Eduardo Torres

Eduardo Torres

Associate Fellow
Eduardo  Torres

Research Abstract

"Border Identities Among Immigrants from Latin America in Israel"

   On June 22nd 2009, the New York Times published an article on the difficulties in acclimation of an immigrant to Ramla, Israel from the Peruvian jungle.  The article represents the growing phenomenon of immigrants to Israel, from Latin America who do not fit the definition of normative Judaism.   This immigration by definition possesses distinctive features.  For example, a family in Ramla participates in Christian rituals at an Arab-Christian church.  Another family in the West Bank is suing a Palestinian over a piece of land and at the same time raises Peruvian battle turkeys and buys medicine from a Palestinian with whom it is on cordial terms.  InJerusalem the immigrants protest their relegation to the fringes of society because of discrimination, which they attribute to their ethnic appearance, poor education, little-valued occupations, and their numbering among the Settlers.  The media portray these immigrants as folkloristic.  The religious authorities criticize this population's extra-marital relations and fondness of alcohol.  Hitherto, there has not been any comprehensive research carried out on this population,

     This research will investigate issues surrounding immigration, such as: the process of immigration and its effects on the integration of identity and religion and the preservation of the immigrants' ethnicity, using the concept of "border identities", studying the immigrants from Latin America, who settled in Israel between 1990-2008.  Analysis of these immigrants' rituals within the context of Israeli society, in places where contact with other populations occurs can explain the process of the formation of these immigrants' identity, sense of otherness, acculturation, and faith.  Understanding the presence of these new players and the interaction between them and other groups are essential for bringing lasting peace to age-old conflicts in Israel.