Bulletin: Aliyah, Immigration, Refugees and Trafficking

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Reviews

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Theses

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Thesis: Cohen, Israeli Judges in a Jewish State and the Decline of Refugee Protection

Cohen, Iftach. Israeli Judges in a Jewish State and the Decline of Refugee Protection, LL.M. Thesis. Florence: European University Institute, 2015.
 
URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/39068/2015_Cohen_LLM.pdf (PDF)
 
Abstract

In this L.L.M thesis I am following a number of eminent scholars who have attributed those ideological and political motivations to the mainly Jewish and Israeli actors who devote themselves to the furthering of the uniqueness thesis in their respective fields of knowledge. In my view, from the culmination of those corresponsive activities emerges a pattern that can and should be applied to the Israeli judges in their abnormal reluctance from interfering in administrative decisions by recognizing present day asylum seekers as refugees.

In the larger scope, there is a lot in common between Jewish and Jewish-Israeli historians, diplomats or museum directors, with their persistent effort to reject the calls of other victim-groups for recognition of their own tragedy as a genuine genocide, and the Israeli judges that in the same vain derogate from the constitutive theoretical principles of their field of work when it comes to the dealing with the Holocaust.

As much as the Jewish-Israeli genocide scholar may fear the decline in value, morally and politically, of the Holocaust, as a result of possible recognition of other tragedies as additional valid examples in line with the Holocaust, which all belong to the general category of the definition ‘genocide’, the Israeli judge must also believe that the Holocaust would lose its uniqueness if the legal definition of ‘refugee’ is applied to the situation of contemporary asylum seekers. Conceptually situating them in the same group of the Jewish -refugees who fled from Nazi-Germany, might then dissipate the “Israeli advantage” in “justifiably” keeping the whole moral capital to itself.

In the second chapter I shall present and elaborate about the Holocaust’s uniqueness thesis, and its promotion by its proponents in different fields, and especially within history studies.

What might make the definition ‘refugee’ intimately associated with the Holocaust in the Israeli judges’ mind is the Jewish context of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and the conventional wisdom about Israel’s historical commitment to the refugee protection regime it has established. For them, the Refugee Convention connotes so strongly to the Holocaust, that when they examine its applicability and implementation in a specific case, the memory of the Jewish-refugee who fled his Nazi perpetrators is being instantly evoked. In other words, the Jewish context of the Convention serves as a nexus between the Holocaust with its Jewish refugees and the contemporary forms of persecution and the refugees resulting from them. Rather than considering the international refugee law as their only valid point of reference, the judges are more attached – consciously or not – to the Holocaust framework and to what lies at its center, the Holocaust’s uniqueness. Compelled by the ideological imperative to distinguish the Holocaust from any other historical atrocity, and so to avoid such possible implication if comparing the legal situation of the Holocaust’s refugees to the contemporary asylum seekers, the judges seem to mistake the unique form of persecution witnessed by the Jewish-refugees for the actual yardstick with which to measure the appellant’s entitlement for the refugee status.

In the third chapter I examine the involvement of Israel and Jewish organizations in the drafting and acceptance of the Refugee Convention, as well as the sources for the conventional wisdom about Israel’s historical commitment to the Convention, and its fallacy.

In the last chapter of this thesis I conduct an analysis of the figurative language used by the judges in trying to establish – through the allusions occasionally made by them to the Holocaust at large and more commonly to the Jewish context of the Refugee Convention – that when thinking about the asylum seeker appellant standing before them, they also bear in mind a phantom of the Jewish refugee, whose suffering’s magnitude overshadows any possible fear of being prosecuted proclaimed by the actual appellant. Since present day asylum seekers do not withstand the unique standards of persecution witnessed by those poor phantoms of Jewish refugees, their asylum claims are inevitably being discarded and consequently they all pass for nothing but mere economical migrants, a fact that is exemplified in the inexistent refugee recognition rate both at first instance and at the Court level.

 

 

 

New Article: Shechory-Bitton & Soen, The Refugee Problem as Perceived by Israeli Residents

Shechory-Bitton, Mally, and Dan Soen. “Community Cohesion, Sense of Threat, and Fear of Crime: The Refugee Problem as Perceived by Israeli Residents.” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15377938.2016.1187237

 

Abstract

The study deals with the concentration of African refugees in southern Tel-Aviv neighborhoods. It analyzes the impact of this situation on Israeli residents’ perception of their neighborhood. Based on a sample of 214 people four analyses were conducted: (1) symbolic and real threat felt by the residents; (2) fear of crime, neighborhood disorder, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness; (3) objective exposure; (4) distress. Distress in the neighborhood was found to be a function of fear of crime, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness. Perceptions of symbolic threat play a much more important role than real feelings of threat or fear of socio-economic competition. Likewise, it was found that African refugees are perceived as a threat to the cultural and national homogeneity of Jewish Israeli residents.

