"Resistance Through Rituals"—Urban Subcultures of Israeli Youth from the Late 1950s to the 1980s


This article discusses secular, Jewish youth, in the urban centers during Israel's initial decades. More specifically, it examines the subcultures of youths who refused to behave according to the behavioral codes enforced by their parents' generation. Young people in these subcultures expressed their resistance to hegemonic norms by means of fashion, style, and certain rituals. It focuses on some manifestations of Israeli youth subcultures in three key periods of Israeli history. 1) The late 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, when the state was still the dominant element, defining Israeli society and culture. 2) The end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, when the state and its institutions began to lose their power and Israel as a whole embarked a process of liberalization, involving greater openness to Western culture and a rise in the general standard of living. 3) The end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, when the liberalization process was accelerated and Israeli society became more pluralistic, with more room for voices and organizations independent of the state.