Zionism in the Twenty-First Century

Zionism Conference, Brandeis Feb 17-18,2013


Contemporary Perspectives From and About Israel, February 17-18th, 2013


Sunday, Feb 17th

9:00am – 11:30am: Summer Institute for Israel Studies Workshop – “On Constructing Narratives”
Anita Shapira (Tel-Aviv University)

11:30-12:15pm Lunch

12:45pm Zionism Conference Opens
12:45-1:00pm Welcome: Conference Co-chairs
Ilan Troen (Brandeis University) and Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College)
1:00-2:00pm Keynote: Anita Shapira “The Changing Images of Ben-Gurion”
 

2:00-3:30pm Zionist Theory
Allan Arkush (SUNY, Binghamton) “Cultural Zionism Today and Tomorrow”
Rachel Fish (Brandeis University) “Bi-nationalist Visions for the Construction of the State of Israel”
Chair and Commentator: Eugene Sheppard (Brandeis University)
 
3:30-3:45 Coffee

3:45-5:15pm Culture: Literature and Music
Alan Mintz (Jewish Theological Seminary) “Reading Israeli Literature in America”
Edwin Seroussi (Hebrew University) “Nostalgic Zionist Soundscapes: The Future of the Israeli Nation’s Sonic Pasts”
Chair and Commentator: Rachel Rojanski (Brown University)
 
5:15-6:45pm Cultural Orientations and Dilemmas
Tuvia Friling (Ben-Gurion University) “The Evolution of Holocaust Memory”
Aziza Khazzoom (Indiana University and Hebrew University) ““The Kibbutz in Immigration Narratives of Bourgeois Iraqi and Polish Jews””
Chair and Commentator: Maoz Azaryahu (University of Haifa)

7:00-9:00pm Dinner and Keynote
Introduction: Kathy Lawrence (Brandeis University)

Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic) “The Stubbornness of Zionism”


Monday, Feb 18th

9:00-10:30am Politics and Law
Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College) “Zionism and the Politics of Authenticity”
Suzanne Last Stone (Yeshiva University and Shalem Center) “Law and the Zionist Idea”
Chair and Commentator: Pnina Lahav (Boston University)

10:30-10:45am Coffee

10:45am-12:15pm Economics and Land
Jacob (Kobi) Metzer (Hebrew University) “Economy and Society in Israel: Past Experience, Current Issues, and Future Prospects”
Ilan Troen (Brandeis University) “Competing Concepts of Land in Eretz Israel”
Chair and Commentator: Alan Dowty (Notre Dame University)

12:15-1:30pm Lunch
 
1:30-3:00pm Israel’s Relationship with its Neighbors and the Palestinian Arab Citizens
Elie Rekhess (Northwestern University) “Jews and Arabs in Israel: Reconsidering the 1948 Paradigm”
Asher Susser (Tel Aviv University) “Israel’s Place in a Changing Regional Order”
Chair and Commentator: Shai Feldman (Brandeis University)

3:00-3:15pm Coffee
 
3:15-4:45pm Religion and Society
Eliezer Don-Yehiya (Bar-Ilan University) “The Transformation of Religious Zionism”
Yoel Finkelman (Bar-Ilan University) “The Ambivalent Haredi Jew”
Chair and Commentator: Yehudah Mirsky (Brandeis University)

4:45-5:00pm Conclusion and Farewell
Ilan Troen and Donna Robinson Divine 

SPEAKER ABSTRACTS AND BIOS

Keynote: The Changing Images of Ben-Gurion

Professor Emerita Anita Shapira served as the Ruben Merenfeld Professor in the Study of Zionism at Tel Aviv University, dean of the Faculty of Humanities and head of the Rabin Center. Currently she is chair of the Chaim Weizmann Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel at Tel Aviv University and a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. Awarded the Israel Prize in 2008, Shapira specializes in modern and contemporary Jewish history, especially in social and cultural history and questions of identity. She has published numerous books and articles on the history of Zionism, the Jewish community in Palestine, and the state of Israel. Her best known works are “Berl Katznelson: A Biography of a Socialist Zionist,” Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force 1882-1948,” “Yigal Allon: Native Son,” and  “Joseph Hayyim Brenner, A Life Story.” She is currently working on a biography of David Ben-Gurion and her monumental work, “Israel: A History,” has just appeared in the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies.

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Cultural Zionism Today and Tomorrow
Allan Arkush
In the eyes of its founder, Ahad Ha’am, cultural Zionism represented the only feasible program for sustaining the Jewish people’s identity and unity in an age when it was destined both to lose its religious faith and to remain mostly scattered. Today, it retains only a vestigial hold in the Diaspora but remains a matter of ongoing concern in the Jewish state. How strong a force is cultural Zionism in Israel today? How is it related to the latest efforts to justify the existence of a Jewish state and what role does it play in Israel’s unending Kulturkampf? What are its prospects? 

