Secularity among Israel’s Jews retains many elements associated with traditional Judaism. Comprising 80 % of Israel’s Jews, they define themselves as secular but nevertheless “do Judaism” by performing rituals and hold to traditional religious worldviews and values. Such behavior is comprehended in Eisenstadt’s “multiple modernities” as well as Berger’s multiple “altars” and “coexistence.” Such behavior may be explained in a new balance between the traditional triad of Peoplehood/Torah[The Law]/and the Land of Israel that has characterized Judaism through the ages and found expression by a Hebrew-speaking people who imported new and diverse modern concepts and sources of authority in the return to their homeland where they constructed a “Jewish” state of ambiguous meanings.
Beginning in 1997, the Har Hamor Yeshiva, a leading Jerusalem-based institute for Torah learning, has become the center of a unique stream of thought in religious Zionist philosophy. This article examines how religious Zionist yeshivas have developed an educational curriculum that translates theological beliefs and values into political action. The article seeks to evaluate to what extent this ideology and curriculum will be able to survive in a political reality in which the rift between religious and secular Zionism is constantly increasing.
Vyas, Gaurav, Christina Bernardo, Peter Vovsha, Danny Givon, Yehoshua Birotker, Eitan Bluer, and Amir Mossek. “Differences in Travel Behavior Across Population Sectors in Jerusalem, Israel.” Transportation Research Record 2495(2016).
The population of Jerusalem, Israel, can be divided into three distinct ethnic sectors: secular Jewish, ultra-Orthodox Jewish, and Arab. Not only do these population sectors tend to inhabit and work in different areas of the city, but they each have unique household structures, activity patterns, mobility tendencies, and, ultimately, travel behavior. These substantial variations in behavior, largely driven by differences in culture and lifestyle that are not captured by other personal characteristics, are essential to representing travel behavior in the Jerusalem travel model. In this paper, sector differences were traced through the activity-based travel demand model framework by using the 2010 Jerusalem Household Travel Survey. Significant variations in behavior were seen both in direct relation to the population sector and in interactions with other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics such as income and gender. This is the first known travel demand model in practice to incorporate ethnic differences so extensively in its application.
Freud, D., R. Ezrati-Vinacour, and N. Katz-Bernstein. “The Experience of Stuttering among People who Stutter from the Ultra-Orthodox and Secular Community in Israel.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 193 (2015): 304-305.
Stuttering is a disorder which is manifested during a communicational interaction, and is experiential in nature. While the etiology for stuttering is still in question among researchers, most agree that the experience of stuttering may be highly related to various factors, of which environment plays a significant role. The environment of an individual has been described in circles (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), to depict the different layers which encompass the person in his daily life, such as family, friends, educational or work settings and strangers. Beyond those, the largest external circle of Bronfenbrenner (1979), i.e., the macro-system, represents society or culture. The behavior and approach of society to the PWS has been described repeatedly ascrucial towards the quality of life and coping strategies of the PWS. Negative attitudes and stereotypes towards PWS have been reported in several countries from around the world (Kuwait, Turkey, China) and specific behaviors towards PWS within African countries or Indian tribes have been described. Nevertheless, only few researches have explored the experience of stuttering within the social context. The present qualitative study explored the experience of stuttering within two opposing social groups in Israel: the ultra-Orthodox Jews and the secular Jews, in order to characterize the different needs of PWS in these groups and identify differences in their ability to cope with their stuttering, which might be the result of their specific social context. Eight adult PWS were recruited for this study, between the ages of 22-62 years: four ultra-Orthodox Jews and four secular Jews. In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant separately for two hours on average, using a semi-structured format which consisted of nineteen open ended questions. Questions included various topics, e.g. child and adolescence memories of living with stuttering, the influence of stuttering on the individual, self attitudes toward stuttering. After concluding the interviews, a transcript of each interview was achieved and analyzed. Analysis of the transcriptions was performed using concept driven and data driven strategies. Holistic reading of interviews suggested four main dimensions: the experience of stuttering across the life span, coping strategies with the stuttering, the experience of therapy, and personal insights. Each of these was then categorized into categories and sub categories. Initial analysis demonstrated a great emotional content, different anxiety experiences and special speech roles among ultra-orthodox interviewees in comparison to the secular interviewees. Our findings describe the experience of stuttering and its relation to the social context. However, it is also suggested that the experience of stuttering is “universal” and despite the different circumstances, similarities may be found in the individual’s coping strategies and experiences with therapy. Following the presentation of findings, clinical implications will be suggested.
Cohen, Stuart, Aaron Kampinsky, and Elisheva Rosman-Stollman. “Swimming against the Tide: The Changing Functions and Status of Chaplains in the Israel Defense Force.” Religion, State and Society (early view; online first).
