Researchers Publications

Hazran Y. The origins of sectarianism in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 2017.Abstract

This paper differs from previous studies in arguing that sectarianism
has overwhelmingly been created consensually by/or as a result of
the elites’ behavioral patterns. Religious or communal pluralism does
not categorically lead to political sectarianism; The development of
pluralism into political sectarianism can thus be adduced as dependent
upon other factors—first and foremost the behavioural patterns of the
elite. While the imperial legacy, theological controversies, and socioeconomic
gaps feed political sectarianism, in and of themselves they
are insufficient to cause it. A survey of the history of Egypt and the
other countries in the Fertile Crescent reveals that the development
of political sectarianism or sectarian violence has been organically
linked to elites' political behaviors and interests. sectarianism takes
the form of the instrumental exploitation of a religious or communal
identity or framework in order to enable political organization, the
gaining of political legitimacy, the promotion of political change,
or the preservation of the control held by interest groups. While in
the eyes of many critics, sectarianism forms a striking example of the
elites' intrinsic weakness, sectarianism is first and foremost a product
of the elites’ quest for power.

The Arab Minority in Israel: Open and Hidden Processes
Israeli R. The Arab Minority in Israel: Open and Hidden Processes.; 2017.Abstract

Israeli Arabs constitute some 20% of the general population – a percentage that has remained steady since 1948, despite massive waves of Jewish aliyah. Because the Arab population growth rate is greater than the Jewish one, Israel’s Jewish nature could be endangered once sources of Jewish immigration dry up. Together with Israeli Arab refusal to integrate into Israeli political parties, and their insistence on maintaining separate linguistic and educational systems, this will perpetuate the growing gap between the two populations.

The Third Wave: Protest and Revolution in the Middle East
Podeh E, Winkler O. The Third Wave: Protest and Revolution in the Middle East.; 2017.Abstract

In December 2010, an unemployed Tunisian youth named Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire. This act ignited demonstrations throughout the Arab world, led to the downfall of the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and sparked civil war in Syria and Yemen. The Arab Spring was the third wave of awakening in the Arab world since the establishment of the Arab territorial states after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This book is the first in-depth Hebrew examination of the storm of the Arab Spring.

A Local Habitation and A Name: A Literary and Cultural Reading of the Arabic Geographical names of the Land
Dahamshy A. A Local Habitation and A Name: A Literary and Cultural Reading of the Arabic Geographical names of the Land.; 2017.Abstract

In the late 1950s, as part of a general mass immigration from Arab countries, many Iraqi Jews left or had to leave Iraq for Israel. In their encounter with a new society where Hebrew is the national language, most Iraqi Jewish authors found it impossible to continue writing in Arabic and had to face the literary challenge of switching to another tongue in order to be read. Clashes between origins and new cultures are likely to occur when geographical contexts change. In this regard, and unlike the typical emigration context when people move from east to west, moving from east to east exemplifies the experience of two Jewish authors, Shimon Ballas (b. Baghdad, 1930) and Eli Amir (b. Baghdad, 1937) alike. It is this complex situation that provides the backdrop to this study. Shimon Ballas and Eli Amir employ Arabic place names associated with Baghdad and/or Iraq in different ways in their Hebrew texts. This paper investigates the style of using Arabic place names in four Hebrew novels written by the two authors. The study argues that the place names brought by immigrant authors from their country of origin are not just names, but rather serve as codes and tools to transfer history, culture and traditions through a very minimal use of the mother tongue within literary texts, creating a sort of ‘bilingual’ final product.


Looking Backward to the Future: Counter-Memory as Oppositional Knowledge-Production in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Gutman Y. Looking Backward to the Future: Counter-Memory as Oppositional Knowledge-Production in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Current Sociology. 2017;65 (1) :54-72.Abstract

This article examines a strategy of peace activism that gained visibility in the last decades: memory activism. Memory activists manifest a temporal shift in transnational politics: first the past, then the future. Affiliated with the globally-circulating paradigm of historical justice, memory activist groups assume that a new understanding of the past could lead to a new perception of present problems and project alternative solutions for the future. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis among memory activists of the 1948 war in Israel since 2001, the article examines the activist production of counter-memory during active conflict. Using Coy et al.’s typology of oppositional knowledge-production, the article shows how the largest group of memory activism in Israel produced ‘new’ information on the war, critically assessed the dominant historical narrative, offered an alternative shared narrative, and began to envision practical solutions for Palestinian refugees. However, the analysis raises additional concerns that reach beyond the scope of the typology, primarily regarding the unequal power relations that exist not only between the dominant and activist production of oppositional knowledge, but also among activists.


