New Book: Ben Shitrit, Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right

Ben Shitrit, Lihi. Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

 

BenShitrit

How do women in conservative religious movements expand spaces for political activism in ways that go beyond their movements’ strict ideas about male and female roles? How and why does this activism happen in some movements but not in others? Righteous Transgressions examines these questions by comparatively studying four groups: the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the ultra-Orthodox Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas. Lihi Ben Shitrit demonstrates that women’s prioritization of a nationalist agenda over a proselytizing one shapes their activist involvement.

Ben Shitrit shows how women construct “frames of exception” that temporarily suspend, rather than challenge, some of the limiting aspects of their movements’ gender ideology. Viewing women as agents in such movements, she analyzes the ways in which activists use nationalism to astutely reframe gender role transgressions from inappropriate to righteous. The author engages the literature on women’s agency in Muslim and Jewish religious contexts, and sheds light on the centrality of women’s activism to the promotion of the spiritual, social, cultural, and political agendas of both the Israeli and Palestinian religious right.

Looking at the four most influential political movements of the Israeli and Palestinian religious right, Righteous Transgressions reveals how the bounds of gender expectations can be crossed for the political good.

 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Note on Language xi
  • 1 Introduction: “Be an Other’s, Be an Other”: A Personal Perspective 1
  • 2 Contextualizing the Movements 32
  • 3 Complementarian Activism: Domestic and Social Work, Da‘wa, and Teshuva 80
  • 4 Women’s Protest: Exceptional Times and Exceptional Measures 128
  • 5 Women’s Formal Representation: Overlapping Frames 181
  • 6 Conclusion 225
  • Notes 241
  • References 259
  • Index 275

 

LIHI BEN SHITRIT is an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.

 

 

 

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New Article: Leon | ‘Ovadia Yosef, the Shas Party, and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process

Leon, Nissim. “Rabbi ‘Ovadia Yosef, the Shas Party, and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process.” Middle East Journal 69.3 (2015): 379-95.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3751/69.3.13
https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/the_middle_east_journal/v069/69.3.leon.html

 

Abstract

One of the prominent religious parties in Israel, intimately involved in political decision-making, has been the Shas party, led by the late Rabbi ‘Ovadia Yosef. This article examines four components of Rabbi Yosef’s political stance: (1) his view of Jewish religious law as a factor that moderates the force of changes of seemingly historical and revolutionary significance; (2) his opposition to radical messianism; (3) his desire to adopt independent positions; and (4) his role in the development of a Mizrahi, ultra-Orthodox stream of Zionism.

 

New Article: Howson, Lessons from Shas about Israel

Howson, Luke. “Lessons from Shas about Israel.” Middle East Journal 69.3 (2015): 397-412.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3751/69.3.14
https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/the_middle_east_journal/v069/69.3.howson.html

 

Abstract

This article focuses on the Israeli ethno-religious party Shas and its role in the Israeli social and political structure. It is argued that while Shas functions successfully in Israel’s Western-style political system, it does so as a more typical “Middle Eastern” party. Thus understanding the context within which Shas operates and its relation to political and societal divisions offers an insight into Israeli society and its political system.

ToC: Israel Affairs 21.2 (2015) – special issue: Israel at the Polls 2013

 

Israel Affairs, Volume 21, Issue 2, April 2015 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

Special Issue: Israel at the Polls 2013: Continuity and Change in Israeli Political Culture

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles
The Run-Up to Israel’s 2013 Elections: A Political History
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Pages: 177-194
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008240

The Peculiar Victory of The National Camp in the 2013 Israeli Election
Arie Perliger & Eran Zaidise
Pages: 195-208
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008243

‘Something new begins’ – religious Zionism in the 2013 elections: from decline to political recovery
Anat Roth
Pages: 209-229
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008238

An uneasy stability: the Haredi parties’ emergency campaign for the 2013 elections
Nissim Leon
Pages: 230-244
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008241

The political transformation of the Israeli ‘Russian’ street in the 2013 elections
Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin
Pages: 245-261
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008244

The Transmigration of Media Personalities and Celebrities to Politics: The Case of Yair Lapid
Rafi Mann
Pages: 262-276
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008239

‘New politics’, new media – new political language? A rhetorical perspective on candidates’ self-presentation in electronic campaigns in the 2013 Israeli elections
Eithan Orkibi
Pages: 277-292
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008242

The 2013 Israeli elections and historic recurrences
Eyal Lewin
Pages: 293-308
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1008245

Reviews: Sarfati, Mobilizing Religion in Middle East Politics

Sarfati, Yusuf. Mobilizing Religion in Middle East Politics. A Comparative Study of Israel and Turkey, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Politics. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014.