This article describes and analyses the changes that have occurred in the services performed by chaplains in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) – the only military in the world that consists almost entirely of Jews. Essentially, we argue, the shift has been one of focus. For many years, IDF chaplains primarily (albeit never exclusively) concerned themselves with providing religious services to the minority of personnel who observed Orthodox Jewish rituals. ‘Outreach’ programmes, targeted at the secular Jewish majority, were secondary. Recently, however, the IDF rabbinate has undergone a process of ‘role expansion’, emphasising the provision of counselling and guidance to the entire Jewish complement, especially in combat units. In the second part of the article, we analyse the possible reasons for that development: demographic and cultural trends in Israeli society; the prominence of counter-insurgency missions in the IDF’s operational agenda; and the personalities of recent chief chaplains. Finally, we address the possible implications of this shift, asking whether the intra-organisational frictions that it generates, especially with the Education Corps, portends a battle for the soul of the IDF.
Strier, Roni. “Fathers in Israel: Contextualizing Images of Fatherhood.” In Fathers Across Cultures: The Importance, Roles, and Diverse Practices of Dads (ed. Jaipaul L. Roopnarine; Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2015): 350-67.
Walking the Israeli fatherhood labyrinth means rediscovering fatherhood as a highly changing and multifaceted construction. The Israeli case confirms the dynamic nature of fatherhood. Fatherhood trajectories (Zionist, ultra-Orthodox, and Immigrant Jewish, as well as Palestinian) already reviewed help us disclose the fluctuating character of fatherhood as a historical, cultural, and class-based construction. The Israeli case also questions the validity of a possible essential Israeli fatherhood and suggests the need to discuss changing fatherhoods in Israel – fatherhood as facing shared processes (westernization, familism, growing inequalities, and national conflict) and huge divides.
Of equal importance is the recognition of the complexity of the fatherhood experience as a multilayered phenomenon in which gendered images of masculinity interact with changing views of fatherhood. The Israeli case study presents fatherhood as a puzzle of internal tensions and external constraints. This frame helps us to acknowledge the contributions and shortfalls of the nation-state to grasp the changing and dynamic nature of fatherhood as a historical construction. finally, the Israeli case calls on fatherhood scholars to keep examining the impact of war and political violence on the well-being of fathers and families. In a more broad, global scope, the experience of fatherhood in Israel should call for a new discourse of fatherhood that includes the respect for human rights, the repudiation of any form of violence and injustice, and the pursue of political goals through nonviolent means.
Goldscheider, Calvin. Israeli Society in the Twenty-First Century. Immigration, Inequality, and Religious Conflict, Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press (imprint of University Press of New England), 2015.
This volume illuminates changes in Israeli society over the past generation. Goldscheider identifies three key social changes that have led to the transformation of Israeli society in the twenty-first century: the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the economic shift to a high-tech economy, and the growth of socioeconomic inequalities inside Israel. To deepen his analysis of these developments, Goldscheider focuses on ethnicity, religion, and gender, including the growth of ethnic pluralism in Israel, the strengthening of the Ultra-Orthodox community, the changing nature of religious Zionism and secularism, shifts in family patterns, and new issues and challenges between Palestinians and Arab Israelis given the stalemate in the peace process and the expansions of Jewish settlements.
Combining demography and social structural analysis, the author draws on the most recent data available from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources to offer scholars and students an innovative guide to thinking about the Israel of the future.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary Israel, the Middle East, sociology, demography and economic development, as well as policy specialists in these fields. It will serve as a textbook for courses in Israeli history and in the modern Middle East.
Table of Contents
• List of Tables and Figure
• Nation-Building, Population, and Development
• Ethnic Diversity Jewish and Arab Populations of Israel
• Immigration, Nation-Building, and Ethnic-Group Formation
• Arab Israelis Demography, Dependency, and Distinctiveness
• Urbanization, Residential Integration, and Communities
• Religiosity, Religious Institutions, and Israeli Culture
• Inequality and Changing Gender Roles
• Education, Stratification, and Inequality
• Inequality and Mortality Decline
• Family Formation and Generational Continuities
• Emergent Israeli Society Nation-Building, Inequalities, and Continuities
• Appendix: Data Sources and Reliability
This article studies the influence of religion on political attitudes in Israel by testing two propositions: “religion-friendly” democratization and “greedy” socialization. The former implies that accommodation of religious demands stimulates democratization, the latter argues that domineering religious socialization does not motivate democratic attitudes. Analysis of data from representative surveys conducted in 2006–2013, supports “greedy” socialization over the “religion friendly” hypothesis. I show that in most instances, socialization in religion-friendly environments does not moderate the political attitudes of religiously conservative groups. The results suggest that unbounded accommodation of religious needs in non-religious institutions may strengthen undemocratic political attitudes.
