New Publication: Oron, Israeli Identities

Oron, Yair. Israeli Identities. Jews and Arabs Facing the Mirror and Each Other. Fetish. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2010 [in Hebrew].



זהויות ישראליות
יהודים וערבים מול המראה והאחר

מאת: יאיר אורון


הספר זהויות ישראליות הוא מחקר אמפירי ראשון מסוגו והיקפו אשר עוסק בשאלת הזהויות הישראליות – אחת הבעיות המרכזיות והאקטואליות של החברה הישראלית בימינו. המחקר מקיף ארבעה דגמים של תת-זהויות יהודיות-ישראליות: הלא-דתית (החילונית); המסורתית; הדתית-לאומית והדתית-חרדית. לצדן ולעומתן מוצגת במחקר הזהות הערבית (הפלסטינית) הישראלית, אשר גם היא אינה מקשה אחת. 
הספר מנתח שני מחקרי זהות שנערכו בשנים 1990 ו-2008, בקרב סטודנטים יהודים-ישראלים וערבים (פלסטינים)-ישראלים. נידונים בו המרכיבים הבאים: "העם ואני", "השואה ואני", "הנכבה ואני", "האני והאחר" (עמדות הדדיות של יהודים כלפי ערבים ולהפך), "המדינה ואני", "הדת ואני". בעוד שהשואה מהווה נדבך מרכזי בזהות היהודית-ישראלית, הנכבה מהווה גורם מרכזי בזהות הערבית (הפלסטינית) הישראלית. לכל הישראלים, הן היהודים והן הערבים, משותפת הזהות הקורבנית, אך, כמובן, זהויות הקורבן הן שונות, לעתים גם קוטביות. 
באמצעות מחקר זה מתריע המחבר על כך שכישלון בחינוך לדמוקרטיה, לפלורליזם ולדו-קיום עלול להחריף ולהסלים את מערכת היחסים השברירית בלאו הכי בין הקבוצות השונות בחברה הישראלית. עלינו לעסוק באינטנסיביות בחינוך משמעותי נגד גזענות, להודות שהיא מצויה בקרבנו ולהכיר בכך שאנו-עצמנו איננו רק מושא לגזענות, אלא גם נשאיה של גזענות. 

פרופ’ יאיר אורון הוא חוקר ומרצה באוניברסיטה הפתוחה ובמכללת סמינר הקיבוצים. עוסק בחקר הג’נוסייד ובהוראתו, ביחסה של מדינת ישראל לג’נוסייד של עמים אחרים, וביהדות בת-זמננו. פרסם מאמרים וספרים רבים בנושאים אלה בארץ ובעולם. עומד בראש פרויקט להוראת תופעת הג’נוסייד, במסגרתו ראתה אור סדרת ספרי הקורס "ג’נוסייד" באוניברסיטה הפתוחה.

Cite: Shelef, Politicized Secularism in Israel

Shelef, Nadav. "Politicized Secularism in Israel: Secularists as a Party to Communal Conflict." Contemporary Jewry 2010 (18 pp.)


Most of the attention paid to the religious–secular conflict in Israel has been devoted to the religious side. As a result, secular Israelis remain conceptualized as a residual category, as atomized individuals who share little but a lack of religiosity, and thus as passive subjects in the conflict. Drawing on lessons from identity politics, this article argues that secular fear of the religious, especially the ultra-orthodox, has led segments of the secular Israeli public increasingly to think of themselves as secularists, making their shared ‘non-religious’ identity politically relevant. To the extent that secularist social and political entrepreneurs succeed in bringing this about, the relationship between religious and secular is likely to resemble inter-communal conflict rather than tension between interest groups within a single community.


Keywords: Secular – Religious–secular conflict – Identity politics – Israel – נדב שלף – Israel: Religion, Religious-Secular Divide, Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi, Israel: Society

Cite: Miles, Israel’s Religious Vote in Comparative Perspective


Miles, William F. S. "Israel’s Religious Vote in Comparative Perspective: An Africanist Analysis ." Israel Affairs 16,1 (2010): 179-200.