 
 
 

New Article: Lavie-Ajayi, Resilience among Asylum Seekers from Darfur in Israel

Lavie-Ajayi, Maya. “A Qualitative Study of Resilience among Asylum Seekers from Darfur in Israel.” Qualitative Social Work (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473325016649256

 
Abstract

We know more about the experiences of trauma, despair, and abuse of asylum seekers and refugees than we do of their resilience, strength, and active struggle to survive and succeed. This article explores stories narrated by asylum seekers from Darfur, Sudan, currently residing in Israel, to learn about their forms and sources of strength, resilience, and coping mechanisms. In-depth, semi-structured group interviews were conducted in Hebrew and in English with eight single men, aged between the ages 27 and 38, who had lived in Israel for between four and seven years. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the data analyzed by analytic induction and constant comparison strategies. Six factors were identified, from the interviewees’ perspective, as contributing to their resilience: cognitive coping strategies, behavioral coping strategies, the ability to work, the ability to study and educate oneself, the support of family and friends, and social and political activism. This study corroborates existing literature by identifying personal strategies and social support as important to resilience of refugees; however, and unlike other studies, we did not find religion as an important factor from our interviewees’ perspective. We have thus expanded the existing literature by identifying the ability to work and the ability to study as important factors contributing to the resilience of refugees.

 

 

New Article: Heian-Engdal, Efforts to Release Blocked Palestinian Bank Accounts of 1948

Heian-Engdal, Marte. “‘A Source of Considerable Annoyance’: An Israeli–Palestinian Backchannel in the Efforts to Release the Blocked Palestinian Bank Accounts.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13530194.2016.1170590

 

Abstract

In addition to the great emotional toll that the Nakba inflicted on the Palestinian people, the 1948 exodus occasioned substantial material losses for the refugees as well. As the 1948 War ground to a halt, the international community had to decide how to deal with all of this, and in the early 1950s the matter of the so-called ‘blocked’—or frozen—Palestinian bank accounts became one of the main issues on the UN Palestine Conciliation Commission’s agenda. Initially, its effort included the government of Israel and the British-owned Barclays Bank. As things progressed, however, Israeli diplomats also engaged a group of Palestinian refugees in an informal backchannel. This article sheds light on this largely overlooked episode and shows how the channel was established, and how the Palestinian group faced nothing but strong international opposition, most notably from the British Foreign Office. Protecting the interests of its regional ally Jordan, as well as those of Barclays Bank, the Foreign Office did what it could in order to make sure that this particular Israeli–Palestinian backchannel was promptly closed.

 

 

 

New Book: Waldman, Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem

Waldman, Simon A. Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1948-51. Basingstoke, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

9781137431516

This volume examines British and US attitudes towards the means and mechanisms for the facilitation of an Arab-Israeli reconciliation, focusing specifically on the refugee factor in diplomatic initiatives. It explains why Britain and the US were unable to reconcile the local parties to an agreement on the future of the Palestinian refugees.

Table of contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Introduction: The Palestinian Refugee Problem as an Impediment to Peace
  • 1. The Palestine Factor in Anglo-American Post-War Middle Eastern Policy, 1945–48
  • 2. Friends Reunited? Britain and the US Respond to the Palestinian Refugee Problem
  • 3. Diplomatic Deadlock: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 1)
  • 4. Economics over Politics: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 2)
  • 5. Compensation: The Key to Break the Logjam?
  • 6. The Refugee Factor in Direct Arab-Israeli Negotiations
  • 7. The Birth of UNRWA: The Institutionalization of Failed Diplomacy
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

 

SIMON A. WALDMAN is Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, UK. He teaches the Arab-Israeli Conflict, statebuilding in the Middle East and Turkish history and politics.

 
See also: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/9781137431523
 

 

 

New Article: Kallius et al, Politics of the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Hungary

Kallius, Annastiina, Daniel Monterescu, and Prem Kumar Rajaram. “Immobilizing Mobility: Border Ethnography, Illiberal Democracy, and the Politics of the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Hungary.” American Ethnologist (early view; online first).

