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Israeliness in No Man’s Land

Citizenship in the West Bank of Israel/Palestine


Yarden Enav

This book is the result of ethnographic research carried out in the Academic College of Judea & Samaria (ACJS), located in the West Bank of Israel/Palestine. The book deals with Israeli citizenship and identity, and examines the ways in which it is being understood and imagined by ACJS students and teachers. The book also analyzes the Orange Zionist organizational culture of the ACJS. In the end, a new socio-political model of Israel/Palestine is offered: Israel as a Zionist Democracy.
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Chapter 6: Faces of Israel


Anthropological research of Israeliness and Israelis is scarce. For some reason, anthropologists usually left it to journalists and writers (Shokeid, 2002: 76). Among the most notable of these works about Israeliness (which were published in English) are The Israelis by Amos Elon (1971) and In the Land of Israel by Amos Oz (1983). However, these were both literary rather than academic works, and both described a different political and historical era: the first one describes the Jewish-Israeli ‘Sabra’ culture soon after 1967, and the second was published even before the 1st Palestinian Intifada broke out (and was titled in the land of Israel, rather than in the state of Israel). A few other Israeli journalists and writers have published works about the Israelis in Hebrew for the Jewish-Israeli public (Melman, 1993, Michael, 2001).

Whenever academic research was done about Israeliness and Israeli identity, it was done by sociologists, psychologists and political scientists. Most notable and comprehensive of these works are: The Invention and Decline of Israeliness (Kimmerling, 2001), Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship (Shafir & Peled, 2002) and Israeli Identities (Auron, 2010), and in Hebrew: Preda Mesrulik [Farewell to Srulik] (Almog, 2005), Tzofen HaYisraeliyut [The Code of Isrealiness] (Yair, 2011) and Living with the Conflict: Socio-Psychological Analysis of the Jewish Society in Israel (Bar-Tal, 2007).

Some other good examples are researches focusing on the relation between Israeli and Palestinian identity (Kelman, 1999, Bar-Tal & Rouhana, 1998) and on the tension between civic and ethnic...

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