Bulletin: Water in Israel

Articles

Thesis

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New Book: Kreiger, The Dead Sea and the Jordan River

Kreiger, Barbara. The Dead Sea and the Jordan River. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016.

 

9780253019523_med

 

For centuries travelers have been drawn to the stunning and mysterious Dead Sea and Jordan River, a region which is unlike any other on earth in its religious and historical significance. In this exceptionally engaging and readable book, Barbara Kreiger chronicles the natural and human history of these storied bodies of water, drawing on accounts by travelers, pilgrims, and explorers from ancient times to the present. She conveys the blend of spiritual, touristic, and scientific motivations that have driven exploration and describes the modern exploitation of the lake and the surrounding area through mineral extraction and agriculture. Today, both lake and river are in crisis, and stewardship of these water resources is bound up with political conflicts in the region. The Dead Sea and the Jordan River combines history, literature, travelogue, and natural history in a way that makes it hard to put down.

 

Table of Contents

    • Part I. This Strange Water
      1. Some Early History, Travellers, Myths
    • Part II. Nineteenth-Century Exploration
      2. Three Sailors, and a River
      3. Along the Briny Strand
    • Part III. Origins and Evolution
      4. The Life of a Lake
    • Part IV. Further Exploration
      5. Gentleman from Siberia
      6. A Lake Divided
    • Part V. The Twenty-First Century
      7. The River and Lake in Distress
      8. Reclamation, and a Vision of the Future
    • Afterword

 

BARBARA KREIGER is Creative Writing Concentration Chair and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth College. Her other publications include Divine Expectations: An American Woman in Nineteenth-Century Palestine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications.

New Article: Migal, Fishery and Water Quality in Lake Kinneret

Migal, Moshe Gophen. “The Impact of EL-NIÑO/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on Fishery and Water Quality in Lake Kinneret (Israel).” Israel Journal of Veterinary Medicine 71.1 (2016): 10-14.

 

URL: http://file.scirp.org/pdf/OJMH_2016040615474363.pdf (PDF)

 

Abstract

A correlation between fishery and extreme winter conditions in Lake Kinneret was indicated: populations of Bleak fishes were enhanced and those of Sarotherodon galilaeus (SG) declined. The aim of the present study is to confirm the relation of those correlations to EL NINO/Southern Oscillation and its impact on Kinneret fishery. The study is based on long-term data records of the Kinneret Epilimnetic temperatures, water level increase, precipitation and air temperatures in the drainage basin, together with a record of EL NIÑO/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Results suggest a confirmation of the impact of ENSO events on lake population size of Bleaks and SG. It is likely that the influence of ENSO on the two key fish species in the Lake is contradictory: enhancement of reproduction of the winter spawner Bleaks and reduction of population recruitment of the early summer spawner, Sarotherodon galilaeus. It is likely that winter extreme in Kinneret region is a consequence of ENSO event and therefore negatively affecting Kinneret water quality.

 

 

 

New Article: Tal, The Sustainability of Israel’s Irrigation Practices in the Drylands

Tal, Alon. “Rethinking the Sustainability of Israel’s Irrigation Practices in the Drylands.” Water Research 90 (2016): 387-94.

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2015.12.016

 

Abstract

Broad utilization of drip irrigation technologies in Israel has contributed to the 1600 percent increase in the value of produce grown by local farmers over the past sixty-five years. The recycling of 86% of Israeli sewage now provides 50% of the country’s irrigation water and is the second, idiosyncratic component in Israel’s strategy to overcome water scarcity and maintain agriculture in a dryland region. The sustainability of these two practices is evaluated in light of decades of experience and ongoing research by the local scientific community. The review confirms the dramatic advantages of drip irrigation over time, relative to flood, furrow and sprinkler irrigation and its significance as a central component in agricultural production, especially under arid conditions. In contrast, empirical findings increasingly report damage to soil and to crops from salinization caused by irrigation with effluents. To be environmentally and agriculturally sustainable over time, wastewater reuse programs must ensure extremely high quality treated effluents and ultimately seek the desalinization of recycled sewage.