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/amet.12260

 

Abstract

In the summer of 2015, more than 350,000 migrants moved through Hungarian territory. Almost immediately there emerged in response a dialectic between, on the one hand, depoliticizing narratives of crisis that sought to immobilize the migrants and, on the other, concrete political mobilization that sought to facilitate their mobility. While state institutions and humanitarian volunteer groups framed mobility in terms that emphasized a vertical form of politics, a horizontal counterpolitics arose by the summer’s end, one that challenged hegemonic territorial politics. The state’s efforts to immobilize resulted only in more radical forms of mobility. Outlining an ethnography of mobility, immobilization, and cross-border activism, we follow the dramatic yet momentary presence, and subsequent absence, of migrants in an evanescent rebel city marked by novel political solidarities.

 

 

 

New Article: Kohn, Refugee Camp Narratives

Kohn, Ayelet. “Refugee Camp Narratives: The Role of ‘Eye-Witness Testimony’ in Journalists’ Travel Accounts.” Current Sociology 64.1 (2016): 83-100.

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0011392115587748

 

Extract

This article examines three narrative formats which Israeli journalists use to describe their tours in Palestinian refugee camps. The article aims to suggest possibilities for reporting patterns, carefully framing a sense of urgency, which attempt to form a right measure of proximity and distance from the sufferers which might motivate audiences into action. The discussion focuses on three narratives, one literary and the other an article which was published in a popular Israeli journal, both unique in their deliberate emphasis on writing style and their reflection of the ongoing tension between the reporters’ professional, creative and national identities. The third format is a testimony, given by the narrator in Ari Folman’s animated film Waltz with Bashir (2008). The film ends with a few minutes of documented events, filmed at Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon in 1982. While all three narratives use direct showing, personal testimonies and a variety of written, illustrated and photographed portraits, the written narratives focus on the reporters’ central role and on the Israeli readers, while Waltz with Bashir challenges the possible feeling of guilt on the Israeli side and invokes the viewer’s human empathy through a direct encounter with personal comments and shocking images.

 

 

 

New Article: Hochman, Framing and Attitudes Toward Asylum Seekers in Israel

Hochman, Oshrat. “Infiltrators or Asylum Seekers? Framing and Attitudes Toward Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 13.4 (2015): 358-78.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2014.982779

 

Extract

This study asks whether framing asylum seekers in Israel as “infiltrators” posing threats to the country amplifies exclusion toward them. The term “infiltrators” associates asylum seekers with the anti-infiltration law passed in the 1950s to fight terrorists and dissociates asylum seekers from their unique position as holders of special rights. The term “infiltrators” may thus influence the attitudes of the Israeli public regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. Findings demonstrate that respondents presented with the “infiltrators” frame were more likely to show exclusionary attitudes. Findings additionally show that the framing effect mediates the relation between perceived socioeconomic threat and exclusion.

 

 

 

New Article: Müller, Realizing Concrete Rights within the Israeli Asylum Regime

Müller, Tanja R. “Acts of Citizenship as a Politics of Resistance? Reflections on Realizing Concrete Rights within the Israeli Asylum Regime.” Citizenship Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2015.1104291

Abstract

This paper investigates how Eritrean refugees in Israel and civil society organisations who engage with refugee issues contest the exclusionary politics of asylum in Israel. It presents various acts of claims-making initiated by Eritrean refugees themselves or in response to hostility by others, as well as acts inaugurated by Israeli civil society organisations on behalf of or with refugee populations. Drawing on the concept of activist acts of citizenship developed by Engin Isin, the paper subsequently analyses to what degree those acts have redefined aspects of social and political membership for Eritrean refugees in Israel. In a further step, it shows the limitations of such acts in terms of developing a solidaristic refugee-citizen agenda that profoundly challenges hegemonic public discourse and political debate. The paper concludes by arguing that activist acts of citizenship are best studied in relation to the transformative power they may have on the various individuals engaging in them, but not as a strategy for a wider politics of resistance, as ultimately nation state politics continue to determine the actual realisation of concrete rights.

 

 

 

New Article: Ben-Shaul, Israeli and Palestinian Site-Specific Re-enactments

Ben-Shaul, Daphna. “The Performative Return: Israeli and Palestinian Site-Specific Re-enactments.” New Theatre Quarterly 32.1 (2016): 31-48.

