Roundtable: The COVID-19 Pandemic in Israel

in Israel Studies Review
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Joel S. MigdalProfessor Emeritus, University of Washington, USA migdal@uw.edu

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Anat Ben-DavidAssociate Professor of Communication, Cofounder, Open Media and Information Lab Open University, Israel anatbd@gmail.com

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Uriel AbulofTel-Aviv University, Israel ua42@cornell.edu

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Shirley Le PennePhD Student, Cornell University, USA sl3287@cornell.edu

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Tomer PersicoKoret Visiting Assistant Professor, Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, USA tomer.persico@shi.org.il

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Nohad ‘AliSenior Lecturer and Researcher, Department of Sociology, Western Galilee College, Israel Nohada@wgalil.ac.il

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Tsafi Sebba-ElranSenior Lecturer, Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of Haifa, Israel tsafisebba@gmail.com

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Maya RosenfeldDepartments of Political Science and Middle East and Islamic Studies, Hebrew University, Israel maya.rosenfeld@mail.huji.ac.il

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Nissim CohenMember of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel nissimcohen@poli.haifa.ac.il

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Eran Vigoda-GadotProfessor, Public Administration and Management, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel eranv@poli.haifa.ac.il

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Shlomo MizrahiProfessor, Division of Public Administration and Policy, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel schlomom@poli.haifa.ac.il

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Meital PintoSenior Lecturer, Zefat Academic College School of Law and the Ono Academic College Faculty of Law, Israel meital.pinto.1@gmail.com

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Hagar SalamonMax and Margarethe Grunwald Chair in Folklore and Head of the Graduate Program for Folklore and Folk Culture Studies and Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel hagar.salamon@mail.huji.ac.il

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Diego RotmanSenior Lecturer, Researcher, Multidisciplinary Artist, and Curator diego.rotman@mail.huji.ac.il

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As in other countries, COVID-19 hit Israel like a bolt of lightning—unexpected, sudden, and powerful. And, like others, Israel was woefully unprepared for what would follow. The first cases came to light in the last week of February 2020, and by March and April the country was in full-scale crisis mode. In the end, almost one in ten people came down with the virus and more than 8,000 died, more than in any war that Israel has fought.

Contributor Notes

JOEL S. MIGDAL is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Library Fellow at the Van Leer Institute. He was the founding chair of the University of Washington's International Studies Program. Migdal was formerly associate professor of Government at Harvard University and senior lecturer at Tel-Aviv University. Among his books are Strong Societies and Weak States; State in Society; Through the Lens of Israel; The Palestinian People: A History (with Baruch Kimmerling); and Shifting Sands: The United States in the Middle East. He was awarded the University of Washington's Distinguished Teaching Award and Graduate Mentor Award, as well as the Washington State Governor's Writers Award. He is past president of the Association for Israel Studies. E-mail: migdal@uw.edu

ANAT BEN-DAVID is Associate Professor of Communication and co-founder of the Open Media and Information Lab at the Open University of Israel. Focusing on the intersection between Science and Technology Studies (STS) and New Media, her research explores the interplay between digital platforms, politics, and knowledge. Methodologically, she specializes in developing and applying digital and computational methods for Internet research. E-mail: anatbd@gmail.com

URIEL ABULOF is an associate professor of politics at Tel-Aviv University, teaching at Princeton University and Cornell University. Abulof studies the politics of fear, happiness and hope, legitimation, social movements, nationalism, and ethnic conflicts. Abulof is the recipient of the Young Scholar Award in Israel Studies, and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed academic articles, and several books and edited volumes, including The Mortality and Morality of Nations (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Living on the Edge: The Existential Uncertainty of Zionism (Haifa University Press, 2015). He is currently working on three book projects, including Human Conflict: From Existential Clash to Coexistence on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Abulof introduces “political existentialism” as a novel approach in the social sciences. He created and directs, with Shirley Le Penne, various pertinent public projects, including Double-Edged, a Psychology Today blog, the Sapienism initiative, and the PrincetonX award-wining online course, HOPE. E-mail: ua42@cornell.edu

SHIRLEY LE PENNE is a Phd student in Political Theory (Government) at Cornell University. She is interested in the politics of hope and despair, and experiences of confinement and captivity. More specifically, Le Penne conducts interdisciplinary research, fusing insights from political theory, comparative politics, social psychology, and existential philosophy. She currently works on experiences of confinement in prison and prison-like environments, the politics of life, death and suicide in the US carceral system, and the spectrum of life and death sentences. Interested not merely in understanding existence but the very experience of it, she asks why and whether to live. Before her Ph.D. studies at Cornell, Le Penne studied at Tel Aviv University and was a fellow at Sciences Po Paris. E-mail: sl3287@cornell.edu

TOMER PERSICO is the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor at the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, a Senior Research Scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Shalom Hartman Institute's Bay Area Scholar in Residence. He is the author of The Jewish Meditative Tradition (2016, Tel Aviv University Press) and In God's Image: The Making of the Modern World (2021, Yedioth Books), both published in Hebrew. E-mail: .persico@shi.org.il

