ToC: Israel Studies 22.2 (2017)

Israel Studies 22.2 (2017)

Table of Contents

    Special Section: Religion And Ethnicity


New Article: Kaufman, Peace as Opportunity for Social Justice

Kaufman, Roni. “Peace as Opportunity for Social Justice: Establishment of New Social Change Organizations in Israel in the Wake of the Oslo Peace Accords.” International Social Work (early view; online first).




The social work profession is committed to the promotion of peace and social justice. It is often assumed that peacetime enables diverting resources and attention to the promotion of disadvantaged groups. However, little is known about the mechanisms. This study of the Israeli experience following the Oslo Peace Accords suggests that one potential mechanism is the development of social change organizations (SCOs) in the wake of peace. Findings indicate growth in SCO establishment in the periphery and small towns, in vulnerable groups, and in the Israeli Palestinian (Arab) citizen minority group. Implications for social work are suggested.



New Book: Levine, Center and Periphery in Israeli Literature (in Hebrew)

Levine, Daphna. The Third Space. Center and Periphery in Israeli Literature. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016 (in Hebrew).


ניתוח ספרות בכלים מרחביים הוא אתר בלתי נדלה להבנת המורכבות החברתית העומדת בבסיס הייצוגים התרבותיים. מטרתו של ספר זה לשרטט את המרחב המופיע כרקע, להפוך אותו לרטורי ולחשוף באמצעותו רכיבים שהטקסטים הספרותיים מבקשים להדחיק. הדיון בכלים מתחום חקר המרחב הנו פורה במיוחד בהקשר של הספרות הישראלית, שכן ספרות זו נכתבת במסגרת השיח הציוני שמאבק מרחבי מתמיד מתחולל בו. אולם הדיון פורה לא רק כשהספרות שותפה לפרויקט של רכישת הבעלות על הטריטוריה, אלא גם כשהיא מתנערת כביכול מהטריטוריה ומתרכזת באינדיבידואל, במרכז או במערב, תוך כדי הדחקה והשתקה של המרחב ה”אחר”, או תוך כדי יצירת רב-תרבותיות ופוליפוניה אתנית מדומה. או-אז מתגלה המרחב המדומיין כתמונת ראי ליחסי כוח בין מרכז לפריפריה.

הייצוגים המרחביים הספרותיים מאפשרים לבחון כיצד מתעצבות תרבויות מוכפפות תוך כדי הפנמה של ערכי התרבות ההגמונית, תהליך המלווה ביצירת מרחב (פיזי ולשוני) היברידי שלישי שבו מובנת זהותם תוך כדי “זיהום הדדי”, על פי מונחיו של הומי באבא. יחסי הגומלין בין המרכז והפריפריה יופיעו בספר זה כאתר דינמי הנמתח מעבר לדיכוטומיות הבינאריות, תוך כדי ניתוח לא צפוי של שלוש יצירות ישראליות: “חמסין וציפורים משוגעות” מאת גבריאלה אביגור-רותם, “שום גמדים לא יבואו” מאת שרה שילה, ו”ככה אני מדברת עם הרוח” מאת סמי ברדוגו.

דפנה לוין היא אדריכלית; בוגרת המחלקה לארכיטקטורה באקדמיה “בצלאל” ומלמדת בה; בעלת תואר ראשון ושני בספרות כללית והשוואתית באוניברסיטה העברית.




New book: Khattab et al, Socioeconomic Inequality in Israel

Khattab, Nabil, Sami Miaari, and Haya Stier, eds. Socioeconomic Inequality in Israel. A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.



This volume addresses different aspects and areas of inequality in Israel, a country characterized by high levels of economic inequality, poverty, and social diversity. The book expands on the mechanisms that produce and maintain inequality, and the role of state policies in influencing those mechanisms.