 

 

 

New Article: Haber, Social Regulation in Utilities in Israel

Haber, Hanan. “Rise of the Regulatory Welfare State? Social Regulation in Utilities in Israel.” Social Policy & Administration (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/spol.12194

 

Abstract

This article explores the relation between economic liberalization, regulation and welfare. It asks how the state regulates, delays or prevents service disconnection due to debt and arrears, and what this kind of policy implies regarding the use of regulation as a form of social policy. This is done through a comparative study of the electricity and water sectors in Israel after liberalization. It finds that after initial economic reform, both sectors saw a growth in regulation intended to compensate for the social effects of reform, in what may be termed the ‘regulatory welfare state’. However, this form of social protection has been residual and incoherent. The article argues that trying to separate economic reform from its social consequences is unrealistic and may lead to adverse social and economic results. Second, findings raise concerns regarding the potential of the regulatory welfare state to deliver effective and fair social policy.

 

 

 

New Article: Bismuth et al, Technologies, Incentives and Cost Recovery (Water Pricing)

Bismuth, Christine, Bernd Hansjürgens, and Ira Yaari. “Technologies, Incentives and Cost Recovery: Is There an Israeli Role Model?” In Society – Water – Technology. A Critical Appraisal of Major Water Engineering Projects (ed. Reinhard F. Hüttl et al.; Cham: Springer, 2016): 253-75.

 

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18971-0_16

 

Abstract

This chapter focuses on water policy reforms and the introduction of a new water pricing policy in Israel. These reforms have to be seen in combination with measures to extend the available water sources that have been introduced in Israel in recent years. The effects of the Israeli demand and supply management policy on the use and availability of the water resources is investigated, and the potential transferability of the Israeli experiences to other countries in the region is examined. We also discuss the contribution of the water policy reforms as part of possible options and alternatives to the planned RSDS Conveyance Project.

 

 

New Article: Kan and Kislev, Corporatization and Price Setting in the Urban Water Sector under Statewide Central Administration

Kan, Iddo, and Yoav Kislev. “Corporatization and Price Setting in the Urban Water Sector under Statewide Central Administration: The Israeli Experience.” In Use of Economic Instruments in Water Policy: Insights from International Experience (ed. Manuel Lago et al.; Cham: Springer, 2015): 135-46.

 

9783319182865

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18287-2_10

 

Abstract

As in many European countries, all water sources in Israel are public property, and are centrally managed by the government. This is to facilitate correction of market failures associated with externalities, natural monopolies and equity considerations. The economic policy instrument (EPI) considered here comprises two aspects of the centralized approach: (1) an institutional reform: local services that were formerly provided by municipal water departments became the responsibility of corporations; (2) a price-scheme reform: urban water prices are set by the regulator subject to the constraint of overall cost-recovery at the national and municipal levels, combined with an egalitarian policy; the latter is realized in identical municipal end-users tariffs. We evaluate the environmental, economic and institutional aspects of these reforms, and point out two main conclusions. First, with respect to EPI implementation from the regulator perspective, the lesson learned can be summarized by the phrase “grasp all, lose all.” EPI reformation, in this case the establishment of regional corporations, should take account of unattainable objectives: “sanitizing” the political factors from involvement. The second lesson is associated with the challenge of designing a pricing mechanism that simultaneously achieves several potentially contradicting targets: costs recovery, creation of incentives for efficiency, and equality. Also here the mechanism was distorted by political pressures. According to the social norms as they are reflected by the resultant policy, equality overwhelms efficiency.

 

 

Thesis: Lippert, Detection of a Submarine Aquifer Offshore of Israel using LOTEM (in German)

Lippert, Klaus. Detektion eines submarinen Aquifers vor der Küste Israels mittels mariner Long Offset Transient-elektromagnetischer Messung, PhD Thesis, Universität zu Köln, 2015.

