Dr. Chen Bram
"Intergroup Relations in Israeli ‘Mixed Towns’: Immigrant Jews from the Caucasus and Central Asia and the Local Arab Population"
The study employs integrated anthropological and historical methods to examine intergroup relations between Jewish immigrants from Soviet Eurasia and their Arab neighbors. It focuses on immigrants from Central Asia and from the Caucasus who used to live in Muslim surroundings and currently live side-by-side with Arab-Palestinian Israelis in ‘mixed’ towns.
On Yom Kippur eve, October 2008, clashes erupted between Jews and Arabs in Acre. Immigrants from Azerbaijan, who make up the majority of the population of East Acre shikunim (projects), were highly involved in these events. Why have people who once lived at peace with Muslims found themselves at the forefront of Jewish-Muslim clashes? Another relevant case is the interaction between Arab citizens and Bukhara Jews in Ramla. Initial findings show that inter-group relations in this case are relatively calm, and immigrants from Central that previously lived among Muslims Asia do not consider the town’s ‘mixed’ population to be a problem.
How do past relations influence current relations with neighboring Arabs? What is the influence of other variables, such as gender, religious background, and integration processes?: field studies, including interviews, of current inter-group relations, as well as an historical examination of the immigrants’ former experiences.
The literature tends to discuss Jewish-Arab relations in Israel as a dynamic between two broad collectives. The diversity within each collective, particularly among the Jews, has not merited sufficient attention. This research will highlight the emerging relations between immigrants from Eurasia and Arab citizens, and will add new theoretical perspectives to the discussions on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel in general and the scholarship on ‘mixed towns’ in particular.