Military establishments view religious soldiers with mixed feelings. On the one hand, they can be seen as a fifth column: Will such soldiers follow orders should these orders clash with religious obligations? Aside from considering these soldiers ideologically, militaries must deal with them on a practical level (accommodating—or not—religious commandments, such as wearing clothing conforming to religious requirements, observing dietary laws). They must also consider how relevant religious observance is to the role of being a soldier: Is it conducive? Detrimental? Perhaps it has no impact? These problems become more acute particularly in military systems that have no official religious affiliation but conscript religious soldiers.
There are many ways to deal with these soldiers. Is there a way of predicting which kind of military will utilize what kind of treatment mode toward its religious members? This article suggests a possible theoretical construct regarding what might influence the managing of religious diversity in the ranks. The more removed a military is from society, the more likely it is to utilize internal mechanisms when dealing with religious soldiers. The less removed it is from society, the more likely it will be to turn to external—even civilian—mediating mechanisms in this regard.
This article investigates the dynamics between the two major Orthodox political movements of the twentieth century – the religious Zionist movement Mizrahi and its non-Zionist opponent Agudat Yisrael – in the context of their tripartite relationship with the Zionist Organization. Due to its increased involvement in Palestinian affairs, the Agudah entered negotiations with the Zionists in the mid-1920s. These negotiations and the possibility of cooperation between Agudat Yisrael and the Zionist Organization threatened the position of the religious Zionists within the ZO. The resulting competition between the two Orthodox groups led to the refinement of party platforms and the crystallization of independent political camps.
Walther, Joseph B., Elaine Hoter, Asmaa Ganayem, and Miri Shonfeld. “Computer-Mediated Communication and the Reduction of Prejudice: A Controlled Longitudinal Field Experiment among Jews and Arabs in Israel.” Computers in Human Behavior 52 (2015): 550-558.
The promise of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to reduce intergroup prejudice has generated mixed results. Theories of CMC yield alternative and mutually exclusive explanations about mechanisms by which CMC fosters relationships online with potential to ameliorate prejudice. This research tests contact-hypothesis predictions and two CMC theories on multicultural, virtual groups who communicated during a yearlong online course focusing on educational technology. Groups included students from the three major Israeli education sectors—religious Jews, secular Jews, and Muslims—who completed pretest and posttest prejudice measures. Two sets of control subjects who did not participate in virtual groups provided comparative data. An interaction of the virtual groups experience × religious/cultural membership affected prejudice toward different religious/cultural target groups, by reducing prejudice toward the respective outgroups for whom the greatest initial enmity existed. Comparisons of virtual group participants to control subjects further support the influence of the online experience. Correlations between prejudice with group identification and with interpersonal measures differentiate which theoretical processes pertained.
The worldwide expansion and diversification of higher education systems has sparked growing interest in the stratification of students according to higher education institution and field of study. This article focuses on Israel, where higher education has experienced significant expansion and diversification during the past two decades. Using generalized ordered logistic regression models, the study analyses vertical and horizontal ethno-religious inequality. The findings indicate that Ashkenazim, the privileged Jewish group, remain the most advantaged regarding enrollment in higher education, but their advantage over other veteran Jewish groups is mainly owing to areas of specialization in high school and achievement on the tests that serve as admission criteria to the higher education institutions. Among the enrollees, controlling for high school history reveals that the disadvantaged Jewish groups, Mizrachim and new immigrants, have higher odds than Ashkenazim of enrolling in lucrative programmes. Muslim, Druze, and Christian Arabs are disadvantaged regarding both the vertical (access) and horizontal (fields of study) dimensions, regardless of high school history and previous achievements.
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.
The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please email ISCP@yu.eduwith your name, affiliation, and contact information.
Constitutional Conflicts and the Judicial Role in Comparative Perspective
This conference will explore the Israeli Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on complex and challenging questions facing open and multi-cultural societies everywhere. Because these issues are salient in, but by no means peculiar to, Israel, a comparative perspective will enrich our understanding of how such issues are, and might be, dealt with in other democratic societies.
Panels will address the general question of the value and challenges of comparative legal study, differing conceptions of the role of the judiciary and doctrines of justiciability, and substantive areas of current controversy, including the role of the courts in overseeing national security and intelligence gathering; immigration, asylum, and treatment and status of refugees; and religion in the modern nation-state.
The Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo
This conference marks the launch of the Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo Law (ISCP). Intended to both inform and engage constitutional scholars, lawyers, and judges in democracies around the world, the ISCP is a center of study and discussion of the decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court, one of the great judicial bodies of the world and a court at the forefront of dealing with issues at the core of what it means to be a democratic society.
The central undertaking of the ISCP is the translation into English and dissemination of key opinions of the Israeli Supreme Court. In this, the Project is continuing, and will expand on, two decades of work and over 200 translations by the Friends of the Library of the Supreme Court of Israel. Translated opinions, other relevant material about the Court, and more information about the ISCP can all be found on the Project’s website, VERSA, at versa.cardozo.yu.edu.
This conference, as well as the other work of the ISCP, are made possible by essential support from the David Berg Foundation, which is gratefully acknowledged.
2:30-3 p.m. Registration and Coffee3-3:15 p.m. Welcoming Remarks
This panel will consider the value and challenges of comparative legal study. Why should scholars and judges in one country care what their counterparts elsewhere are up to? Is it ever possible for outsiders to understand the details, cultural meanings, and historical underpinnings of a foreign legal system? What are the settings, issues, or circumstances that make for a successful comparative work?
8:30-9 a.m. Registration and Coffee 9-10:30 a.m. The Role of the Judiciary in Comparative Perspective
The Israeli Supreme Court hears over 10,000 cases a year, has a large mandatory docket, for many of its most important cases is the court of first instance rather than a court of appeal, and has only limited threshold “justiciability” doctrines (such as standing requirements or the bar on political questions). In these features it is utterly different from its U.S. counterpart. This panel will consider such structural characteristics, then turn to their broader implications regarding the role of the judiciary in governance and in society, including the question of whether a Supreme Court leads or follows civil society, whether it is an educational institution, and the sources of its legitimacy.
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Judicial Oversight of National Security and Intelligence Gathering
Effective national security and intelligence gathering are generally understood to depend on secrecy, dispatch, and subterfuge. These characteristics would seem to leave little room for judicial oversight, which assumes transparency, forthrightness, and deliberate pacing. On the other hand, there is a very real danger of abuse without some sort of oversight and legal restraint. This panel will consider how national security issues differ (if at all) from other issues that come before the courts and what exactly the judicial role should be in overseeing national security agencies.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch (Lunch will be provided for all attendees.)
1:30-3 p.m. Immigration, Asylum, and the Treatment and Status of Refugees
Of the Israeli Supreme Court’s recent decisions, one of the most important, divided, and divisive have concerned the detention of asylum seekers. Issues surrounding immigration and citizenship are hugely important, and hugely contested, in Israel and elsewhere. This panel will examine the ISC’s decisions in this area and consider what lessons can be drawn, positive or negative, for Israel and for the rest of the world.
3:15-4:45 p.m. Religion in the Modern Nation-State
Israel’s Basic Laws designate it as “both Jewish and democratic.” The Supreme Court, and many commentators, have struggled to reconcile these two fundamental commitments. Is it possible to construct a constitutional identity that privileges Jewish culture, history, and religion while remaining essentially democratic? The answer to that question has ramifications for religious liberties in many settings as well as minority rights in general.
The functioning of the media as a public watchdog and as a neutral forum for society’s different perspectives is a model that is seen as vital in modern democracies. However, in societies with major social rifts these functions may conflict with one another and alter the media’s role. This work contributes to the theoretical discussion of the role of the media, through a study of the media in religious–secular conflict in Turkey and Israel. In recent years, religious parties’ electoral gains have challenged secular communities’ hold on the countries’ decision-making institutions. With the increase in religious–secular political tensions, the media on both sides have taken a central role, highlighting perceived dangers presented by the other side. As the media come to function as the vanguard of the opposing sides, the impact is twofold: loss of an important public watchdog and a deepening of societal rifts.
Post-secularism in Israel is expressed, among other ways, by the growing public acceptance of identities that are neither religious nor secular. This paper is predicated on research of individuals located on the boundaries of Orthodox Religious Zionism. It explores their attitudes on a range of issues and argues that they reflect their post-secularist identities. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with young men and women who chose to abandon the strictures of a Religious Zionist lifestyle as well as those who still remain within its bounds. Various late-modern and post-secular modes of thought and expression were identified in interviewees’ narratives. These included pluralism, relativism, egalitarianism, the personalization of relationships with God, and a disregard for theological arguments based upon scientific findings. It is argued that these attitudes are related to two late-modern social processes: (1) the rise of individual expressivism and (2) the belief in the liberal human-rights ethic. These tendencies cut across the social divide between interviewees who left Religious Zionism and those who chose to remain within the fold, traversing the previously dominant religious–secular social divide and thus serving as yet another indication for the blossoming of new post-secular spaces in Israeli Jewish society.