Memory Activism: Reimagining the Past for the Future in Israel-Palestine
Gutman Y. Memory Activism: Reimagining the Past for the Future in Israel-Palestine.; 2017.Abstract

Set in Israel in the first decade of the twenty-first century and based on long-term fieldwork, this rich ethnographic study offers an innovative analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It explores practices of "memory activism" by three groups of Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Palestinian citizens--Zochrot, Autobiography of a City, and Baladna--showing how they appropriated the global model of truth and reconciliation while utilizing local cultural practices such as tours and testimonies.

These activist efforts gave visibility to a silenced Palestinian history in order to come to terms with the conflict's origins and envision a new resolution for the future. This unique focus on memory as a weapon of the weak reveals a surprising shift in awareness of Palestinian suffering among the Jewish majority of Israeli society in a decade of escalating violence and polarization--albeit not without a backlash.

Contested memories saturate this society. The 1948 war is remembered as both Independence Day by Israelis and al-Nakba ("the catastrophe") by Palestinians. The walking tour and survivor testimonies originally deployed by the state for national Zionist education that marginalized Palestinian citizens are now being appropriated by activists for tours of pre-state Palestinian villages and testimonies by refugees.


"Arab Idol": A Palestinian Victory, At Last
Shaked R, Radai I. "Arab Idol": A Palestinian Victory, At Last. Tel Aviv Notes. 2017;11.Abstract

On February 27, 2017, Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the diaspora, as well as the Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel, sat captivated by the broadcast of the finale of the fourth season of the reality television show, "Arab Idol." Held in Beirut, the final round of the Arab Idol competition featured two Palestinian contestants, Yacoub Shahin of Bethlehem in the Palestinian Authority and Ameer Dandan from the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum in Israel, along with a third finalist from Yemen.

Exploring Message Targeting at Home and Abroad: The Role of Political and Media Considerations in the Rhetorical Dynamics of Conflict Resolution
Friedman E, Kampf Z, Balmas M. Exploring Message Targeting at Home and Abroad: The Role of Political and Media Considerations in the Rhetorical Dynamics of Conflict Resolution. International Journal of Communication. 2017;11 :1597-1617.Abstract

Targeting messages on sensitive, conflict-related issues while mediating between disparate audience expectations presents a significant risk to the image and interests of political actors. This study provides a basis for understanding the factors that impact a politician’s choice between using message consistencies or gaps and discusses their consequences for conflict resolution processes. Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of 644 messages presented by Israeli officials with respect to the Israeli–Arab conflict and Israeli–Palestinian conflict over three different periods (1967‒73; 1993‒2000; 2009‒12), the study points to foreign relations defined by the existence of negotiations rather than mediatization processes as the significant factor that impacts the rhetorical dynamics of conflict resolution negotiations, due to the amplified pressures of a two-level game during periods of rapprochement.

Israel in the Making: Stickers, Stitches, and other Other Critical Practices
Salamon H. Israel in the Making: Stickers, Stitches, and other Other Critical Practices.; 2017.Abstract

The brilliant kaleidoscope of everyday creativity in Israel is thrown into relief in this study, which teases out the abiding national tensions and contradictions at work in the expressive acts of ordinary people. Hagar Salamon examines creativity in Israel’s public sphere through the lively discourse of bumper stickers, which have become a potent medium for identity and commentary on national and religious issues. Exploring the more private expressive sphere of women’s embroidery, she profiles a group of Jerusalem women who meet regularly and create "folk embroidery.” Salamon also considers the significance of folk expressions at the intersections of the public and private that rework change and embrace transformation. Far ranging and insightful, Israel in the Making captures the complex creative essence of a nation state and vividly demonstrates how its citizens go about defining themselves, others, and their country every day.

Golda Meir: A Political Biography
Medzini M. Golda Meir: A Political Biography.; 2017.Abstract

For five decades Golda Meir was at the center of the political arena in Israel and left her mark on the development of the Yishuv and the state. She was a unique woman, great leader, with a magnetic personality, a highly complex individual. She held some of the most important positions that her party and the State could bestow. She fulfilled most of them with talent and dignity. She failed in the top job - that of Prime Minister. This biography traces her origins, her American roots, her immediate family, her failed marriage, her rise in the party, the trade union movement, her massive and enduring achievements as Secretary of Labor and Housing, her ten year stint as foreign minister and finally the reasons that led to her failure as prime minister. She was a very good tactician, far less a strategist. She was a major builder of modern Israel whose influence on that country, on Israel-American relations and on Jewish history was evident primarily from 1969 to 1974. The author who served as spokesman for Golda Meir in 1973-1974 weaves a gripping story of one of the builders and leaders of the State of Israel.

Saudi Arabia the Next Stop on China's Maritime Silk Road
Tanchum M’el. Saudi Arabia the Next Stop on China's Maritime Silk Road. [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Like a weathervane, the recent visit to China by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman points to changing strategic directions in the Middle East–Asia security architecture. The significance of the Saudi monarch’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top officials goes well beyond the hefty US$65 billion in economic and trade deals signed between Riyadh and Beijing. The visit confirmed the nascent strategic partnership developing between China and Saudi Arabia as Beijing seeks to promote stability on its 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
(press  Publisher Version to continue reading)

Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy
Eliraz G. Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy. Aijac [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The results of Jakarta's first round of gubernatorial elections might be confusing to many casual observers of Indonesian politics - the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor, Bauska Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, came first. This happened even though Ahok has been, during recent months, in the eye of a storm that saw him facing a high-profile criminal trial - accused of breaking blasphemy laws by insulting the Quran, in a country dominated by a Muslim majority. The serial massive protests in Jakarta against Ahok, full of hatred and marked by religious and ethnic overtones that preceded his trial, could create an impression that zealous Islamists control the public sphere and significantly threaten Indonesia's democracy and the national maxim of "unity in diversity". In the face of this public storm, the outside observer could be forgiven for believing that Ahok's fate was sealed... (press  Publisher Version to continue reading)

Israeli-Austrian Relations: A Personal Retrospective
Govrin Y. Israeli-Austrian Relations: A Personal Retrospective. Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs [Internet]. 2016;10 (3) :487-494. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Israel's relations with Austria have experienced many vicissitudes in the sixty years that have elapsed since the two countries inaugurated formal ties. Austria recognized the State of Israel on March 5, 1949, nearly ten months after the Jewish State declared independence. In 1950, both countries established mutual representations on a consular level, Israel in Vienna and Austria in Tel Aviv. In 1956, they established mutual diplomatic relations on the level of legations, and in 1959 the legations were raised to the rank of embassies. (Read more in the text attached)

Govrin - Israeli-Austrian Relations.pdf
Freedom In The Arab World: Concepts and Ideologies in Arabic Thought in the Nineteenth Century
Abu-’Uksa W. Freedom In The Arab World: Concepts and Ideologies in Arabic Thought in the Nineteenth Century.; 2016.Abstract

This book examines the development of the concept of freedom (hurriyya) in nineteenth-century Arab political thought, its ideological offshoots, their modes, and their substance as they developed the dynamics of the Arabic language. The author traces the transition of the idea of freedom from a term used in a predominantly non-political way, to its popularity and near ubiquity at the dawn of the 20th century. He also analyses the importance of associated
concepts such as “liberalism”, “socialism”, “progress,” “rationalism,” “secularism,” and “citizenship.”

Reflections on my Mission as Israel's Ambassador
Govrin Y. Reflections on my Mission as Israel's Ambassador.; 2016.Abstract

"Reflections on my Mission as Israel's Ambassador to Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia August 1993-December 1995"
These Reflections are based on the author's activities in developing relations with Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia, in substance and in quantity. his discussions with the heads of these states and their discussions with their Israeli counterparts, surveying their internal and external policies, describing the local Jewish communities and the activities to foster relations with them and to strengthen their national status. These reflections have a documentary nature and constitute a unique and important source for research regarding the history of Israel's relations with these from the beginning of the 1990.

Juifs et Musulmans en Palestine et en Israel: Des Origins a Nos Jours
Cohen A. Juifs et Musulmans en Palestine et en Israel: Des Origins a Nos Jours.; 2016.Abstract

The book describes the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel from the beginning of Islam to the present day. Departing from the accepted picture of hostile relations and mutual hostility over the past century, the book celebrates the hundreds of years preceding the British Mandate. Analysis of thousands of documents from the archives of the Muslim court in Jerusalem during the 400 years of Turkish-Ottoman rule makes it clear that there was a diverse and multidisciplinary system of coexistence, tolerance and partnership in all areas of life between the Jews of Palestine and their Arab neighbors.

