Israel’s system of closure divides Palestinian citizens of Israel from Palestinians of the West Bank. For members of both categories, road journeys spur political analysis, explicitly stated or implicitly packed into jokes or offhand comments. If, in liberal traditions, political knowledge is idealized as disembodied, abstract, and dispassionate, Palestinian knowledge gained while driving is none of these things. Yet it can provide important insights into the operations of Israeli power less easily represented in more formal outlets. Because the road system is an everyday site at which its users come into contact with the work of the state, driving is an important practice through which to examine popular conceptions of politics. Still, these two communities of Palestinians face obstacles in communicating about shared understandings of space and politics. In examining everyday political knowledge of subaltern people, we must attend to varieties of subalterneity to examine how these differences can perpetuate marginalization.
Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, the author argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Studying Soldiers Chapter 3. Checkpoints, Arrests and Patrols: Spaces of Occupation Chapter 4. Performing as Occupiers: Operational Dynamics Chapter 5. Tired, Bored and Scared: Emotional, Physical and Cognitive Numbing Chapter 6. Blurring morals: the numbed moral competence of soldiers Chapter 7. Morality in Speech: Discursive Strategies of Soldiers Chapter 8. Conclusion
This study seeks to gain insight into a unique group, ultraorthodox women in Israel, and their views and attitudes on driving and road experiences. Ultraorthodox women are generally contending with spatial and mobility restrictions due to stringent gendered spaces and social norms in their communities. Specifically in Israel, throughout the ultraorthodox sector, women are strictly forbidden to drive. In this research, we put the emphasis on driving dilemmas that have received marginal attention both socially and empirically. A qualitative method was used, based on face-to-face in-depth interviews, with women from three major ultraorthodox communities. The findings reveal that the driving ban for ultraorthodox women in Israel generates ambivalence and conflict, and exacts a heavy social price. Moreover, in line with approaches of feminist geography, it raises issues of gender relations and cultural implications, such as restricting the space and the mobility of women in order to keep them in a subordinate position. The results are discussed in terms of gender roles, cultural exclusion, and spatiality, on both the practical and emotional levels. The study opens a window to a unique sector of the Israeli population, revealing unique dilemmas with which ultraorthodox women grapple daily in their community.