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From Multifaceted Resistance to Multidimensional Identities

Ultra-Orthodox Women Working toward Bachelor's Degrees at a Secular Teacher Training College

Sigal Oppenhaim-Shachar and Michal Hisherik


This article is the product of a study, conducted over one academic year, that followed ultra-Orthodox women students working toward Bachelor's degrees at a secular teacher training college with the goal of getting accredited to work at Education Ministry-supervised schools and thereby improving their employment prospects. It finds that a process that began as technical and instrumental emerged as one that, under certain conditions, could affect all of a student's various identities. During the learning process, students faced contradictions between the realities conveyed to them in an unfamiliar academic language and their experiences in the ultra-Orthodox world. The clash produced a multifaceted resistance that testified to the degree of access the women had to power, support, and resources, and that in certain instances helped to forge multifaceted identities.

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The Impact of Islamist Ideology on Turkish Foreign Policy and Its Casualty

Turkish-Israeli Relations

Umut Uzer


Ideational change in the self-characterization of a state is bound to have repercussions on its domestic and foreign policy behavior. Consequently, the gradual but radical change that has been ongoing in Turkey in the past two decades has had a wide-ranging impact on the way Turkish foreign policy has been conducted. Whereas survival and protection of territorial integrity as well as a Western orientation were traditionally the main concerns of Turkish policy-makers, under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) (since 2002), there has been a partial Islamization of Turkish foreign policy especially with regard to liaisons with Israel and Palestine. This shift can be explained by the replacement of the Western Turkish state identity with an Islamic conservative outlook.

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Introducing a New Dataset

The Israeli Policy Agendas Project

Amnon Cavari, Maoz Rosenthal, and Ilana Shpaizman


This article introduces a new dataset to study Israeli politics. Taking an agenda-setting approach, the dataset includes longitudinal series of political outputs—legislative, executive, judicial, and public opinion—as a measure of policy attention in Israel from 1981 to 2019. Each item in each series is hand-coded using the coding scheme of the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP), providing a unified longitudinal overview of the Israeli political agenda. The dataset enables scholars interested in Israeli policy and politics, as well researchers from communication, economy, and law to study agenda dynamics within specific venues, between venues over time, and across countries. It also enables comparative studies that situate Israel among other countries and provides empirical evidence to assess whether, in what, and to what extent Israel is exceptional.

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Israeli Theater for Youth

Performing History of Mizrahi Jews

Naphtaly Shem-Tov


This article examines Mizrahi theater artists who portray the little-known history of Middle Eastern Jews to Israeli youth, focusing on two productions: Palms and Dreams (1983) and Scapegoat (1987), both of which are based on well-known novels about the immigration of Iraqi Jews to Israel. In ‘performing history,’ these plays shape an assertive Mizrahi image and a Mizrahi historical narrative that contests the Orientalism of the Israeli education system. In addition, although both plays convey the Mizrahi narrative to a youth audience, compared to similar plays aimed at adults, they are conservative in their adherence to the conventional Zionist narrative.

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On, In, and Within a Place

Six Modes of Operation in Israeli Conceptual Art and Landscape Architecture in the 1970s

Efrat Hildesheim, Tal Alon-Mozes, and Eran Neuman


This article examines six modes of operation on, in, and within a place in Israeli conceptual art and landscape architecture. These modes—action-in-place; intervention; place-making; representation; readymade; and second-nature—maintain landscape architecture's conception of a genius loci, the spirit of the place. They also attend to place as a new and critical means of operation in the 1970s emerging field of conceptual art. This article explores diverse attitudes and motivations for operating with/in place, as it became a fundamental issue in the international arena in the 1970s, in relation to Israeli cultural, political, social, and environmental concerns. In the context of the period's sociopolitical turmoil and ideological controversy, the article's two focal points—the six-mode perspective and the disciplines’ attitude toward place—complement each other and attend to the manifold aspects of place (ha-Makom) in Israel, while highlighting its intricacy.

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Blame Avoidance, Crisis Exploitation, and COVID-19 Governance Response in Israel

Moshe Maor


Surprisingly, although the Israeli government adopted unregulated, unorganized, inefficient, uncoordinated, and uninformed governance arrangements during the first wave of COVID-19, the public health outcome was successful, a paradox that this theoretically informed article seeks to explain. Drawing on insights from blame avoidance literature, it develops and applies an analytical framework that focuses on how allegations of policy underreaction in times of crisis pose a threat to elected executives’ reputations and how these politicians can derive opportunities for crisis exploitation from governance choices, especially at politically sensitive junctures. Based on a historical-institutional analysis combined with elite interviews, it finds that the implementation of one of the most aggressive policy alternatives on the policy menu at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis (i.e., a shutdown of society and the economy), and the subsequent consistent adoption of the aforementioned governance arrangements constituted a politically well-calibrated and effective short-term strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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Book Reviews

Gideon Kouts and Rami Zeedan

Ouzi Elyada, Hebrew Popular Journalism: Birth and Development in Ottoman Palestine (London: Routledge, 2019), 318 pp. Paperback, $50.00.

Yusri Khaizran and Muhammad Khlaile, Left to Its Fate: Arab Society in Israel under the Shadow of the “Arab Spring” (Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2019), 226 pp. Paperback [Hebrew], NIS 50.

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Editors’ Note

Oded Haklai and Adia Mendelson-Maoz

We are honored to introduce our inaugural issue as editors of the Israel Studies Review. For just over a decade, the journal was in the most competent hands of Yoram Peri and Paul Scham and their team at the University of Maryland. Under their leadership, the journal changed its name, transitioned to three issues per year, and enhanced its status as a leading scholarly journal in the area of Israel Studies, providing a scholarly platform to a diverse array of perspectives from multiple disciplines. Yoram and Paul themselves built on the foundations laid by Ilan Peleg, who transformed the journal from a newsletter to a full-fledged, peer-reviewed academic periodical. We are fully cognizant of the very big shoes we have to fill!

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Female Politicians’ Gendered Communicative Structures

A Multimodal Combination of Masculine Verbal and Feminine Nonverbal Patterns

Tsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman and Keren Mabar


Recently there has been growing number of women running for national political positions. This study presents multimodal gender communicative-structures of female politicians. We analyzed 80 political interviews by all female politicians who ran for the 20th Knesset in Israel (n = 40). The findings revealed novel integrated structures that combine masculine-verbal and feminine-nonverbal communicative-patterns. Unexpectedly, the adaptation of the mixed multimodal communicative-structure was strongly correlated with power, particularly in terms of seniority. In contemporary political communication, the inclusion of feminine-nonverbal communicative-patterns is a manifestation of political strength rather than of weakness. However, female politicians from cultural minorities express masculine-verbal and nonverbal communication-patterns, constituting the traditional communication-pattern of female politicians, which assumes that the key to female politicians’ success is adopting masculine communicative-structure.

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Roundtable: The COVID-19 Pandemic in Israel

Joel S. Migdal, Anat Ben-David, Uriel Abulof, Shirley Le Penne, Tomer Persico, Nohad ‘Ali, Tsafi Sebba-Elran, Maya Rosenfeld, Nissim Cohen, Eran Vigoda-Gadot, Shlomo Mizrahi, Meital Pinto, Hagar Salamon, and Diego Rotman

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.