I will address these questions, paying particular attention to recent treatments of cultural Zionism in the writings of such scholars as Gideon Katz, Eyal Chowers, Ruth Gavison and Chaim Gans. The first two of these writers have recently argued that Ahad Ha’am’s cultural Zionism provided unsound foundations for a Jewish politics or a secular Jewish culture. The latter two have endeavored to base justifications for Zionism on the foundations of the Jews’ right to their own culture, but have done so in ways that demonstrate little reliance on the thought of Ahad Ha’am.

Allan Arkush is Professor of Judaic Studies and History at the State University of New York at Binghamton and senior contributing editor of the Jewish Review of Books. He is the author of “Moses Mendelssohn and the Enlightenment” and co-editor of “Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism: Essays in Memory of Alexander Altmann.” His numerous essays on modern Jewish thought and Zionism have appeared in “Modern Judaism, Jewish Social Studies, Jewish Quarterly Review, Polity,” and other periodicals and books.

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Bi-Nationalist Visions for the Construction of the State of Israel
Rachel Fish
Throughout modern Jewish history Jews and non-Jews have imagined a multiplicity of conceptions for the Jewish nation. The various Zionist formulations promulgated have held serious ramifications for the constructions of both modern Jewish identity of the Jewish people as well as the nature of the state. Possibilities considered ranged from a religious theocracy within the historical land of Palestine, to a democratic entity based upon the lines of partition established under the British Mandate, to building a national unit that proffered bi-nationalist ideals. Zionism attempted to create a national polity that would enable Jews to have some semblance of control of their national destiny and fully enter the community of nations. However, the way in which the Jewish state was constituted would greatly determine relationships between other sovereign states, the internal Jewish community, and dealings with Arabs living inside and around the Jewish nation. The bi-nationalist paradigm was deemed, by a small constituent, as the archetypal model for the Jewish nation and these Zionists held that only by embodying bi-nationalistic aspirations would the Jewish state survive in such a tumultuous geographic location. Early bi-nationalists imagined they could fit Zionism within a non-exclusive state but ideology and praxis did not always mesh. To what extent was Jewish nationalism, in particular bi-nationalism, practical? 
 
This paper will examine the bi-nationalistic framework devised by early Zionists and its immediate and far-reaching implications. The definition and significance of bi-nationalism is dependent upon the context and the formulations of the individuals who furthered a bi-nationalist platform. The term bi-nationalism has been employed by various constituencies including: Zionist theoreticians, Arab leadership, and academicians (Israeli, Arab, Jewish, and non-Jewish). The manner in which bi-nationalism is discussed differs according to individuals’ political goals and their ultimate vision for the State of Israel. The application of the concept of bi-nationalism has acquired new meaning among its contemporary proponents and diverges dramatically from its original conception, use, and aims. Bi-nationalism is not a fixed and inflexibly defined concept but rather has been interpreted and employed by various advocates for either the construction or the dissolution of Zionist society and the Jewish State. This paper highlights examples of individuals and movements that espoused bi-nationalist goals from members of Brit Shalom and Ichud beginning in the 1920s to the contemporary discourse found amongst many Arab-Israeli intellectuals.  

Rachel Fish is Associate Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. A doctoral candidate in the NEJS department at Brandeis University, her dissertation examines the history of the idea of bi-nationalism and alternative visions for constructing the State of Israel. Rachel has worked as an educator and consultant in various capacities in the Jewish community and higher education, teaching about Zionism and Israeli history at Brandeis University, UMASS Amherst and the Me’ah Adult Jewish Education program.

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Chair and Commentator
Eugene R. Sheppard is Associate Director of the Tauber Institute and associate professor of modern Jewish history and thought in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He is most interested in modern German Jewish thought and the influence of European Jewish refugees on public life and academia in the United States. His recent publications include "Leo Strauss and Politics of Exile: The Making of a Political Philosopher" (2006), "The Early Leo Strauss" (co-edited with P. Bouretz, forthcoming) and "Babylon and Jerusalem: Engaging the Thought and Legacy of Simon Rawidowicz" (co-edited with D. Myers, forthcoming). Sheppard is a managing co-editor with Samuel Moyn of the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought published by Brandeis University Press.


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Reading Israeli Literature in America
Alan Mintz 
The paper presents an account of the experience of reading Israeli literature in Hebrew within the framework of a reading group in America and generalizes about the knowledge of Israeli society that is not available when reading in translation. Four untranslated novels are presented as examples of aspects of the Israeli reality that are not represented in the Israeli literature available in translation. American Jews, like Americans in general, are impatient with the challenge of reading in a foreign language and tend to deny what is lost by declining that effort. Several suggestions are offered for making reading in Hebrew more approachable and for increasing the number and variety of works that appear in English.