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X15000846

 

Abstract

In this article Daphna Ben-Shaul explores politically engaged Israeli and Palestinian site-specific re-enactments that pursue what she terms a ‘performative return’. This includes performed aesthetic and political re-enactments of real-life events, which bring about a re-conceptualization of reality. Three contemporary cases of return are discussed with regard to the historical precedent of Evreinov’s 1920 The Storming of the Winter Palace. The first is an activist, unauthorized return to the village of Iqrit in northern Israel by a group of young Palestinians, whose families were required to leave their homes temporarily in the 1948 war, and have since not been allowed to return. The second is Kibbutz, a project by the Empty House Group, which involved an unauthorized temporary settlement on an abandoned site in Jerusalem. The third is Civil Fast, a twenty-four-hour action by Public Movement, which was hosted mainly on a central public square in Jerusalem, integrated into the urban flow. The article draws attention to the fine line these actions straddle between political activism and aesthetic order, and explores their critical and performative effectiveness. Daphna Ben-Shaul is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, Tel Aviv University. Her current research on site-specific performance in Israel is funded by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation. She is the editor of a book on the Israeli art and performance group Zik (Keter, 2005), and has published articles in major journals.

 

 

 

ToC: Israel Studies 21.1 (2016; Narratives of the 1948 war)

Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2016

Table of Contents

Representations of Israeli-Jewish — Israeli-Palestinian Memory and Historical Narratives of the 1948 War

Edited by Avraham Sela and Alon Kadish

New Article: Fleischman et al, Migration as a Social Determinant of Health for Irregular Migrants

Fleischman, Yonina, Sarah S. Willen, Nadav Davidovitch, and Zohar Mor. “Migration as a Social Determinant of Health for Irregular Migrants: Israel as Case Study.” Social Science & Medicine (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.046

 

Abstract

More than 150,000 irregular migrants reside in Israel, yet data regarding their utilization of and perceived barriers to health care services are limited. Drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted with 35 irregular migrant adults between January and September 2012, this paper analyzes the role of migration as a social determinant of health for irregular migrants, and especially asylum seekers. We analyze two kinds of barriers faced by migrants when they attempt to access health care services: barriers resulting directly from their migration status, and barriers that are common among low-income communities but exacerbated by this status. Migration-related barriers included a lack of clear or consistent legislation; the threat of deportation; the inability to obtain work permits and resulting poverty and harsh living and working conditions; and discrimination. Barriers exacerbated by migrant status included prohibitive cost; poor and confusing organization of services; language barriers; perceived low quality of care; and social isolation. These findings support recent arguments that migrant status itself constitutes a social determinant of health that can intersect with other determinants to adversely affect health care access and health outcomes. Findings suggest that any meaningful effort to improve migrants’ health will depend on the willingness of clinicians, public health officials, and policymakers to address the complex array of upstream political and socio-economic factors that affect migrants’ health rather than focusing on narrower questions of access to health care.

 

 

ToC: Journal of Israeli History 34.2 (2015)

Journal of Israeli History, 34.2 (2015)

No Trinity: The tripartite relations between Agudat Yisrael, the Mizrahi movement, and the Zionist Organization
Daniel Mahla
pages 117-140

Judaism and communism: Hanukkah, Passover, and the Jewish Communists in Mandate Palestine and Israel, 1919–1965
Amir Locker-Biletzki
pages 141-158

Olei Hagardom: Between official and popular memory
Amir Goldstein
pages 159-180

Practices of photography on kibbutz: The case of Eliezer Sklarz
Edna Barromi Perlman
pages 181-203

The Shishakli assault on the Syrian Druze and the Israeli response, January–February 1954
Randall S. Geller
pages 205-220

Book Reviews

Editorial Board

New Book: Rodgers, Headlines from the Holy Land

Rodgers, James. Headlines from the Holy Land: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

 

Rodgers

 

Tied by history, politics, and faith to all corners of the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fascinates and infuriates people across the world. Based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats, Headlines from the Holy Land explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters: those who bring the story to the world. Despite decades of diplomacy, a just and lasting end to the conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve. Inspired by the author’s own experience as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002-2004, and subsequent research, this book draws on the insight of those who have spent years observing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starting from a historical perspective, it identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.

 

Table of Contents

    • Foreword by Rosemary Hollis
    • Acknowledgements
    • Introduction
    • 1 Reporting from the Ruins: The End of the British Mandate and the Creation of the State of Israel
    • 2 Six Days and Seventy-Three
    • 3 Any Journalist Worth Their Salt
    • 4 The Roadmap, Reporting, and Religion
    • 5 Going Back Two Thousand Years All the Time
    • 6 The Ambassador’s Eyes and Ears
    • 7 Social Media: A Real Battleground
    • 8 Holy Land
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index

     

     

Reviews: Tovy, Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Issue

Tovy, Jacob. Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Issue. The Formulation of a Policy, 1948-1956. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

 
9780415659994

 
Reviews

 

 

New Article: Dumper, Refugee Entitlement and the Passing of Time

Dumper, Mick. “Refugee Entitlement and the Passing of Time: Waldron’s Supersession Thesis and the Palestinian Refugee Case.” In Forced Migration, Reconciliation, and Justice (ed. Megan Bradley; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015): 323-44.