 
URL: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/6351/ [PDF]

 

Abstract

The importance of offshore submarine fresh groundwater bodies as well as of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) became commonly recognized in the recent years for groundwater management. The existence of submarine fresh groundwater bodies extending offshore to distances between a few meters to several tens of kilometers was reported all over the world and SGD was detected and studied also in the eastern Mediterranean, offshore Israel. The Mediterranean coastal aquifer of Israel is one of the main groundwater resources of the country. It has been exploited heavily and, as a result, the quality of water is gradually deteriorating. It is well known that the aquifer is grouped into four subaquifers, which were managed separately. The upper two sub-aquifers are known to be subjected to lateral seawater intrusion and to pollution from above whereas the lower ones are assumed to be, in places, blocked to the sea. For a long time, geoelectric and, particularly, geoelectromagnetic methods were leading geophysical techniques in solving various hydrogeological problems related to the characterization of groundwater salinity. This is due to a very close relationship, which exists between the salinity and electrical resistivity measured by the methods. In order to explore fresh groundwater below the sea the Long Offset Electromagnetic (LOTEM) method, which uses grounded lines (electric dipoles) as both transmitter and receiver antennae, is applied in the marine environment. The presented work is part of a Joint German-Israeli project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space (MOST). The LOTEM measuring system from the Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne is applied for the first time in the marine environment. Although marine Time Domain electromagnetic methods with a horizontal transmitter dipol are used by the oil-industry or other university working groups for similar targets, it was never reported, besides by the Israeli project partner Geophysical Institute of Israel, to be applied to such shallow waterdepths up to a maximum of 50 m. The main goal of this thesis is to detect the submarine aquifer and to examine its lateral dimension.

 

 
 

New Article: Dallasheh, Citizenship and Colonial Zionism in Nazareth

Dallasheh, Leena. “Troubled Waters: Citizenship and Colonial Zionism in Nazareth.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.3 (2015): 467-87.

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0020743815000501

 
Abstract
Focused on the contest over water management in Nazareth during the early years of Israeli statehood (1948–56), this article traces the negotiations that took place between Palestinian residents of Nazareth and Israeli state authorities. I argue that the struggle over this vital natural resource, in a region where it is in short supply was in some measure a matter of fulfilling practical needs, but it was also part of the process of negotiating citizenship. The story of Nazareth’s water in the early Israeli period is thus a microcosm of the incorporation of Palestinians as undesired and marginalized citizens into a self-defined Jewish state. Challenging the Palestinian resistance/collaboration dichotomy and the notion of a monolithic Israeli state, I show how both Palestinian citizens and Israeli authorities adopted wide-ranging positions on water management and its broad political implications. Although Palestinian citizens were able to use the space made available through citizenship to further their collective interests, they were ultimately unable to overcome the exclusions inherent to a political system that maintained the dominance of a Jewish majority over a Palestinian minority.

 

 

New Book: Burla and Lawrence, eds. Australia and Israel

Burla, Shahar, and Dashiel Lawrence. Australia and Israel. A Diasporic, Cultural and Political Relationship. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2015.

 

Shahar

 

Australia and the State of Israel have maintained a cordial if at times ambiguous relationship. The two countries are geographically isolated: strategic, economic and cultural interests lie increasingly with Asia for one, and with the US and the EU for the other. But for all that divides the two states, there is also much they share. Australia played an important role in the Jewish state’s establishment in 1948, and is home to the most Zionist centered Jewish diaspora globally. Jewishness for most Australian Jews has been shaped and defined by engagement with and support for Israel. At the heart of this engagement is a small but thriving Israeli community within the larger multicultural Australia.

Australia and Israel: A Diasporic, Cultural and Political Relationship draws attention to the important historical and contemporary nexus between this diaspora and its imagined homeland. The collection also considers the ways in which these two states mobilise national myths and share environmental challenges. In recent time relations between the two states have been tested by the illegal use of Australian passports in 2010, the mysterious death of dual national Ben Zygier, and growing disquiet within the ranks of the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens over Israel’s handling of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. One prominent world-wide issue is the Palestinian BDS (Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions) movement, which has attracted sympathy and support that has brought about substantive differences of opinion regarding its legitimacy within the Jewish Australian community. These issues demonstrate the multifaceted and complex picture of two very different nations, that nevertheless share an abiding connection.

