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Review Essays in Israel Studies

Books on Israel, Volume V

Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, Neil Caplan

Publication Year: 1988

Introduces the cutting edge issues and current scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Israel Studies. Representing a wide array of disciplines: economics, history, literature, political science, anthropology, and sociology, this book offers original examinations of the state of scholarship about Israel, as well as insightful assessments of contemporary Israeli society, politics, economy, and culture. The contributors review and analyze more than sixty recent publications, half of them in Hebrew or Arabic, showcasing important literature not readily accessible to European and North American readers. Continuing the tradition established by the preceding volumes, Review Essays in Israel Studies offers a rich and varied treatment of new scholarship and enhances our understanding of Israel studies today.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies

Front Matter

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pp. 1-6

This collection of critical essays constitutes the fifth volume in the Books on Israel (BOI) series, published by the State University of New York Press in conjunction with the Association for Israel Studies (AIS). The purpose of the series, begun in 1988, is to introduce readers to some of the best cutting-edge scholarship about Israel and ...

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1. Ivory Tower and Embassy: Interview with Itamar Rabinovich

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pp. 7-26

This extensive discussion with Ambassador / Professor Rabinovich focuses on the intersection of his experiences as scholar and political practitioner, and on the merits of academic training and a scholarly career as preparation for the actual practice of diplomacy. Professor Rabinovich also ...

Part I. History, Economics, and Politics

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2. The Yishuv's Early Capabilities: Organization, Leadership, and Policies

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pp. 29-46

This essay questions some of the starting assumptions about the yishuv's image and self-perception as a completely helpless and leaderless community prior to, during, and immediately following the First World War. The author suggests that the integration of as-yet-untapped primary sources into the corpus of relevant research materials ...

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3. The Transition to a Market Economy: The Road Half Taken

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pp. 47-62

This essay provides a critical examination of Israel's still-unfinished, and still debated, transition from a socialist-Zionist to a market economy, focusing on privatization, government regulation, subsidization, and private investment. The author also analyzes the future of the Histadrut in a market economy and examines the underlying themes ...

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4. Israel as a Liberal Democracy: Civil Rights in the Jewish State

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pp. 63-80

This essay examines the argument that Israel is a "democratic" regime by focusing on the civil rights of its citizens in four areas: the constitutional question, the Arab question, state-religion issues, and foreign affairs. The author challenges certain axiomatic assumptions by arguing that the label "ethnocentric republican order," rather than "lib-...

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5. "Normal" or "Special"? Israel's Relationships with America and Germany in Historical Perspective

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pp. 81-96

This essay challenges the dichotomy between "special" and "normal" relationships usually made in terms of the relative weight of ideological considerations (which are commonly associated with "special" relationships) and unsentimental "national interests" (which generally characterize "normal" relationships). By taking an historical ...

Part II. Society and Culture

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6. Mythmaking and Commemoration in Israeli Culture

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pp. 99-118

This essay is primarily concerned with the phenomenon of the simultaneous appearance of these studies in the contemporary context of the cultural and scholarly trend generally known as post-Zionism, which has so forcefully questioned the established cultural and political myths of Israel. The author situates the current challenges to established ...

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7. Prophecy of Wrath: Israeli Society as Reflected in Satires for Children

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pp. 119-136

This essay explains how popular satirists have developed a unique political and social whip, using simple language, humor, and fantasy, combined with complex literary structures, to address adult audiences through their children. The author shows how, in the highly charged and polarized atmosphere of Israeli society, satirists use a down-to-earth ...

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8. Women's Issues in the Literary Marketplace: Anthologies of Israeli Women Writers

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pp. 137-152

This essay brings to light the correlation between the appearance of Israeli women's writings in anthologies and the general status of women's issues in Israel. Taking an historical perspective to include early women's writing in the pre1948 yishuv, the author examines a phenomenon which she calls the "double hurdle" faced by Israeli women writers: ...

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9. Yemenite Jews on the Zionist Altar

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pp. 153-170

This essay highlights the steadfast resistance of the Yemenite community to the integrationist pressures of Israeli society. Departing from the standard approach that focuses on the absorption and amalgamation processes at work among Yemenite Jews in Israel, the author focuses on the literature and cultural dynamics of the segregationist forces that...

Part III. Israel in the Region

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10. Policy Transformation in the Middle East: Arms Control Regimes and National Security Reconciled

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pp. 173-192

This essay examines the debates over what regional changes will follow the end of the Cold War and the establishment of a new world order with the approach of the twenty-first century. While contributors to the volume under review may be divided into "realists" who emphasize the need for states to maintain full military capability and...

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11. Palestinian Sovereignty and Israeli Security: Dilemmas of the Permanent-Status Negotiations

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pp. 193-220

This essay examines Palestinian and Israeli negotiating strategies in the current transitional and approaching ''permanent-status'' stages of the peace process in terms of the two parties' divergent goals: achieving Palestinian sovereignty, and guaranteeing Israeli security, respectively. In covering the immediate issues of Jewish settlements, border ...

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12. The Domestic-International Confluence: The Challenge of Israel's Water Problems

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pp. 221-238

This essay examines the role of water in the peace process and the debate between pessimists, who emphasize water shortages and zero-sum conflict, and optimists, who welcome the recent paradigm shift from conflict to cooperation and who envisage water-sharing and win-win scenarios. The author argues that international institutions and ...

Part IV. Views of Israel from the Arab World

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13. On Opposite Sides of the Hill: Syrian and Israeli Perspectives

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pp. 241-262

This essay analyzes Israeli and Syrian mutual perceptions and policy-making in the context of Syria's failed quest to achieve "strategic parity" with Israel and the new regional realities following the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The author highlights each party's continued perception of the other as a hostile enemy bent on regional hegemony and ...

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14. Egyptian Representation of Israeli Culture: Normalizing Propaganda or Propagandizing Normalization?

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pp. 263-282

This essay examines the contents of three special issues of the important literary periodical Ibda (Creativity) which constitute the first collaborative public attempt in Egypt to discuss Israeli cultural production. The author shows that, despite the ideological anti-normalization rhetoric of the journal and the strictly enforced boycott of Israel in most ...

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15. Arab-Israeli Economic Relations and Relative Gains Concerns

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pp. 283-308

This essay considers recent Arab analyses of the economic and political impact on the Arab states of an impetuous progression toward normal economic relations with Israel before reaching a comprehensive political settlement and ridding the region of the military buildup that threatens the national security of all states in the region. In contrast ...

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16. The Debate over Normalization: Adonis and His Arab Critics

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pp. 309-317

Departing from our regular format of a formal review of scholarly Arabic publications, Muhammad Muslih's essay considers Arab reactions to several comments, apparently condoning cultural normalization between the Arab states and Israel, made by the internationally known Syrian poet and cultural critic Adonis in the immediate wake of the ...


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pp. 317-320

The Editors

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p. 321-321

E-ISBN-13: 9780791493311
E-ISBN-10: 0791493318
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791444214
Print-ISBN-10: 079144421X

Page Count: 321
Publication Year: 1988

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies