Civic Awareness and Associations in Israel’s Underprivileged Sectors in the 1950s–1960s

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Ben-Gurion University pkabalo@gmail.com
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abstract

This article discusses associative initiatives by two underprivileged sectors in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s: inhabitants of low-income neighborhoods on the fringes of Tel Aviv and Arab citizens living in towns and villages under supervision of the Military Administration. Based on varied archival sources comprised largely of letters and memoranda written by members of the associations, the study examines encounters that took place (usually in writing but sometimes face-to-face as well) between marginalized citizens and policymakers from the political (local or national) center. I contend that the effect of the associative initiatives should be viewed through the prism of the community’s sense of self-value and the civic skills that it imparts, regardless of the concrete attainment of goals. I argue that such an inquiry into voluntary associations, both formal (registered) and informal (non-registered), yields a more complex picture of the limited Israeli democracy of the country’s first two decades.

Contributor Notes

paula kabalo is currently the Director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism (BGRI), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a Faculty Member at BGRI. E-mail: pkabalo@gmail.com

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