Table of Contents

The Correlates of Household Debt in Late Life
Lewin-Epstein, Noah (et al.)
Pages 13-40

Household Inequality and the Contribution of Spousal Correlations
Plaut, Pnina O. (et al.)
Pages 41-57

Religious Schooling, Secular Schooling, and Household Income Inequality in Israel
Kimhi, Ayal (et al.)
Pages 59-72

First-Generation College Students in an Expanded and Diversified Higher Education System: The Case of Israel
Ayalon, Hanna (et al.)
Pages 75-96

Ethno-Religious Hierarchy in Educational Achievement and Socioeconomic Status in Israel: A Historical Perspective
Friedlander, Dov (et al.)
Pages 97-121

Overqualification and Wage Penalties among Immigrants, Native Minorities, and Majority Ethnic Groups
Khattab, Nabil (et al.)
Pages 123-149

The Gender Revolution in Israel: Progress and Stagnation
Mandel, Hadas (et al.)
Pages 153-184

Gender Earnings Gaps in Ethnic and Religious Groups in Israel
Kraus, Vered (et al.)
Pages 185-204

The Role of Peripheriality and Ethnic Segregation in Arabs’ Integration into the Israeli Labor Market
Schnell, Izhak (et al.)
Pages 207-224

Horizontal Inequality in Israel’s Welfare State: Do Arab Citizens Receive Fewer Transfer Payments?
Shalev, Michael (et al.)
Pages 225-252


New Article: Sofer & Saada, Women Entrepreneurs in the Rural Space in Israel

Sofer, Michael, and Tzipi Saada. “Women Entrepreneurs in the Rural Space in Israel: Catalysts and Obstacles to Enterprise Development.” Sociologia Ruralis (early view; online first).





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.




New Article: Gonen, Widespread and Diverse Forms of Gentrification in Israel

Gonen, Amiram. “Widespread and Diverse Forms of Gentrification in Israel.” In Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (ed. Loretta Lees,Hyun Bang Shin,and Ernesto Lopez-Morales; Bristol, UK and Chicago, IL: Policy Press, 2015): 143-63.




My ongoing observations over the last three decades on patterns of gentrification in Israeli inner cities, suburban towns and rural communities have led me to view gentrification from a different geographical perspective to the one shared by many Western researchers writing on gentrification. Research on gentrification originated in the heart of some Western cities and, therefore, gentrification was often characterised as primarily an inner-urban phenomenon. It was first observed and defined in an academic fashion in inner London and subsequently studied in the 1980s and early 1990s in the inner city of some North American and British cities. Indeed, the settling of middle class households in lower-social class neighbourhoods of the inner city has achieved sizeable proportions in Western cities since the 1970s.


The Israeli experience raises the issue of the need to widen the scope of the term ‘gentrification’ beyond lower-class neighbourhoods. This definitional widening is especially relevant to middle-class neighbourhoods in the inner city that have undergone some social downscaling, later reversed due to the return of middle-class households. I suggest that this return of such neighbourhoods to being again solidly middle-class areas should be included within the definition of gentrification as a special category of ‘regentrification’, added to the one proposed as ‘supergentrification’ for the further gentrification of already-gentrified neighbourhoods by the very rich global elites.



New Article: Waterman, Ideology and Events in Israeli Human Landscape Revisited

Waterman, Stanley. “Ideology and Events in Israeli Human Landscape Revisited.” Jewish Journal of Sociology 57.1-2 (2015).





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?



New Article: Rebhun and Brown, Patterns of Urban/Rural Migration in Israel

Rebhun, Uzi, David L. Brown. “Patterns and selectivities of urban/rural migration in Israel.” Demographic Research 33.5 (2015): 113-44.






Background: Movement from one type of area to another attests to factors of distance, socioeconomic barriers, and heterogeneity. Movement between two localities of one type entails fewer and different types of changes.

Objective: We examine urban-rural migration in Israel, a country that has experienced extensive development outside of its major cities.

Methods: We first describe and compare the urban and rural migration patterns of Jews and non-Jews. However, due to the small number of non-Jewish migrants in the 2008 census data set, the explanatory analysis focuses solely on Jews, probing the characteristics of migrants and non-migrants and differentiating among the former by whether migration is between urban and rural places, or among urban or rural areas.