 

9780415540162

 

Reviews:

  • Allon, Michal L. “Review.” Middle East Media and Book Reviews Online 2.6 (2014).
  • Ramazan Kılınç. “Review.” Turkish Review, November 1, 2014.
  • Rubin, Aviad. “Review.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.1 (2015): 212-213.

 

 

 

 

Cite: Ben-Shitrit, Women Activists in Shas and the Islamic Movement

Ben Shitrit, Lihi. “Women, Freedom, and Agency in Religious Political Movements: Reflections from Women Activists in Shas and the Islamic Movement in Israel.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 9.3 (2013): 81-107.

URL: muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_middle_east_womens_studies/v009/9.3.shitrit.html

 

Abstract

Women’s activism in conservative religious-political movements poses a
challenge to liberal feminism. Why do women participate in great numbers
in political organizations that seem to limit women’s freedom and
equality? My work with women activists in the Islamic Movement and the
Jewish ultra-Orthodox Shas Movement in Israel, both explicitly
patriarchal religious revivalist groups similar to other movements
across the Middle East, finds that these movements offer women powerful
liberatory narratives. This paper takes issue with recent arguments that
suggest that pious women experience agency in acts of submission rather
than in resistance and that the association of agency with emancipatory
desire and action is an expression of a patently Western tradition that
celebrates the fiction of the autonomous individual. I find that women
activists’ interpretations of agency in piety practices are highly
invested in the idea of the autonomous individual. The validity of
practices, according to activists, rests on the choice and consciousness
of the individual and on the rejection of submission to social norms.
Furthermore, when we take into account the various class and cultural
contexts of Middle Eastern women’s piety practices and activism, we find
that for many women religious movements offer real liberation from
oppressive socio-economic realities and limiting cultural norms.

ToC: Israel Affairs 19,3 (2013)

Israel     Affairs, Vol. 19, No. 3, 01 Jul 2013 is now available on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

Original Articles
‘We     need the messiah so that he may not come’: on David Ben-Gurion’s use of     messianic language
Nir Kedar
Pages: 393-409
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799864

Beyond     a one-man show: the prelude of Revisionist Zionism, 1922–25
Jan Zouplna
Pages: 410-432
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799871

Another     Orient in early Zionist thought: East Asia in the press of the Ben-Yehuda     family
Guy Podoler
Pages: 433-450
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799866

Jerusalem     in Anglo-American policy in the immediate wake of the June 1967 war
Arieh J. Kochavi
Pages: 451-467
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799865

A     farewell to arms? NGO campaigns for embargoes on military exports: the case     of the UK and Israel
Gerald M. Steinberg, Anne Herzberg & Asher Fredman
Pages: 468-487
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799869

The     politics of ‘over-victimization’ – Palestinian proprietary claims in the     service of political goals
Haim Sandberg
Pages: 488-504
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799868

Equality,     orthodoxy and politics: the conflict over national service in Israel
Etta Bick
Pages: 505-525
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799862

The     establishment of a political-educational network in the State of Israel:     Maayan Hahinuch Hatorani
Anat Feldman
Pages: 526-541
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799863

Between     the dream and the reality: vocational education in Israel, 1948–92
Nirit Raichel
Pages: 542-561
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799867

The     influence of mergers on the capital market
Tchai Tavor
Pages: 562-579
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799870

Book Reviews
1973:     the way to war
Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Pages: 580-582
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.778094

Land     and desire in early Zionism
David Rodman
Pages: 583-584
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799881

Israel     in Africa, 1956–1976
David Rodman
Pages: 584-585
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799899

Zion’s     dilemmas: how Israel makes national security policy
David Rodman
Pages: 586-587
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799882

Should     Israel exist? A sovereign nation under attack by the international     community
David Rodman
Pages: 588-589
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799885

The     role of US diplomacy in the lead-up to the Six Day War: balancing moral     commitments and national interests
David Rodman
Pages: 589-590
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799886

The     wars of the Maccabees: the Jewish struggle for freedom, 167–37 BC
David Rodman
Pages: 590-592
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799887

In     the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defence: the Gaza strip, November 2012
David Rodman
Pages: 592-593
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799888

The     future of the Jews: how global forces are impacting the Jewish people,     Israel and its relationship with the United States
David Rodman
Pages: 593-595
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799889

The     lives of ordinary people in ancient Israel: where archaeology and the Bible     intersect
David Rodman
Pages: 595-597
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799890

Israel     vs. Iran: the shadow war
David Rodman
Pages: 597-599
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799883

The     triumph of Israel’s radical right
Evan Renfro
Pages: 599-601
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2013.799884

New Publication: Lehmann and Sibzehner, Shas (in Hebrew)

David Lehmann and Batia Siebzehner, Shas as a Challenge. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2010 (in Hebrew).

 

See English version:

David Lehmann and Batia Siebzehner, Remaking Israeli Judaism. The Challenge of Shas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.