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Why the Book?
Shahar Burla and Dashiel Lawrence

Part One Australia and Israel – Diasporic Relationship

1 Rewriting the Rules of Engagement: New Australian Jewish
Connections with Israel
Dashiel Lawrence

2 The Personal, the Political and the Religious: Bnei Akiva
Australia and its Relationship with Israel
Ari Lander

3 Israeli Government and Diaspora Mobilisation: The Flotilla
to Gaza and the Australian Jewry as a Case Study
Shahar Burla

4 The Place of Hebrew and Israel Education in Australian
Jewish Schools
Suzanne Rutland and Zehavit Gross

5 The Ausraeli Approach: the Diasporic Identity of Israelis
in Australia
Ran Porat

Part Two Australia and Israel – Political and Cultural Relationship

6 Overcoming Water Scarcity and Inequity in Arid Lands:
Comparing Water Management in Australia and Israel
Dominic Skinner and Stephanie Galaitsi

7 Ben Zygier’s Story and Australia–Israel Relations
Ingrid Matthews

8 A Fight Worth Having: Rudd, Gillard, Israel and the
Australian Labor Party
Alex Benjamin Burston-Chorowicz

9 An Alliance of Forgetting: National Narratives of Legitimacy
on the Occasion of Israel–Australia’s Joint Stamp Issue
Commemorating the Battle of Beersheba
Micaela Sahhar

Part Three Australia, Israel and the Boycott Divestment and
Sanction Scheme

10 The Australian Greens and the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
Philip Mendes

11 Academic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: Implications
for Australian–Israeli Relations
Ingrid Matthews and James Arvanitakis

Conclusion: First Cousinhood, Political Unease, and the Limits
of Comparison
Fania Oz-Salzberger

The Editors and Contributors
Index

 

Shahar Burla is a research Associate at the Sydney Jewish Museum. He is the author of Political Imagination in the Diaspora: The Construction of a Pro-Israeli Narrative (2013). He has received several awards, including a President’s Fellowship for outstanding PhD student, Bar-Ilan University and the Menahem Begin Foundation academic award.

Dashiel Lawrence is a doctoral candidate at the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne. His research interests include Jewish diaspora–Israel contemporary relations, and Jewish critics of Israel.

 

 

New Article: Tesdell, Territoriality and the Technics of Drylands Science in Palestine and North America

Tesdell, Omar Imseeh. “Territoriality and the Technics of Drylands Science in Palestine and North America.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.3 (2015): 570-573.

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0020743815000586

 
Abstract
At the turn of the 20th century, agricultural experts in several countries assembled a new agro-scientific field: dryland farming. Their agricultural research practices concomitantly fashioned a new agro-ecological zone—the drylands—as the site of agronomic intervention. As part of this effort, American scientists worked in concert with colleagues in the emerging Zionist movement to investigate agricultural practices and crops in Palestine and neighboring regions, where nonirrigated or rainfed agriculture had long been practiced. In my larger manuscript project, I consider how the reorganization of rainfed farming as dryfarming is central to the history of both the Middle East and North America, where it was closely related to modern forms of power, sovereignty, and territoriality. I suggest that American interest in dryfarming science emerged out of a practical need to propel and sustain colonization of the Great Plains, but later became a joint effort of researchers from several emerging settler enterprises, including Australia, Canada, and the Zionist movement. In contrast to a naturally ocurring bioregion, I argue that the drylands spatiality was engineered through, rather than outside, the territorialization of modern power.

