularly female) residents living in close proximity to Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods perceive these spaces, experience themselves in relation to the gender norms reproduced there and make wayfinding choices accordingly. This study builds on previous ones that have explored both the contested terrain of Jerusalem’s city center and the dynamic relationship between the social and the spatial to include a discussion of how religiosity and cultural politics express themselves in the commonplace, embodied act of the female pedestrian.
This paper analyzes the construction of incidents of gang rape in Israeli newspapers between the years 2000 and 2010. The study examines the differences between the news media framing of gang rape and individual rape. Results indicate that the coverage of gang rape significantly differs from that of individual rape. Newspaper coverage over-emphasizes instances of gang rape in relation to individual occurrences of rape by means of sensational headlines and “yellow” journalism. Moreover, the construction of gang rape reflects a convergence of gender, race, and class oppression through the blaming and marginalizing of victims, criminalizing rapists from socially marginal groups, and absolving offenders most closely associated with the upper middle class. These findings suggest that the Israeli media play a key role in perpetuating patriarchal hegemony and social inequality.
About 330,000 of partial Jews and gentiles have moved to Israel after 1990 under the Law of Return. The article is based on interviews with middle-aged gentile spouses of Jewish immigrants, aiming to capture their perspective on integration and citizenship in the new homeland where they are ethnic minority. Slavic wives of Jewish men manifested greater malleability and adopted new lifestyles more readily than did Slavic husbands of Jewish women, particularly in relation to Israeli holidays and domestic customs. Most women considered formal conversion as a way to symbolically join the Jewish people, while no men pondered over this path to full Israeli citizenship. Women’s perceptions of the IDF and military service of their children were idealistic and patriotic, while men’s perceptions were more critical and pragmatic. We conclude that women have a higher stake at joining the mainstream due to their family commitments and matrilineal transmission of Jewishness to children. Men’s hegemony in the family and in the social hierarchy of citizenship attenuates their drive for cultural adaptation and enables rather critical stance toward Israeli society. Cultural politics of belonging, therefore, reflect the gendered norms of inclusion in the nation-state.
Free Zone (Amos Gitai, 2005); The Lemon Tree (Eran Riklis, 2008) and Syrian Bride (Eran Riklis, 2004), explore the Arab-Israeli conflict through women’s experience of the political and military stalemate. In presenting Palestinian, Druze, and Israeli women, these filmmakers attempt to contrast and compare women’s shared encounters, including their experience of patriarchy. While the characters may come from diametrically opposed sides, their experiences as women occlude their political differences. In these films, women are foregrounded within the plot, and have agency over their actions if not their situations. Rejecting the masculine frame that has governed representations of the conflict, these filmmakers demonstrate a new kind of approach in Israeli film that considers feminist aesthetics in the construction of character and plot, as well as the treatment of women’s physicality, gaze, territoriality, and agency.
In the past, women may have been afraid to approach the court because they thought it would harm their family’s reputation and honor. Parents would have also discouraged such a move.
This paper features the stories of fifty-four Palestinian Muslim women who appealed to the sharia court in West Jerusalem during the years 1996-1999. The women came to the courts to claim material support (nafaqa) from their husbands. Women sued their husbands for several reasons, the most prominent being: interference in the couple’s life from the husband’s family, violence on the part the husband, economic hardship, and immoral behaviour of the husband.
Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World