“I’ll Do Business with Anyone”

Arab Teachers in Jewish Schools as a Disruptive Innovation

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Beit Berl College, Israel rakefeter1@gmail.com
  • 2 Beit Berl College, Israel shaharg@beitberl.ac.il
  • 3 Open University of Israel and Beit Berl College, Israel mhisherik@hotmail.com
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Abstract

Given the surplus of Arab teachers and the shortage of Jewish teachers in Israel, the government has adopted the policy of employing Arab teachers in Jewish schools, contrary to the dominant nationalistic agenda. We argue that this low-cost solution meets the criteria for disruptive innovation in that it flies under the radar and has the potential to proliferate and change the existing social order. Through surveys and interviews with boundary-crossing Arab teachers, this article finds that teachers circumvent power structures in three social fields. In the Arab community, work in Jewish schools helps teachers bypass nepotism and provides a new path for upward mobility. In the education system, boundary-crossing teachers disrupt segregation. And at the state level, this innovation may improve Jewish-Arab relations.

Contributor Notes

RAKEFET RON ERLICH is a Lecturer at Beit Berl College whose research interests include the sociology of Israeli society, gender, cross-cultural interactions, and consumerism. E-mail: rakefeter1@gmail.com

SHAHAR GINDI is a Senior Lecturer at Beit Berl College and a school psychologist. He has published in the fields of psychology, education, and program evaluation. His main research interests include discussions of controversial political issues in schools as well as minority teachers’ experience in Israel. E-mail: shaharg@beitberl.ac.il

MICHAL HISHERIK is a Tutor at the Open University of Israel and lectures at Beit Berl College. She specializes in sociology, gender, and family studies, including violence against women, intervention programs, and public policy to prevent violence. E-mail: mhisherik@hotmail.com

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