 

 

New Article: Becker, Water Pricing in Israel

Becker, Nir. “Water Pricing in Israel: Various Waters, Various Neighbors.” Global Issues in Water Policy 9 (2015): 181-99.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16465-6_10

 

Abstract

Israel manages its water scarcity by a relatively unique combination of quantitative and pricing tools. As a semiarid climate country, efficient water pricing might prove to have much more potential welfare implications. The chapter contains a summary of the theoretical background of the different water pricing policies and reforms that have been recently implemented. The summary will then be accompanied by an effort to explain the rationale of the reforms. The chapter covers water pricing schemes in the various sectors and links them into one consistent policy vision. Currently, water pricing in Israel is more closely connected to the true scarcity value of this natural resource. Yet the goals and targets faced by water planners in Israel do not allow water prices to be the only allocation mechanism, and as such, a mixture of quantities and prices will be explored. The challenges faced now by the water regulators are new and contain pricing of different water sources (treated wastewater, desalinated water, etc.) for a variety of uses, including those that are characterized as nonmarket in nature (e.g., in-stream value) and those that should be based on basin cooperation among different countries (e.g., the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and, potentially, Syria and Lebanon in the future).

New Article: Ward and Becker, Economic Cost of Water Deliveries for Peace and the Environment in Israel

Ward, Frank A., and Nir Becker. “Economic Cost of Water Deliveries for Peace and the Environment in Israel: An Integrated Water Resources Management Approach.” Water Resources Research (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014WR016783

 

Abstract

This paper presents a framework for discovering an economically viable water sharing plan among neighboring communities for promoting peace and environmental protection. Its application is to the Middle East in which Israel may be facing water supply obligations to address environmental requirements and for a possible a peace agreement with its Palestinian neighbors. The framework consists of integrating external factors, constraints, policy instruments, and targets. Our findings from a constrained optimization analysis of Israel’s national water system show that the costs of increased deliveries are dependent on two major issues: (1) achieving integrated water resources management (IWRM) in which efficient combinations of expansion from several supply sources and reductions in demands occur over time, and (2) the cost of desalination technologies. We identify a $US 1.46 billion price tag, in present value terms, from using integrated management of demand reduction and supply expansion under current desalination costs. Adjustment costs will decline both with anticipated reductions in desalination costs and with an efficient implementation of IWRM. These adjustments can contribute to moderating regional tensions and protecting key ecological assets while addressing water scarcity in a volatile corner of the world.

New Book: Peters and Newman, eds. The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Peters, Joel and David Newman, eds. The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. London and New York: Routledge, 2013.

 

URL: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415778626/

9780415778626

Abstract

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most prominent issues in world politics today. Few other issues have dominated the world’s headlines and have attracted such attention from policy makers, the academic community, political analysts, and the world’s media.

The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict offers a comprehensive and accessible overview of the most contentious and protracted political issue in the Middle East. Bringing together a range of top experts from Israel, Palestine, Europe and North America the Handbook tackles a range of topics including:

  • The historical background to the conflict
  • peace efforts
  • domestic politics
  • critical issues such as displacement, Jerusalem and settler movements
  • the role of outside players such as the Arab states, the US and the EU

This Handbook provides the reader with an understanding of the complexity of the issues that need to be addressed in order to resolve the conflict, and a detailed examination of the varied interests of the actors involved. In-depth analysis of the conflict is supplemented by a chronology of the conflict, key documents and a range of maps.

The contributors are all leading authorities in their field and have published extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict/peace process. Many have played a leading role in various Track II initiatives accompanying the peace process.

 

Table of Contents

Part 1: Competing Nationalisms

1. The Origins of Zionism Colin Schindler

2. The Palestinian National Movement: from self-rule to statehood Ahmad Samih Khalidi

Part 2:Narratives and Key Moments

3. Competing Israeli and Palestinan Narratives Paul Scham

4. The 1948 War: The Battle over History Kirsten E. Schulze

5. The First and Second Palestinian Intifadas Rami Nasrallah

6. The Camp David Summit: a Tale of Two Narratives Joel Peters

 

Part 3: Seeking Peace

7.The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: 1967-1993 Laura Zittrain Eisenberg