NOHAD ‘ALI is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Sociology at Western Galilee College and Head of the Arabs-Jews-State Unit at the Technion's Samuel Neaman Institute. His research interests include religious fundamentalism (specifically Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism in Israel), majority-minority relations, Arab-Palestinian women in Israel, higher education and violence among Palestinians in Israel. E-mail: Nohada@wgalil.ac.il

TSAFI SEBBA-ELRAN is a senior lecturer on modern Hebrew literature and folklore in the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She is the author of In Search of New Memories: The Aggadic Anthologies and Their Role in the Configuration of the Modern Hebrew Canon (Yad Ben-Zvi Research Institute, 2017) and the editor of two other volumes on contemporary trends in Jewish folkloristics. Her studies concern the formation of cultural memory in Israel, specifically the roles of national archives, anthologies, and other collections as Zionist cultural agents, and the contribution of humorous and other popular genres to the construction of modern Jewish identities. E-mail: tsafisebba@gmail.com

MAYA ROSENFELD is a sociologist and anthropologist who teaches in the Departments of Political Science and Middle East and Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University, and in the Department of Management and Public Administration at Sapir Academic College. She studies modern Palestinian history with a focus on social and political transformation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under prolonged Israeli occupation. Her book, Confronting the Occupation: Work, Education, and Political Activism of Palestinian Families in a Refugee Camp (Stanford University Press, 2004) received an honorable mention for the Middle East Studies Association's Albert Hourani book award. She is currently completing a socio-historical study of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. E-mail: maya.rosenfeld@mail.huji.ac.il

NISSIM (NESSI) COHEN is a Member of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the School of Political Science, University of Haifa. His research interests include public administration reform, street level bureaucracy, policy entrepreneurship, and social welfare and health policies. E-mail: nissimcohen@poli.haifa.ac.il

ERAN VIGODA-GADOT is Professor of Public Administration and Management at the School of Political Science, University of Haifa. He held positions as Head of the School and as Dean of the Paul and Herta Amir Faculty of Social Sciences. Founder of the Centre for Public Management and Policy (CPMP) and an author and co-author of more than 200 articles, books, and many other publications and working papers in the field of public management, organizational behaviour, governance and human resource management. E-mail: eranv@poli.haifa.ac.il

SHLOMO MIZRAHI is Professor in the Division of Public Administration and Policy, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel. He is the head of the Center for Public Management and Policy (CPMP) at the University of Haifa in Israel. His research interests include public policy, public sector and NPM, political behavior, the welfare state, regulation and privatization, public choice and game theory, collective action and interest groups, institutional change, bargaining and conflict resolution. E-mail: schlomom@poli.haifa.ac.il

MEITAL PINTO is a senior lecturer at the Zefat Academic College School of Law and the Ono Academic College Faculty of Law. Her research focuses on anti-discrimination law and minority rights in multicultural societies. Her recent publications include “Arbitrariness as Discrimination” in the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 2021; “The Impact of the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People on the Status of the Arabic Language in Israel” in the Minnesota Journal of International Law, 2021; and “Gender Quotas and the Parity Paradigm in Israel” in Women and Legal Pluralism: Extending Parity Governance? (Oxford University Press, 2018). E-mail: meital.pinto.1@gmail.com

HAGAR SALAMON is Max and Margarethe Grunwald Chair in Folklore and Head of the Graduate Program for Folklore and Folk Culture Studies and Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on cultural and identity issues relating to Jewish communities (mainly the Ethiopian Jews), present-day Israeli folklore both in public and private spheres, life stories and humoristic narratives as well as women's folk creativity. Since 2004 she is co-editor of the journal Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore. E-mail: hagar.salamon@mail.huji.ac.il

DIEGO ROTMAN is a Senior Lecturer, researcher, multidisciplinary artist, and curator. His research focuses on performative practices as related to local historiography, contemporary art, Yiddish theater, and folklore and research creation projects. Since July 2019, he is the Head of the Department of Theater Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Hebrew version of Rotman's The Yiddish Stage as a Temporary Home—Dzigan and Shumacher's Satirical Theater (1927–1980) (Magnes University Press 2017) was the recipient of the 2019 Shapiro Award for the Best Book in Israel Studies. Rotman co-edited with Lea Mauas The Ethnography Department of the Museum of the Contemporary (2017, Underground Academy Press) and with Ronen Eidelman and Lea Mauas He'ara: Independent Art in Jerusalem at the Beginning of the 21st Century (2014). He co-founded with Lea Mauas the Sala-Manca Artists Group, published the art journal He'arat shulayim and curated and produced the He'ara Contemporary Art Events. In 2009, they founded the Mamuta Art and Research Center, based at Hansen House, Jerusalem. E-mail: diego.rotman@mail.huji.ac.il

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