Results: Examination of migration over five years points to a strong tendency to change residence, often involving a change of residence type. Urban-rural migration emphasizes the importance of specific individual characteristics and reflects the impact of life course and sociodemographic characteristics. We found a favorable sociodemographic profile of persons who leave the city for rural places, and a somewhat less favorable profile of people who are likely to move in the opposite direction. Migrants who move within settlement types are also somewhat more highly selected than persons moving toward cities.

Conclusions: Urban-rural population exchanges among Jews in Israel, while generally in accord with studies in other countries, tend to be less definite with respect to educational attainment and age.

Comments: Regardless of these differences, urban-rural exchanges of Jewish population in Israel are not a random process.



New Article: Schnell et al, Entrepreneurship in the Periphery and Local Growth: The Case of Northern Israel

Schnell, Izhak, Zeev Greenberg, Sara Arnon, and Shmuel Shamai. “Entrepreneurship in the Periphery and Local Growth: The Case of Northern Israel.” GeoJournal (early view; online first).





Entrepreneurship in the northern periphery in Israel should be viewed as a response to the crisis in rural agriculture during the 1980’s. Most entrepreneurs left their farms for salaried employment for a few years and they took professional courses in order to learn necessary skills before they opened their enterprises. They have developed new small entreprizes using local resources at times informally as means to reduce risks and they specialize mainly in internal tourism and construction related branches. While Jewish entrepreneurs develop mainly tourism activities oriented toward the national market, Arab entrepreneurs develop mainly construction related branches to local and home regional markets. Both represent two styles of peripheral activities. It seems that both styles has only limited potential to overcome their marginality.



New Article: Bijaoui & Regev, Entrepreneurship and Viral Development in Rural Western Negev in Israel

Bijaoui, Ilan, and David Regev. “Entrepreneurship and Viral Development in Rural Western Negev in Israel.” Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship 17.1 (2015): 54-66.





This paper aims to focus on two main and related issues: evaluating whether the required entrepreneurial capabilities are present according to Gladwell’s law of the few in the Western Negev region of Israel and identifying the economic development model that can generate a viral development.

In this paper, McClelland’s classification was used to evaluate the level of motivation in the region and Gladwell’s law of the few classification was used to understand the potentially positive effect of each entrepreneur on the others and on economic development in general. To evaluate the personal and business capabilities of each entrepreneur, two groups of parameters, one describing the personal profile and the other describing the business behavior of the entrepreneurs, were used.

Most entrepreneurs are ready to cooperate with the open incubator and to contribute to generating common business interest, but mavens and connectors have few of the required personal characteristics and business attitudes. Only the salesmen have the required personal profile, but they lack the necessary business attitude. Highly motivated entrepreneurs, at need-for-power level, have both the required personal profile and business attitude. They are the ones who could generate growth, and a portion of them have the characteristics to become mavens, connectors and salesmen.

Practical implications
The willingness to cooperate with a neutral organization and generate common economic interest is present in the Western Negev, but the following actions are required to achieve viral development: persuade and support entrepreneurs at the highest level of motivation to be a part of the few, i.e. mavens, connectors and salesmen; improve the business attitude of mavens, connectors and salesmen; and plan the work program of the open incubator in cooperation with entrepreneurs at the need-for-power level: mavens, connectors and salesmen.

Viral economic development can occur if the few mavens, connectors and salesmen in a given sector or region have the required positive personal profile and business attitude, and if most of the entrepreneurs are ready to cooperate with a neutral organization, the open incubator and join efforts with others to generate new common business interests.



New Article: Voller, Israeli Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Voller, Yaniv. “From Periphery to the Moderates: Israeli Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East.” Political Science Quarterly 130.3 (2015): 505-35.