8. Peace Plans: 1993-2012 Galia Golan

Part 4: Issues

9.Palestinian Refugees Rex Brynen

10. Jerusalem Michael Dumper

11. Territory and Borders David Newman

12. Water Julie Trottier

13. Terrorism Magnus Norell

14. Religion Yehezkel Landau

15. Economics Arie Arnon

16. Unilaterlaism and Separation Gerald M. Steinberg

17. Gaza Joel Peters

Part 5: Domestic Actors

18.The Palestine Liberation Organization Nigel Parsons

19. The Palestinian Authority Nigel Parsons

20. Hamas Khaled Hroub

21. Palestinian Civil Society Michael Schulz

22. Gush Emunim and the Israeli Settler Movement David Newman

23. The Israeli Peace Movements Naomi Chazan

Part 6: International Engagement

24. Palestinian Citizens of Israel Amal Jamal

25. The United States: 1948- 1993 Steven L. Spiegel

26. The United States: 1993-2010 Steven L. Spiegel

27. Russia Robert O. Freedman

28. Europe Rosemary Hollis

29. The Arab World P. R. Kumaraswamy

30. The Jewish Diaspora and the Pro-Israel Lobby Dov Waxman

Chronology Steve Lutes

New Article: Peled, Drawing History from an Old Well in a Palestinian Arab Town in Israel

Peled, Kobi. “The Social Texture of the Baqa Well:Drawing History from an Old Well in a Palestinian Arab Town in Israel.” Middle Eastern Studies 50.5 (2014): 810-825.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00263206.2014.935344

 

Abstract

Water sources have always played a significant role in Palestinian rural life. Springs and wells are frequently depicted in orientalist sources, yet they have barely been studied from the perspective of oral history. This article explores the social texture of an ancient well, located in the Palestinian Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyya in Israel, by using fragmented memories of the old women and men who drew water from that well more than half a century ago. This study examines the well as a powerful reservoir of local memories, focusing on the feminine experience that was formed at the well, on its symbolic meaning in the lives of Palestinian women, and on a silent language of implicit expressions that was once used at the well.

New Article: Katz, Niagara, Primitivism, and the Hebrew Literary Imagination

Katz, Stephen. “Power and Powerlessness: Niagara, Primitivism, and the Hebrew Literary Imagination.” Modern Judaism 34.2 (2014): 233-56.

URL: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/2/233

 

Excerpt

Despite the impression of having attained tranquility and a stable existence, the Jews in Semel’s novel have not found their proper rest, not even on their IsraIsland by the Niagara River. The Falls, just a hop-skip-and-jump downstream, issue forth a foreboding mushroom-like pillar of vapor that rises into the air taking the form that evokes a nuclear explosion (pp. 80, 176, 203, 225–26), a force that threatens to annihilate all of humanity. The metaphor stands as a constant reminder of the violence lurking behind human affairs, from the destruction of Native American culture to the events of September 11, 2001. In addition, it is a threat to Jewish existence as its relatively pristine homogeneous culture gives rise to an Americanized hybridity, as is the life of all who reside in this place.

The image of the Falls resembling the mushroom-shaped aftermath of a nuclear explosion resembles an analogous image frequently applied to Israel. As opposed to life on the precipice of a torrential waterfall, Israel’s condition has often been likened to existence on the edge of a volcano. Nava Semel merely substitutes water for fire. The Falls, it turns out, become a harbinger for the devastations of September 11 as a mark of the end of things, and perhaps some new beginnings.

[…]

At the time when Jews migrating to Eretz Israel were occupied with learning the lay of the land (yedi‘at ha’aretz, knowledge of the land), Hebrew writers in America were also making the acquaintance of the Golden Land. Assimilation into America—whether by those dwelling in America literally, or figuratively for those Hebraists demonstrating their worldliness by writing of vistas other than their own—was also a process of yedi‘at ha’aretz for America’s Hebraists. Their writings testify to an act of inscribing America, of acculturation and internationalization, an adoption of the New World, its environment and myths. In this process, Niagara was but one of many sites of intersection, of American places introduced to the Hebrew reader. As we see, more than a few works in prose or verse were preoccupied with this project, either directly or as an incidental setting of the plot in a new milieu. In so doing, these poems and tales were making the American landscape part of the Jewish experience, fixing it within the reader’s conscience, as a “coming out” of Hebrew literature from the cocoon of self-absorption to an exploration and adaptation to the world.

We might even detect in these American-centered vistas a legacy of the haskalah, when Hebrew writing was praised for the attention devoted to the intricacies of nature and the natural world or was criticized for not doing so. In their fixation on Niagara, writers were inevitably challenged to add their own powers of observation, replication, and metaphorizing, when needed, to broaden it for the host of uses in the Hebrew literary canon.

New Book: Shamir, The Electrification of Palestine

Shamir, Ronen. Current Flow. The Electrification of Palestine. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.

 

cover for Current Flow

Whether buried underfoot or strung overhead, electrical lines are omnipresent. Not only are most societies dependent on electrical infrastructure, but this infrastructure actively shapes electrified society. From the wires, poles, and generators themselves to the entrepreneurs, engineers, politicians, and advisors who determine the process of electrification, our electrical grids can create power—and politics—just as they transmit it.

Current Flow examines the history of electrification of British-ruled Palestine in the 1920s, as it marked, affirmed, and produced social, political, and economic difference between Arabs and Jews. Considering the interplay of British colonial interests, the Jewish-Zionist leanings of a commissioned electric company, and Arab opposition within the case of the Jaffa Power House, Ronen Shamir reveals how electrification was central in assembling a material infrastructure of ethno-national separation in Palestine long before “political partition plans” had ever been envisioned. Ultimately, Current Flow sheds new light on the history of Jewish-Arab relations and offers broader sociological insights into what happens when people are transformed from users into elements of networks.

Ronen Shamir is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University and author of The Colonies of Law: Colonialism, Zionism and Law in Early Mandate Palestine (2000) and Managing Legal Uncertainty: Elite Lawyers in the New Deal (1996).

Cite: Federbush and Muys, Israel and Water: Global Economic Growth and Diplomatic Relations

Federbush, Marjorie S. and Jerome C. Muys. “Israel and Water-(What’s Next for the) ‘Turn around Nation’: How Israel’s Leadership in Advanced Water Technologies Can Enhance Global Economic Growth and Diplomatic Relations.” American Foreign Policy Interests 34.6 (2012): 309-21.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/uafp/2012/00000034/00000006/art00004

 

Abstract

In less than a decade, Israel has turned around from a perennially water-stressed society, facing serious challenges from climate change, drought, and depletion of water resources, to a technologically savvy innovator of advanced water technologies and management techniques. Having developed the systems, strategies, and technologies to successfully address its own water shortages, Israel now has moved aggressively to engage with other countries as they struggle with their own water deficits. Not only are developing economies seeking access to Israel’s technological know-how in the areas of water technology and management, but policy makers and the business community in developed countries have also taken note. In short, Israel has become a model of economic growth under adverse circumstances. In the process, Israel is increasingly welcomed as a member of the community of nations because of its efforts to promote technology transfer and offer humanitarian assistance to countries facing similar problems. By reaching out to the international community on water-related issues, Israel is creating mechanisms for both global economic growth and diplomatic gains.

Cite: Fröhlich, The Israeli–Palestinian Water Conflict

Fröhlich, Christiane J. “Security and Discourse: the Israeli–Palestinian Water Conflict.” Conflict, Security & Development 12.2 (2012): 123-148.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14678802.2012.688290

 

Abstract

When conflictive viewpoints are discursively strengthened, they develop into a ‘conflict discourse’ with a specific discursive structure which perpetuates conflict, like the discursive securitisation of an issue for varying audiences. When they are weakened, however, societal discourse can potentially change so that agreement becomes possible again, thus achieving discursive conflict transformation. This article analyses the Israeli and the Palestinian water discourse. On both sides, the dominant discourse structures underscore the conflictive issues regarding the distribution of water between Israelis and Palestinians, thus making communication, let alone negotiation, downright impossible. While Palestinians regard the natural water resources as sufficient in principle and the existing scarcity as entirely politically induced, Israelis perceive the natural water resources as absolutely scarce while receiving major de-securitisation impulses from the possibility of desalination. In the respective (minor) counter-discourses, however, possible starting points for dialogue and conflict resolution are visible.