In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

160 SHOFAR Winter 1999 Vol. 17, No.2 current haphazard and energy-inefficient cinder-block construction which characterizes present building in the region. The author describes as a "constructive criticism" the irony that this vast, largely uninhabited space is not drawing more people-particularly the most educated-out of the Nile Valley. Greenwood explains that Egypt's extraordinary human intellectual capital must be attracted to this region for sensible development to occur. Much of the infrastructure, including modem facilities for scientific research-many ofwhich were established by Israeli scientists-is already in place. Ned Greenwood gives well deserved credit to the Egyptian scientific pioneers of Sinai. It is unfortunate that there is not a corresponding treatment of Israeli science in the region, but this is not a deliberate omission; rather, it relates to the contemporary theme of this work. Joseph 1. Hobbs Department of Geography University of Missouri-Columbia Between the Flag and the Banner: Women in Israeli Politics, by Yael Yishai. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1996. 292 pp. $17.95 (p). Yael Yishai's book Between the Flag and the Banner is the first published scholarly and comprehensive analysis of relations between women and the Israeli state. The book develops the premise that Israeli women are caught between the contrasting loyalties exacted by the national state and feminism. Yishai argues that the result has been to constrain and retard the development ofmobilization along gender-based lines, as the focus on collective goals and agendas limits possibilities for organization based on women's particular interests. Women's contribution to the national effort has had two dimensions, neither contributing to feminist mobilization. The first has been in the area of security, with women denied full participation in the armed forces and confined to caring roles. The second has related to in-migration, with men's employment needs always taking precedence and women again channeled into voluntary, nurturing, and helping activities. The book contains a provocative section in which Yishai discusses the centrality of "family" to the Jewish state, with its consequent construction of motherhood as the primary role for Israeli women. Yishai's account contributes to an ongoing debate among students of women and politics regarding which strategies to use to impact political systems and policy. The first is the "outside," mobilization approach; the second, the "inside," integration approach, which emphasizes association with existing centers of power. The book provides a systematic and useful analysis ofthree dimensions ofwomen's role in Israeli politics in order to address this controversy: the scope and types of women's Book Reviews 161 organizations in Israel; women's access to political power through unions, parties, and elections; and the impact of women on specific public policies. In none of these areas have women achieved what Yishai regards as significant gains. Women are significantly underrepresented at the national, and perhaps more surprisingly, local level, in Israel. Despite efforts to mount an all Women's Party in the 1970s and 1990s, women have gained little power within party organizations themselves. As is true elsewhere, left-wing parties have often been far more "women friendly" than their right-wing counterparts. Women in all parties remain the majority ofparty members, but are poorly represented in party elites. Yishai traces the development of women's organizations in Israel, ranging from more traditional groups (Naamat and WIZO), which while well funded have eschewed challenges to male organizations and family values, to newer groups. These include the Feminist Movement and Women's Network, which have emphasized feminist identity to a greater extent and have influenced more mainstream groups, as well as a host of grassroots, peace-oriented associations. Analysis of public opinion data reveals that while about a quarter ofJewish Israeli women have made gender identity a core issue, this has not translated into mobilization or organized feminism. In contrast, Arab women in Israel combine the flag and the banner more successfully (although perhaps not behaviorally)-scoring high on questions related to both nationalism and gender identity. Despite the generally highly critical perspective Yishai adopts regarding Israeli women's political participation, representation, and influence, there is some evidence of positive policy change. The 1988 Equal Employment Opportunity Law endorses a...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 160-162
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.