Invoking the framework of religion and politics, this article contrasts the explicitly Judaic dimension to the 2009 elections in Israel with the implicitly Muslim one in 2007 in Nigeria. It also highlights the organizational, political, and theological similarities between fundamentalist (qua haredi) Judaism in Israel and fundamentalist (qua Sufi) Islam in Nigeria. Despite the obvious dissimilarities between Israel and Nigeria in terms of demography, standard of living, and dominant religion, both are relatively young democracies in which religious belief, practice and identification occupy key roles in their respective political behaviour and electoral politics. Both polities have also experienced increasing politicization of religion since independence. Proponents of legislating sharia in Nigeria and halacha in Israel unwittingly share compatible policies. Similarities in the organization, leadership, and political functionality of ultra-Orthodox and Sufi religious brotherhoods in the Jewish state and northern Nigeria transcend creedal differences.




Keywords: Nigeria; religion; elections; sharia; halacha; brotherhoods

Cite: Cohen and Susser, Stability in the Haredi Camp and Upheavals in Nationalist Zionism


Cohen, Asher and Bernard Susser. "Stability in the Haredi Camp and Upheavals in Nationalist Zionism: An Analysis of the Religious Parties in the 2009 Elections." Israel Affairs 16,1 (2010): 82-104.



This study examines the respective performances of the various religious parties in the 2009 election. It concludes that while the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) parties broadly maintained their electoral strength, the national religious parties were rocked by debilitating conflicts, ideological splits and intra-institutional fractures which resulted in a substantial decrease in their Knesset representation.




Keywords: Israeli political parties; Shas; Yahadut Hatorah; National Union; Jewish Home; Israeli elections 2009, Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi, Elections, Elections 2009, Israel: Politics, Israel: Religion, ברוך זיסר, אשר כהן

Cite: Deutsch, Haredi Encounters with Technology


Deutsch, Nathaniel. "The Forbidden Fork, the Cell Phone Holocaust, and Other Haredi Encounters with Technology." Contemporary Jewry 29,1 (2009): 3-19.


Abstract:  Haredi Jews valorize tradition and explicitly reject the idea of progress on ideological grounds. Concomitantly, they are opposed to many innovations and are highly critical of the destructive potential of modern communication technologies such as cell phones with Internet capability that serve as pocket-sized portals between their insular communities and the wider world. In response to this perceived threat, Haredi authorities have issued bans on the use of certain technologies and have endorsed the development of acceptable alternatives, such as the so-called kosher cell phone. And yet, many Haredim, both in the United States and Israel, are highly sophisticated users and purveyors of these same technologies. This tension indicates that Haredim have a much more complicated relationship to technology and to modernity, itself, than their “official” stance would suggest.




Keywords:  Haredim – Ultra-Orthodox Jews – Hasidim – Internet – Cell phone – Technology – Israel – Holocaust – Modernity, Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi, Israel: Religion, Religious-Secular Divide

ToC: Israel Affairs 16, 1 (2010)

[Items will be posted separated, time permitting)

Israel Affairs: Volume 16 Issue 1 is now available online at informaworldTM.

Special Issue: Israel’s 2009 Election

Original Articles

The 2009 Knesset elections: a foreign affairs perspective
Pages 1 – 13

Authors: Shmuel Sandler; Hillel Frisch

The run-up to the elections: a political history of the 2009 campaign
Pages 14 – 30

Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld

Kadima goes back: the limited power of vagueness
Pages 31 – 50

Author: Giora Goldberg

The Likud: the struggle for the centre
Pages 51 – 68

Author: Abraham Diskin

The decline of the Labour party
Pages 69 – 81

Author: Efraim Inbar

Stability in the Haredi camp and upheavals in nationalist Zionism: an analysis of the religious parties in the 2009 elections
Pages 82 – 104

Authors: Asher Cohen; Bernard Susser

The Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party between the mainstream and ‘Russian’ community politics
Pages 105 – 123

Author: Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin

Arab Israeli citizens in the 2009 elections: between Israeli citizenship and Palestinian Arab identity
Pages 124 – 141

Author: David Koren



Peace and security in the 2009 election
Pages 142 – 164

Author: Jonathan Rynhold

Corruption again, and again not decisive
Pages 165 – 178

Author: Ira Sharkansky

Israel’s religious vote in comparative perspective: an Africanist analysis
Pages 179 – 200

Author: William F. S. Miles


Keywords: Israel: Political System, Israel: Politics, Elections, Elections 2009, Peace: Israeli Peace Movements, Religious-Secular Divide, Israel: Religion, Israeli Palestinians, Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi, Zionism, Russian Immigrants, Labour Party, Likkud Party, Kadima Party, Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman