Kaufman, Roni. “Peace as Opportunity for Social Justice: Establishment of New Social Change Organizations in Israel in the Wake of the Oslo Peace Accords.” International Social Work (early view; online first).
The social work profession is committed to the promotion of peace and social justice. It is often assumed that peacetime enables diverting resources and attention to the promotion of disadvantaged groups. However, little is known about the mechanisms. This study of the Israeli experience following the Oslo Peace Accords suggests that one potential mechanism is the development of social change organizations (SCOs) in the wake of peace. Findings indicate growth in SCO establishment in the periphery and small towns, in vulnerable groups, and in the Israeli Palestinian (Arab) citizen minority group. Implications for social work are suggested.
This study considers the roles of management and ideology in modifying the sustainability of communal systems. We approached this issue by discussing the major forces that shaped the planned kibbutz and the recent processes that have brought about its current transformation. Using a questionnaire-based survey we tried to reveal the relative importance that the members attach to traditional kibbutz values and their perception of the tension between the original ideology and the management strategies that have been imposed on the communal society by both external and internal forces. The findings indicate that pragmatism tends to prevail over ideology and communality has difficulty in functioning effectively in a highly complex and changing world. It points to the weakening of the communal system and to growing disengagement from principles of equality. However, the process and project of reshaping the kibbutz is ongoing.
The study of epistemic thinking focuses on how people understand and coordinate objective and subjective aspects of knowing and make sense of multiple and discrepant knowledge claims. Typically described in terms of normative development, cross-cultural studies show differences in epistemic development and characteristics of epistemic thinking. This study focuses on within-culture variations of epistemic thinking, with the assumption that social change will produce changes in development. Arab society in Israel has undergone notable change over the last half century. In this cross-sectional research design, cross-generational comparison and rural–urban comparison were used as proxies for longitudinal social change. Three generations of Muslim Arab women in a village in Israel (20 adolescents, 20 mothers and 20 grandmothers) and 20 Muslim Arab adolescents from a large, mixed city in the same region responded to six dilemmas invoking epistemic thinking. Village adolescents were more subjectivist than their mothers and grandmothers. Sociodemographic characteristics representing greater exposure to diverse people and ideas accounted for generational differences. Both urban and rural adolescents tended towards subjectivist perspectives, and they did not differ. Parents’ education levels emerged as the sociodemographic variables most consistently related to epistemic thinking. Epistemic thinking mediated the relationship between generation and gender role/cross-sex relation values.
Weinstock, Michael, Maysam Ganayiem, Rana Igbaryia, Adriana M. Manago, Patricia M. Greenfield. “Societal Change and Values in Arab Communities in Israel. Intergenerational and Rural–Urban Comparisons.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46.1 (2015): 19-38.
This study tested and extended Greenfield’s theory of social change and human development to adolescent development in Arab communities in Israel undergoing rapid social change. The theory views sociodemographic changes—such as contact with an ethnically diverse urban setting and spread of technology—as driving changes in cultural values. In one research design, we compared three generations, high school girls, their mothers, and their grandmothers, in their responses to value-assessment scenarios. In a second research design, we compared girls going to high school in an ethnically diverse city with girls going to school in a village. As predicted by the theory, a t test and ANOVA revealed that both urban life and membership in the youngest generation were significantly related to more individualistic and gender-egalitarian values. Regression analysis and a bootstrapping mediation analysis showed that the mechanism of change in both cases was possession of mobile technologies.
This article focuses on the concept of identity by juxtaposing New Age philosophy and nationalism in the Israeli context. Based on my qualitative research, I deconstruct the Israeli New Age discourse on ethno-national identity and expose two approaches within this discourse. The more common one is the belief held by most Israelis, according to which ethno-national identity is a fundamental component of one’s self. A second and much less prevalent view resembles New Age ideology outside Israel and conceives of ethno-national identities as a false social concept that separate people rather than unite them. My findings highlight the limits of New Age ideology as an alternative to the hegemonic culture in Israel. The difficulty that Israeli New Agers find in divorcing hegemonic conceptualizations demonstrates the centrality and power of ethno-national identity in Israel.