 
9780773545175
 

Extract

This is not to say that Zionism as an ideology is unravelling, but more that the current debate in Israel and the Jewish diaspora over its nature reflects these changes in political architecture. And such changes will accelerate after a peace agreement. As Rashid Khalidi points out, a peace agreement will not arrive out of thin air but as part of a dialectical process with Israel, perhaps offering more generous terms resulting in a softening of negative Arab attitudes that in turn will lead to a greater understanding of Israeli security needs and so forth. Of course this dialectic must also be underwritten by an essential component of any agreement: reconciliation. A viable peace agreement between the parties will likely to include clauses detailing a series of reconciliatory steps such as public apologies, a truth commission, commemorations, joint educational programs, and other forms of transnational dialogue. These may erode the high social walls and ideological divide between the protagonists.

Thus, to return to the central question of the impact of changing circumstances, the Palestinian claim for justice needs to be seen in light not only of growing Israeli entitlements but also of the less-than-cataclysmic implications of the demands being made and a dynamic political situation that is broadly leading to greater cooperation and the potential for greater understanding. The Palestinian claim, therefore, can be met if it on one hand is disaggregated, and on the other precipitates a further change in circumstances. A claim that considers the changed nature of the land Palestinian have exiled from, the rights of new generations of Israelis, and the concerns of Israelis to safeguard their Jewish culture, and that devises a series of proposals to respond to these issues, can to some extent square the circle of mutually exclusive Palestinian and Israeli entitlements. At the same time, Israeli Jewish claims based on an exclusivist Zionist ideology will need to be softened in ways in which non-Jews can be embraces so that all Israelis may live and work within a state that is committed to equality and justice for all its citizens.

 

 

New Article: Molloy et al, The Palestinian Refugee Issue

Molloy, Michael, John Bell, Nicole Waintraub, and Ian B. Anderson. “The Palestinian Refugee Issue: Intangible Needs and Moral Acknowledgment .” In Forced Migration, Reconciliation, and Justice (ed. Megan Bradley; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015): 298-322.

 

9780773545175

Extract

The Palestinian refugee issue has long been framed in the West as a humanitarian problem to be resolved through a variety of practical measures. These measures include compensation for losses and suffering as well as providing the refugees with a range of options spelled out in the “parameters” circulated by President Bill Clinton just before the end of his term of office and after the Camp David negotiations failed. These options include return to a new Palestinian state; return to “swapped” areas (i.e., areas of present day Israel that would be ceded to the Palestinian state in return for parts of the West Bank now occupied by Israeli settlements); integration in host countries, Jordan and Syria in particular, where refugees already live; resettlement in western countries; and return of limited numbers and categories of refugees to Israel. From a Palestinian perspective, while practical solutions to their displacement are important, the issue is first and foremost a matter of rights, dignity, and international law. Palestinians view their case as in many ways unique, requiring resolution in accordance with their understanding of their rights as spelled out in UN General Assembly resolution 194 and international instruments like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 13.2) and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the colonization of territory under military occupation.

 

 

New Article: Pasquetti, West Bank and Israeli Palestinians between Closeness and Distance

Pasquetti, Silvia. “Entrapped Transnationalism: West Bank and Israeli Palestinians between Closeness and Distance.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 38.15 (2015): 2738-2753.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2015.1077984

 

Abstract

Studies of transnationalism typically frame it in opposition to the entrapping effects of borders. Yet, for many people, transnationalism is negotiated in contexts marked by forced separation and differential mobility. Drawing on long-term fieldwork among West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, this article explores transnational ties and orientations in relation, not in opposition, to the entrapping effects of borders. Specifically, I examine the two-way traffic in emotions and perceptions that marks family, social and symbolic relationships between West Bank and Israeli Palestinians. I show how entrapping and transnational processes combine to generate a tense interplay between closeness and distance, solidarity and estrangement. The paper calls attention to complex transnational formations among people prone to entrapment such as detained and deported migrants, refugees and minorities divided by rigid borders, and it suggests that a focus on emotions and perceptions is critical if we are to understand such formations.

 

 

Reviews: Meir-Glitzenstein, The “Magic Carpet” Exodus of Yemenite Jewry

Meir-Glitzenstein, Esther. The “Magic Carpet” Exodus of Yemenite Jewry. An Israeli Formative Myth. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2014.

 
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Reviews

See also interview: Lee, Vered. “The Frayed Truth of Operation Magic Carpet.” Haaretz, May 28, 2012 (on Hebrew version).