Al-Wefaq and the February 14 uprising: Islam, nationalism and democracy– the Shici-Bahraini discourse
Machlis E. Al-Wefaq and the February 14 uprising: Islam, nationalism and democracy– the Shici-Bahraini discourse. Middle Eastern Studies. 2016;52 (6) :978-995.Abstract

Al-Wefaq's complex nature led to ambiguity over the relationship between religion and politics and over the balance between Islamic ecumenism and sectarianism. While the Shici uprising presented a national and democratic agenda, questions remain over the party's full commitment to democracy and its loyalty to the national framework in the current regional turmoil with the empowerment of Shicis and disintegration of nation-states. There could be a discrepancy between the declared aims of an oppositional movement and its actions once it assumes power. The problematic legacy of minority–majority relations in Bahrain, the country's political culture and the difficult example of post-2003 Iraq, are further barriers to advancing full democracy. If the Shici majority gains power the party may become less democratic and more sectarian. Yet, it will also have much to lose given Bahrain's strategic alliance with the US and its position as a financial services hub in the region.

Christianophobia: The Persecution of Christians under Islam
Israeli R. Christianophobia: The Persecution of Christians under Islam.; 2016.Abstract

In the present upheaval in the Islamic world, as chaos, war, and vengeance are overtaking order, security, and civil rights, Muslim radicals have been venting their frustrations among their minorities, most of whom are Christian: from ancient Chaldeans in Iraq to Orthodox denominations in Turkey; from Catholics in Indonesia and Malaysia to remote and isolated Christian communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Related to this vast and escalating phenomenon has been the violent activity of some within the Muslim minorities in the West, who have migrated there in the past few decades and now seek revenge against their former colonial masters. This is taking place in the context of fast-increasing numbers of Muslims in the West, the result both of high birthrates and of escalating legal and illegal immigration from Islamic lands.

The Geopolitics of Cross-border Electricity Grids: The Israeli-Arab Case
Herman L, Fischhendler I, Anderman J. The Geopolitics of Cross-border Electricity Grids: The Israeli-Arab Case. Energy Policy. 2016;98 :533-543.Abstract

Countries often attempt to establish regional electricity grids. However, whereas research on natural resources frequently seeks to understand policy outcome through a geopolitical prism, when it comes to electricity studies the prism is always economic or technical. Hence, this study is a first attempt to identify the geopolitical dimension of cross-border electricity grids. The study argues that success in establishing electricity grids requires identifying how the geopolitical dimension interplays with the physical dimension. To examine the role of these geopolitical bottlenecks, the study examines negotiation protocols, spanning over 15 years, on establishing ten grid connections between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It finds that electricity geopolitics has been used both as a platform for deeper international cooperation and as a stick against neighboring states. When policies are driven by a peace dividend, proposals for grid connection appear to evolve and overcome the dependency and the security-economy bottlenecks. When relations deteriorate, proposals for grid connections appear to undergo reconsideration and to be held hostage by higher politics. If, when and how electricity grids materialize is a function of the nature of the electricity network as a twofold package and of the ability of the planning process to accommodate geopolitical uncertainty.


Homeland: Zionism as Housing Regime, 1860-2011
Allweil Y. Homeland: Zionism as Housing Regime, 1860-2011.; 2016.Abstract

On 29 March 2016 the New York based online journal, Realty Today reported Israel is facing a housing crisis with [the] home inventory lacking 100,000 apartments House prices, which have more than doubled in less than a decade, resulted in a mass protest back in 2011 .

As Yael Allweil reveals in her fascinating book, housing has played a pivotal role in the history of nationalism and nation building in Israel-Palestine. She adopts the concept of homeland to highlight how land and housing are central to both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, and how the history of Zionist and Palestinian national housing have been inseparably intertwined from the introduction of the Ottoman Land Code in 1858 to the present day.

Following the Introduction, Part I, Historiographies of Land Reform and Nationalism, discusses the formation of nationalism as the direct result of the Ottoman land code of 1858. Part II, Housing as Proto-Nationalism focuses on housing as the means to claim rights over the homeland. Part III, Housing and Nation-Building in the Age of State Sovereignty, explores the effects of statehood on national housing across several strata of Israeli society. The Afterword discusses housing as the quintessential object of agonistic conflict in Israel-Palestine, around which the Israeli polity is formed and reformed.