In this article I examine eschatological beliefs and practices among channels in Israel and abroad, and show that they demonstrate an avoidance of traditional, group-oriented political action, and an embrace of alternative, spiritual action performed individually. This is linked to Israel’s shift to a neo-liberal economy and culture in the last few decades, where self-accountability has become the norm. Channeling teaches an extreme version of self-divinity, claiming that a person creates all aspects of his or her life and objecting to outside authority and regulation. It believes in a coming of a New Age of light and that the means to achieve it are personal quests for individual empowerment, which are anticipated to affect the whole world via the “virtual aggregate group,” an energetic reservoir that replaces the traditional group. Channels are engaged in alternative political action, attempting to change the world by virtually pooling spiritual resources.
This article charts the recent development of Modern Paganism in Israel (1999–2012) and analyzes the discourse maintained by Israeli modern-day Pagans when discussing questions of organization and of religious-political rights. As such it deals with the complexities of identifying oneself as a (Jewish-born) Pagan in Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people. I argue that although Israeli Pagans may employ a community-building discourse, they constantly fear the perceived negative consequences of public exposure. They see the bond between (Jewish) religion and the state in Israel as a main factor in the intolerance and even persecution that they expect from the government and from Haredim (“ultra-Orthodox” Jews). The result of this discourse during the first ten years or so of the presence of Modern Paganism in Israel can be seen through the metaphor of a dance, in which participants advance two steps, only to retreat one.
The notion of consciousness change as a political concept has re-emerged as a central issue in recent Israeli political discourse in diverse and seemingly remote groups. The following is a study of some of the contexts and implications of according primacy to consciousness change in political thought, through the tensions between the highly individualistic character of this discourse and its collective language and aims. I focus on one study case, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a key figure in both extreme settler groups and current New Age Hasidic revival. Analyzing his political writings, I explore his notion of consciousness as the true place of politics. Finally, I return to the question of the context in which Rabbi Ginsburgh’s binding of the political to consciousness should be read, and propose liberal individualism, and the direct line it draws between the individual’s consciousness and that of the state, as an alternative hermeneutical perspective.
The quest for personal and inner spiritual transformation and development is prevalent among spiritual seekers today and constitutes a major characteristic of contemporary spirituality and the New Age phenomenon. Religious leaders of the Bratslav community endeavor to satisfy this need by presenting adjusted versions of hitbodedut meditation, a practice that emphasizes solitary and personal connection with the divine. As is shown by two typical examples, popular Bratslav teachers today take full advantage of the opportunity to infuse the hitbodedut with elements not found in Rabbi Nachman’s teachings and to dispense with some elements that were. The article addresses the socio-political rationale at the root of these teachers’ novel interpretation of Bratslav hitbodedut and the ways they attempt to deal with the complications that arise out of their work.
This article describes the new “field” of Sufi ideas and practices in Israeli Jewish society and analyzes the mutual relations between new Western Sufi influences and traditional Sufi orders of the Middle East. It focuses on the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this evolving field. While the current rise of interest in spirituality is often described as emphasizing an apolitical approach, the evolving Sufi field in Israel is an example of a field that cannot detach itself from the overarching conflict. Moreover, efforts are made by some of the actors in this field to present Sufism as representing a different Islam and, hence, as a potential bridge between the rival parties. These approaches, as this article shows, have their own complexities and influences on the emerging Sufi field in Israel.
Kibbutz communities and organizations were originally structured to be egalitarian and democratic. The last two decades proved to be a major challenge for their sustainability due to a serious economic crisis. Many scholars have lamented the end of the kibbutz, some of them claiming that there is no place for utopias in the twenty-first century. Kibbutz communities were trying to survive within a turbulent economic and social environment. This article will attempt to analyse varieties in developing sustainability that were adopted by kibbutz communities. Focusing on the impact of the economic crisis, we will investigate processes of value change within the kibbutz, taking into consideration that the kibbutz does not exist in a vacuum but is rather embedded within a society that has undergone transformation processes from a socialistic to a capitalistic orientation. The article will look at different solutions that kibbutz communities have adopted and strategies that kibbutz members used in order to cope with this crisis. We will explain how these solutions and strategies are reflected in members’ values and attitudes as well as taking into consideration in which areas value change was fast and in which it was slower. Our analysis will lead to a reflection on the different communitarian and non-communitarian models that might evolve in the kibbutz communities and their possible outcome. The discussion will focus on three dimensions of sustainability methods adopted by kibbutz communities that integrate value change, organizational change, and community processes.