In short, then, aspects of continuity in Israeli foreign policy have been far greater than what most analysts and commentators have assumed. Even more importantly, they have been as great, or even greater, than aspects of change. The moderate axis conception has meant that different actors now assume different roles—past radicals have now turned into the moderates. The center, in turn, has been occupied by a new force: radical Islamism. This new threat has steered the Middle East into a new era of uncertainty and struggle. Nonetheless, the essence of the periphery doctrine has survived the transitions. In spite of shifts in the regional balance of power and the new political dynamics, of which Israel has been an inseparable part, Israel still views itself as a peripheral actor, facing constant pressures from the center. The moderate axis conception embodies this as the moderate regimes have come to be seen in these terms as well.

The still-unfolding events of the Arab Spring mark a turning point in regional geopolitics. As violence still rages in Syria, and as the Egyptian army struggles to consolidate its power vis-à-vis the various Islamist factions in the country, it is still hard to envision the future political map of the Middle East. Nevertheless, we can assume that some important changes may take place. Israel may be slow to respond to such changes, as happened in the transition from the periphery doctrine to the moderate axis conception. Or it may learn the lessons and quickly reassess its old commitments and agendas. If there is one thing we can learn from Israel’s policymaking and its responses to changing regional threats, it is that the actions and decisions of Israeli foreign policymakers will continue to be percolated through its identity and self-perception. Whether these are going to change is as difficult to determine as the future of the Middle East.



New Article: Moran et al, Socioeconomic and Spatial Dimensions of Adolescent Obesity

Moran, Mika, R. Goldblatt, P. Plaut, R. Endevelt, and O. Baron-Epel. “The Socioeconomic and Spatial Dimensions of Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: The Case of Arab and Jewish Towns in Israel.” Journal of Environment and Health Sciences (early view; online first).





Childhood and adolescent overweight/obesity is a major burden on public health worldwide. A growing body of empirical evidence highlights the impact of community characteristics of childhood obesity. This study explored socioeconomic and spatial variations of adolescent overweight/obesity in Israel by using an ecological approach. Towns’ socioeconomic and spatial characteristics were found associated with adolescent overweight/obesity in opposite directions in Jewish and Arab towns. Adolescent overweight/obesity was found to be more prevalent in Jewish towns characterized by lower socioeconomic rank (SER) and higher peripherality levels and in Arab towns characterized by higher SER and lower peripheraliy levels. Additionally, inequalities were found to be positively related to adolescent overweight/obesity in Jewish towns. After adjusting for SER, the associations between peripherality and adolescent overweight/obesity were attuned in Jewish towns, but not in Arab towns. These findings correspond with the literature, as the results obtained for the Jewish and Arab towns are consistent with studies conducted in developed and in developing countries, respectively. Therefore, the findings highlight the importance of macro level factors enhancing obesity, and suggest that national policy may benefit from town-level interventions addressing adolescent overweight/ obesity. Several explanations to the study’s findings are discussed, involving social, environmental and individual factors.

New Book: Friedman-Peleg, A Nation on the Couch. The Politics of Trauma in Israel (in Hebrew)

פרידמן-פלג, קרן. העם על הספה. הפוליטיקה של הטראומה בישראל, ספריית אשכולות. ירושלים: מאגנס, 2014.







This book is an invitation to observe the practice of one of the most dominant communities in Israel, and yet one of its most closed ones: the therapeutic community. Through a four-year anthropological field work (2004-2008) among two of the most prominent associations in Israel – Natal (“Israel’s Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War”) and the “Israel Trauma Coalition” – the chapters of this book trace the inevitable intersection between professional questions of clinical diagnosis, treatment and prevention of PTSD in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict with political question of group identity and power relations: what differences exist between therapists on the meaning of traumatic experiences and its moral boundaries? What consensus is reached regarding practices of aid and funds allocation, and what is the connection between it and the questions of group identity; including political, ethnic, and social class aspects?

