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Sergio DellaPergola and Ian S. Lustick

When Scholarship Disturbs Narrative: Ian Lustick on Israel’s Migration Balance Comment by Sergio DellaPergola

Leaving the Villa and Touching a Raw Nerve Response by Ian S. Lustick

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Hanna Herzog

The essay follows the development of gender studies in Israel. It argues that from an invisible social category in the early stages of social research, women as a social category has been continuously viewed with different meanings through different epistemological lenses. A major shift has taken place from gender to genders, from 'women' as a social category to 'women' as fragmented, variegated, and multi-dimensional entities. This transition from gender to genders raises a dilemma, for feminism as theory and as a social movement, of what kind of feminist politics, if any at all, is possible or needed.

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Jonathan Rynhold

Contrary to many claims, the 'pro-Israel' factor is not the dominant constraint on any US effort to impose a comprehensive peace settlement. Nor did the pro-Israel lobby play a decisive role in the failure to reach a comprehensive peace in the 1990s. The most significant effect of the pro-Israel factor in the United States is to give Israel the benefit of the doubt by putting the onus on the Arab side to demonstrate its sincerity concerning peace. When Arab leaders have done this, they have greatly reduced the lobby's ability to constrain US diplomacy. However, the greatest constraint on America relates to the balance of interests between the United States and the parties to the conflict themselves. For the parties the details of any agreement are of much greater importance than they are for the United States, hence they are willing to pay greater costs than the latter is willing to impose on any confrontation. Consequently, under most conceivable circumstances the United States cannot impose a comprehensive settlement.

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Dalit Simchai

This article focuses on the concept of identity by juxtaposing New Age philosophy and nationalism in the Israeli context. Based on my qualitative research, I deconstruct the Israeli New Age discourse on ethno-national identity and expose two approaches within this discourse. The more common one is the belief held by most Israelis, according to which ethno-national identity is a fundamental component of one's self. A second and much less prevalent view resembles New Age ideology outside Israel and conceives of ethno-national identities as a false social concept that separate people rather than unite them. My findings highlight the limits of New Age ideology as an alternative to the hegemonic culture in Israel. The difficulty that Israeli New Agers find in divorcing hegemonic conceptualizations demonstrates the centrality and power of ethno-national identity in Israel.

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Ian S. Lustick

As a state founded on Jewish immigration and the absorption of immigration, what are the ideological and political implications for Israel of a zero or negative migration balance? By closely examining data on immigration and emigration, trends with regard to the migration balance are established. This article pays particular attention to the ways in which Israelis from different political perspectives have portrayed the question of the migration balance and to the relationship between a declining migration balance and the re-emergence of the “demographic problem“ as a political, cultural, and psychological reality of enormous resonance for Jewish Israelis. Conclusions are drawn about the relationship between Israel's anxious re-engagement with the demographic problem and its responses to Iran's nuclear program, the unintended consequences of encouraging programs of “flexible aliyah,“ and the intense debate over the conversion of non-Jewish non-Arab Israelis.

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Marina Niznik

This study focuses on adolescents who immigrated to Israel between 2000 and 2002. The aim of the survey on which the article is based was to investigate the determinants of cross-cultural transition, focusing on family problems, identity crises, educational achievements, and language behavior. Since the beginning of the mass immigration from the former Soviet Union, the Israeli educational system has not managed to reorient itself to accommodate the newcomers. Among the main reasons are differences in the Russian and Israeli educational systems and the changing character of the immigration itself. Despite existing problems, the younger generation of these recent immigrants wants to be integrated into Israeli society. It is the task of the formal education system to provide them with support and guide them on a path toward successful adjustment.

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As'ad Ghanem and Mohanad Mustafa

In December 2006, a group of politicians and intellectuals published the "Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel," a document that attracted national and international interest and elicited a wide variety of responses across the political spectrum. The document can be defined as a historic event in the history of Palestinians in Israel. This is the first time a representative national body of Palestinians in Israel has prepared and published a document that describes both the existing situation and the changes that are needed across a broad spectrum of their lives. The document was written by activists from all political leanings among the Palestinian community in Israel, and delineates the achievements necessary for defining the future relationship between the majority and the minority in the State of Israel. This article analyzes the background of this document and argues that the notion of a "Future Vision" for Palestinians in Israel functions as a way for the community to cope with the fallout of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948 and their exclusion from the Palestinian National Movement as well as their exclusion from the Peace Talks between the PLO and Israel, following the signing of the Oslo Declaration in 1993.

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Samer Alatout

Three elements dominated scholarship on Israeli water politics and policymaking in the 1950s: (1) the state is often taken to be a fully established actor since its inception in 1948; (2) Israeli water policymaking was dominated by geopolitical and regional concerns over security and access to shared water resources; (3) water was, and continues to be, a scarce resource. This article argues that these elements result in the depoliticization of Israeli water policies and offers three counterarguments. First, the totality of any state is an ever-illusive construct. Second, Israeli water politics had an internal dimension that has to be investigated in its own right. Third, scarcity did not acquire the status of a "fact" until the mid-1950s. In fact, the struggle over the notions of water abundance and scarcity was an essential part of working through the political conflicts over the meaning of Jewish subjectivity, the boundaries of the state, and its right to intervene in civil society.

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Yael S. Aronoff

I analyze the actions of Israeli prime ministers in the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, comparing one prime minister who remained hard-line and one who evolved into a peace maker. By examining their belief systems and individual characteristics, I hypothesize the types of hawks that are more likely to change their views of an opponent and convert into peace-makers. Although a change in both the opponent and the environment is necessary for a leader to change his image of an enemy, three additional elements make change more probable: (1) a weak ideological commitment, or a commitment to an ideology that does not have its components articulated as obstacles; (2) a present or future individual time orientation; (3) either a flexible cognitive system or exposure and openness to a significant advisor who has a different view of the opponent.

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The Academic Reserve

Israel's Fast Track to High-Tech Success

Gil Baram and Isaac Ben-Israel

Why is Israel world-renowned as the ‘start-up nation’ and a leading source of technological innovation? While existing scholarship focuses on the importance of skill development during Israel Defense Forces (IDF) service, we argue that the key role of the Academic Reserve has been overlooked. Established in the 1950s as part of David Ben-Gurion’s vision for a scientifically and technologically advanced defense force, the Academic Reserve is a special program in which the IDF sends selected high school graduates to earn academic degrees before they complete an extended term of military service. After finishing their service, most participants go on to contribute to Israel’s successful high-tech industry. By focusing on the role of the Academic Reserve, we provide a broader understanding of Israel’s ongoing technological success.