Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Nechumi Yaffe

Lily Ilan

Ahmed Amara

Micha Belzer

Lilach Zagai Nim

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Nechumi Yaffe

Faculty of Social Sciences.

Research Topic

Poverty in the Ultra-Orthodox Community.

Research Summary

Nechumi Yaffe's dissertation examine the issue of poverty and disadvantage in the Ultra-Orthodox community using the "Theory of Capabilities and Functions" (sen 1992; Nussbaum, 1997). The theory postulate that the most exact and comprehensive way to measure poverty is through an examination of the overall functions and capabilities that are available to the individual. This measurement reflects the totality of the real opportunities available to people in a given society. This approach is consistent with the unique nature of the "orthodox poor" because it initially does not set the proper and good of humans, but focuses on the universal base that can adapt itself culturally. In this way, the unique nature of the Ultra-Orthodox poverty can be discovered as well as the unique important functions to this community and in accordance with the shortfall that characterizes the state of poverty. In addition, the dissertation will examine poverty from the social psychology prospective answering the question of why poverty rates in the Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel are significantly higher than Orthodox communities around the world. The hypothesis is that the Haredi society in Israel is conducted in context of power relations in the face of secular society that presents an alternative to Jewish existence that is not bound to traditional religious law, and produces a struggle for Jewish identity. The hypothesis therefore is that part of the ongoing Haredi poverty is partly due to the value and importance that many ultra-Orthodox members' attach to the message inherent in being a spiritual society, whose members are less bound to the physical world.

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Lilly Ilan

Faculty of Humanities.

Research Topic

Social History of The Western Galilee, Between WW1 and the Military Governorate.

Research Summary

Between the First World War and the end of the 1960s, the region we now know in Israel as the Western Galilee saw the changing of three regimes, including languages, bureaucracies, borders, dramatic population transfers and the wars they brought along. The region was home to Palestinian Muslims, Christians of various denominations, Druze, native Jews, and Jews who immigrated from different parts of the world. The big dramas that took place in this small area during that period were about immigration, refugees, settlement of the land, fighting, and pioneer spirit. This study will examine the social history of the inter-community relations in the Western Galilee between Jews and Arabs and within the Jewish community itself, as well as within the Arab community, through the following questions: What are the changes in the inter-community relations throughout that period? What were the significant events in shaping the relations between the various communities during that time? How did demographic changes of immigration and refugees in the region affect the fabric of relations during that period? This study will thus shed light on issues of inter-community, international and interfaith relations in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere and the broader Middle-Eastern region.

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Dr. Ahmed Amara

Law School.

Research Topic

Regime Change and Legal Transplantation: Property Law and the Transition from the Ottoman to the British Rule.

Research Summary

My research focuses on the legal geography of southern Palestine between 1917 and 1948, and it comes to add to my PhD dissertation research that examined the configuration of the Ottoman land reform in the Beersheba sub-district between 1850 and 1917. My current research seeks to investigate in particular the transitional period from the Ottoman to the British rule and how property law and ownership rules were integrated, adapted, mended or applied within the new geo-political reality under the Mandate. Though the British government claimed to had maintained the legal status quo in Palestine, including the 1858 Ottoman Land Code, few legal amendments to the Code led to major changes in the legal system. Several amendments continue to impact the socio-legal relations in the Beersheba region, the Negev as it is known today, especially with regards to Bedouin land claims. Similar to my research of the Ottoman period, I seek to investigate how the shifting understandings and categorizations of specific legal, spatial, and social realities by governmental and social actors, in particular viewing the community as “nomads” and the region as a “desert,” had shaped the legal order concerning landed property relations. Such categorizations relied mostly on inaccurate assumptions and stereotypes, which by its turn dictated the scope and quality of the research on the Arab Bedouin communities of the Negev. For example, their classification as pastoralists and/or as nomads undermined the study of land cultivation and the resulting socio-legal relations and ownership questions. Since governmental policies and land relations were always contingent on societal practices, my research also focuses on Bedouin responses to the legal reforms and their contribution to the evolving legal order. The research utilizes archival sources from Ottoman, British, Palestinian and Israeli archives alongside personal papers of local families.

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Micah Belser

School of Education.

Research Topic

Integration of Bi-Cultural Identities: The Case of Religious-Secular Couples in Israel.

Research Summary

The study focuses on three major subjects: bi-cultural identities in Israel, the religious-secular conflict in Israel, and mixed marriages in Israel. The mixed marriage of religious and secular partners is a growing phenomenon in Israel and in the Jewish world in general. In the past, the identity definition of Jews and Israelis was usually more dichotomous, and indicated emotional and sociological affiliation with a particular social sector, religious or secular, with all its typical features. In recent years, religious identities became much more layered and complex. The religious or secular identity is subjective, includes a range of possibilities, and is less clear-cut on the religious-secular continuum. This phenomenon is particularly interesting and intriguing when it comes to marriage, as it provides an opportunity to study a model for co-existence between cultures. The paper studies how individuals of dichotomous identities combine and commit to a common destiny in the most intimate structure of the family unit, and how a shared life of mutual inspiration between the cultures is possible, replacing a sense of threat where each side fears being devoured by the other. One of the major innovations of this study is the development of new conceptualizations and ways to measure mixed relations, which have not existed until now. These conceptualizations and measuring tools could provide a significant contribution to the study of mixed marriages of various kinds, such as interracial and interfaith marriages in Israel and around the world. In order to answer the question, the study looks at the influences of the degree and patterns of cultural blending of partners in a mixed relationship, on their level of satisfaction from the marriage, beyond the influences of major psychological parameters of an intimate relationship. The parameters examined are: Level of differentiation in the relationship and strategies of conflict resolution.

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Lilach Zagai Nim

Faculty of Humanities.

Research Topic

Life Experiences of Young People of Ethiopian Descent – university educated and those without academic background – and their Integration in Israeli Society.

Research Summary

The Ethiopian community is a minority group in the Israeli Jewish society, coping with unique absorption difficulties stemming from cultural differences and racial perceptions. Various studies show that despite the attempt of many young people from this community to integrate into Israeli society, many of them encounter obstacles in the process. These obstacles can be found in multiple areas: school, employment, military service and academic education. The difficulty is most noticeable among young university graduates of Ethiopian descent, when they come to take part in the job market. This is the case despite the commonplace assumption that, according to the principle of meritocracy, higher education is a significant means for social mobility and the eradication of racist perceptions. This study aims at a profound understanding of the experiences of university graduates of Ethiopian descent, in comparison with youth of Ethiopian descent who are not college educated, from the geographic and social periphery, who are experiencing difficulties in social integration. The goal of the study is to comprehend how educated and less educated young people from this group feel and see their place in society, their chances of integration, their strength and the threats they are facing. The study also aims at better understanding how to design an educational policy that will help members of this group achieve a better integration in society. In addition, it wishes to make the voices of the young members of the community heard, and help them find strategies for coping with processes of exclusion.