This ethnographic journey will shed light on the development of politics around the therapeutic practice of trauma in two sequential instances: (1) the institutional instance will address the establishment of a new therapeutic home, through the extraordinary juncture of therapists, donors and advertisers; (2) the professional instance will present the branching of four circles of therapeutic occupation of trauma: the “clinical core” among soldiers; the practice of the tense relationship between “primary” trauma of a man and the “secondary” trauma of a woman, his spouse; the growing distance from the “clinical mothership,” for the sake of intervention among “risk groups” from Be’er-Sheva in the South to Daliyat al-Karmel in the north; and the emphasis on the prevention of trauma, through activities such as “strength and immunity” in Sderot. These examinations will demonstrate how the therapeutic practice is far from representing a single objective reality with a clear professional truth. Instead, it will reveal the existence of a polyphonic and multi-participant network of reciprocities surrounding the therapeutic practice of trauma, between various social locations and diverse worldviews.

New Article: Mendelson-Maoz, Shimon Adaf and the Peripheral Novel

Mendelson-Maoz, Adia. “Shimon Adaf and the Peripheral Novel.” Journal of Jewish Identities 7.2 (2014): 1-13.





In the 1950s, the vast waves of emigration of Jews from Arabic-speaking countries to Israel created a need to house all the newcomers and impelled the new state to confront problems of infrastructure. Initially, the newcomers were housed inmahanot olim (immigrant camps) and later inma’abarot (transit camps.)

Early on, permanent housing was offered to immigrants in Arab neighborhoods and towns that had been vacated after the 1948 war, and later, development towns were constructed to house them. The population dispersal policy aimed to build a series of development towns in peripheral areas in Israel that had been sparsely occupied by Jews; towns such as Be-er Sheva and Ashkelon were classified as development towns. In Acre, Beit She-an, Ramla, and Lod, immigrants were housed in Arab neighborhoods evacuated during the 1948 war; later these towns were also classified as development towns. Some transit camps were transformed into development towns, including Kiryat Shmona, Or Akiva, Kiryat Malichi, and Sderot; from 1955 on, new development towns were built, including Shlomi, Ma-alot, Dimona, Kiryat Gat, and Ashdod. Some immigrants were sent to settle there immediately upon their arrival in Israel. The population dispersal policy incorporated plans for expanding the economic infrastructures that were later deferred, however, due to the country’s economic crisis. As a result, the overall planning of the development towns was only partially implemented and although population planning was successful, the economic infrastructure was never put into place. Moreover, the small older communities adjacent to the development towns refused to collaborate. Thus, the dispersal of the population that should have resulted in integration led to its diametric opposite: immigrants found themselves stranded in outlying regions, without resources, with high unemployment rates, and few if any municipal services. The school system was less than perfect and the development towns failed to overcome their economic distress.

The canonical Hebrew literature that revolved in the twentieth century around the creation of the “New Jew” and the Sabra image of the native Israeli—who was usually of Ashkenazi origin—chose to locate its protagonists in utopian spaces such as the kibbutz, the moshav, and Jewish cities. Israeli spaces such as transit camps, downtrodden neighborhoods, and development towns were rarely mentioned.

In the 1960s, Shimon Ballas’s Ha-ma-abara (The Transit Camp; 1964) was the first to portray the transit camps. The novel describes immigrants from Iraq, living temporarily in the Oriya transit camp, who have no sense of belonging, and are plunged into helplessness. In addition to this novel, other literary works described the harsh conditions in the transit camps, including Sami Michael’s Shavim ve-shavim yoter (All Men Are Equal, But Some Are More So; 1974), and Lev Hakak’s Ha-asufim (Stranger among Brothers; 1977.) In Batya Shimoni’s study of transit camp stories, she presents the ma-abara (transit camp) as a liminal space, a location neither here nor there, where the traits of the past no longer exist but those of the future have not yet formed. She maintains that “the transit camp’s central, most prominent quality in all the literary works is that it is ex-territorial,”5 a space viewed as a “non-place,” detached and isolated, a place of mud, dirt, and death, that is often interspersed with a sense of entrapment; the feeling that there is no way out for the protagonists.



Reviews: Tzfadia and Yacobi, Rethinking Israeli Space

Tzfadia, Erez and Haim Yacobi. Rethinking Israeli Space. Periphery and Identity. Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2011.


  • Mazza, Roberto. “Review.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44.2 (2012): 374-376.