This article offers an ethnographic account of the professional activities of mental health practitioners, employed by the state’s religious education system. I analyze various models implemented by practitioners for the purposes of preparing pupils for the state-mandated evacuation of Jewish settlers from Gaza and the West Bank. By focusing on the interaction between psychological and religious-national cultural frameworks I show how practitioners imbue familiar professional concepts with new meanings and create hybrid models of intervention.
Zemach, Ariel. “Frog in the Milk Vat: International Law and the Future of Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” American University International Law Review 30.1 (2015): 53-100.
State Responsibility Rules provide illegally implanted settlers with protection that is weaker but broader than that they enjoy under international human rights law. International human rights law may prohibit the repatriation of certain settlers. Such protection is not available under State Responsibility Rules. Yet, the interests of individual settlers may support an occupant being exempt from its obligation to dismantle illegally established settlements even if international human rights law allows this measure. Such exemption neither depends on the contours of human rights contained in international human rights treaties of which the occupant is a signatory, nor does it have to be justified under a strict balancing-ofinterest analysis. Rather, State Responsibility Rules exempt an occupant from eliminating the consequences of its illegal conduct whenever such measure would entail the forceful eviction of a large number of individuals from their homes. Israel is therefore allowed, but is not required, to repatriate the settlers it has transferred into the Arab territories it occupies. The absence of a duty to repatriate the settlers allows for a strong argument in favor of including nonrepatriation within the sphere of interests that Israel may legitimately promote in negotiating the end of occupation.
Footage of emotional Israeli settlers leaving their homes as part of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan evoked a mixed reaction from critics, underlying a lack of consensus on the relationship between individual settlers, the settlement project and the government. In this essay, I explore the political dynamics between the Israeli state, settlers in the occupied territories and the Palestinians on a micro-level by analyzing Dugit – a small and overlooked former settlement from the Gaza Strip. The study of this marginal settlement shifts focus away from settlements that have more political clout and a larger public profile and troubles the idea of the settlement project as a monolithic enterprise. Furthermore, by virtue of its marginal status and its location at the very northern tip of the Gaza Strip just near the Green Line, Dugit existed at the intersection of many interfacing groups, ideas, institutions and geo-political entities within Israeli society. These include Israelis and Palestinians; Israeli settler society and Israeli liberal society; religious and non-ideological settlements; settlers and the Israeli government; Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians; as well as the concept of Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories. Based on interviews conducted with former members of Dugit, this study analyzes informants’ understanding of the politics of living in the occupied territories, their relations with their former Palestinian neighbors as well as their interpretation of their position in Israeli society post-eviction. Israeli–Palestinian encounters in Dugit were represented as amicable but these relations were nevertheless over-determined by the larger political structures, which the Dugit settlers did not challenge. This essay argues that a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the Dugit settlement needs to take into account the settlers’ position as partial agents of their own political actions but also as victims of government policies.
Taglit-Birthright Israel has brought hundreds of thousands of diaspora Jewish young adults on tours of Israel. Drawing on data from a large-scale program evaluation, we ask how the program affects participants’ feelings of homeland attachment and political views on contentious homeland issues. North Americans who traveled to Israel with Taglit between 2010 and 2012 were surveyed together with a comparison group of applicants to the program who did not participate. In multivariate analysis, Taglit sharply increases feelings of connection to Israel but has no effect on attitudes concerning the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The program modestly increases scores on a “favorability” scale and modestly increases opposition to a possible division of Jerusalem in a future peace deal. In contrast to Benedict Anderson’s theory of long-distance nationalism, the findings suggest that feelings of homeland connection can be fostered without triggering ethnonationalist attitudes associated with the political right.
The paper focuses on graffiti which was created by The Gaza Strip settlers during the Israeli withdrawal (August 2005), while being fully aware of the houses’ predetermined demolition by the Israeli army. The graffiti served two functions: One, concrete and short termed, was meant to the eyes of the soldiers and the media, and was constructed as an image event. The second function was the construction of historical commemoration through iconic and inscribed narratives, and was directed exclusively to digital archives on the Internet and private collections. This choice illustrates the deliberate twist of the original essence of graffiti as an anonymous genre which usually performs in the public sphere into a protest against the desecration of the intimate sphere. Biblical citations, popular songs, political slogans and playful inscriptions are discussed. The content analysis of 150 graffiti is supported by interviews which were conducted with graffiti writers and their addressees.
What explains Sharon’s policy of unilaterally disengaging from settlements he himself promoted and defended as necessary for Israel’s security? His shift in policy can be explained by ideological and personality factors that enabled the change, in combination with more proximate, sufficient causes. Sharon’s weak commitment to any one ideology, his present time orientation, his high risk propensity, and moderate cognitive flexibility enabled his significant policy changes. Sharon’s straddling between Labor and Likud perspectives both acts as a permissive variable for some change, and also as a restraint on more extensive change, such as giving up the entire West Bank and dividing Jerusalem.
Leon, Nissim. "The Transformation of Israel’s Religious-Zionist Middle Class." Journal of Israeli History 29,1 (2010): 61-78.
This article argues that the emergence of a new religious-Zionist middle class in Israel may be a factor in restraining the radical potential of the political tendencies that research on religious Zionism has been pointing to for years. It examines, as test cases, the restrained protest against the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and the most recent attempt to change the political leadership of the religious-Zionist parties prior to the 2009 elections. It concludes by connecting the processes described here with a discussion of the possible role of the Israeli middle class in mitigating the rifts within Israeli society. –
Zertal, Idith and Akiva Eldar. Lords of the Land. The War Over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007. Trans. Vivian Eden. New York: Nation Books (Avalon imprint), 2007. (Hebrew version: Adone ha-arets : ha-mitnaḥalim u-medinat Yiśraʼel, 1967-2004. Or Yehudah : Kineret, Zemorah-Bitan, Devir, 2004).