Alan Mintz is the Chana Kekst Professor of Hebrew Literature in the Department of Jewish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Dr. Mintz joined the JTS faculty in June 2001, after 10 years at Brandeis University as the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature. His “Sanctuary in the Wilderness: A Critical Introduction to American Hebrew Poetry” (Stanford University Press) appeared in 2011. He is currently at work on a book on the late Agnon. Dr. Mintz is also the author of “Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America” (University of Washington Press, 2001) and “Translating Israel: The Reception of Hebrew Literature in America” (Syracuse University Press, 2001), and editor of “Reading Hebrew Literature” (Brandeis University Press / University Press of New England, 2002).

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Nostalgic Zionist Soundscapes: The Future of the Israeli Nation’s Sonic Pasts
Edwin Seroussi
Can one talk about a Zionist soundscape? First, one would have to delineate the boundaries of such a soundscape, definitely not an easy task. Then one can ask if these Zionist ideals of sound, assuming that they can be outlined, continue to have a conspicuous presence in the Israeli soundscape and beyond it, i.e. in the Israeli diasporas, in Jewish communities abroad, or simply in non-Jewish global spaces (such as in “world music”). In an attempt to start such a discussion, I would argue that indeed the conglomerate of sounds that can be heard in Israeli public and private spaces conveys a unique array that sets it apart from any other soundscape (and I am not referring here only to the parameter of loudness). This conglomerate was and is constituted through the interplay of the sonic interests of diverse social aggregates, Zionist and non-Zionist, competing to impose their sonorous presence as characteristic of the sound of the entire nation. The relative power of each of these aggregates competing in the field of sound is, of course, disproportionate. Control of the public sound waves for example, which in the case of the Israel was entirely in the hands of the government for three decades, creates such a disparity and in fact constitutes a hegemony. On the other hand, technological developments can empower weak or peripheral constituencies and allow them to voice their sound beyond their share in the balance of power. The introduction of the cassette and portable cassette players in the early 1970s was a classic case of a game-changer technological development that shifted balances of power. Israel was just one of many national cultures whose soundscapes were affected by the cassette technology.

I refrained from using the word “music” until now because the concept of soundscape is not its synonym although obviously soundscapes are saturated with musical expressions. However, music is a restricting term implying intentionality in the processes of composition, performance, and consumption. Models pinpointing the music of the Israeli nation-state, as Regev and I suggested in our book (Regev and Seroussi 2004), are indeed necessary to start a conversation but they disregard many Israeli sonic utterances that do not find a voice in academic narratives. In this presentation I will argue that the construction of a Zionist soundscape by the labor elite that dominated Israel until 1977 via social mechanisms ensuring the transmission of certain repertoires was eventually not as compelling as the literature sometimes tends to present it. Alternative soundscapes remained a constant feature, of which the most obvious ones were the synagogues, spaces in which Zionism found a sonic expression in very few cases. The sound of the local Palestinian Arabic population posited an interesting dilemma, as it functions as resistance to Zionism while at the same time as a resource for Zionist sonic appropriation and colonialism. To all these one can add the agency of individuals to screen their soundscape by making discrete decisions that are generally hard to detect in research. Furthermore, I suggest that the present, growing compartmentalization or privatization of the Israeli soundscape into units representing the sonic interests of discrete social units is balanced by the forces of globalization and homogenizing technologies. Beyond the discussion of broad theoretical issues regarding the possibility of tracking down a Zionist soundscape, its process of formation and maintenance in the past and its potential future, the paper will be illustrated with a specific and recent phenomenon that can serve as a study-case with general projections. I call this phenomenon “conversations with the sonic past.”

Edwin Seroussi is the Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 2008 he has been head of the new School of the Arts at Hebrew University. He taught at Bar-Ilan and Tel Aviv Universities in Israel, and was visiting professor at SUNY Binghamton, UCLA, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Wesleyan University, Dartmouth College, Institut für Musikwissenschaft in Zürich, Moscow University, University of California Berkeley and Boston University. He is a 2012-2013 Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University. He has published extensively on North African and Eastern Mediterranean Jewish musical traditions, on Judeo-Islamic relations in music and on Israeli popular music. He founded “Yuval Music Series,” and is editor of the acclaimed CD series “Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel.” Besides his academic endeavors, he has produced many cultural programs (such as the “Mediterranean Musical Dialogue”) and concerts in Israel, Europe, Canada and the USA.

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Chair and Commentator
Rachel Rojanski is Visiting Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University. Her specialized field of research is the political and cultural history of the East European Jewish immigrants in the United States and Israel from the late 19th century to the present. Her publications include: “Confliction Identities: Labor Zionism in North America 1905-1931” (Hebrew, Ben-Gurion University Press, 2004) and a completed book manuscript: “A Jewish Culture in the Land of Hebrew: Yiddish in Israel 1948-2008,” as well as numerous articles on Jewish Socialism, the Yiddish press, and Jewish gender. Before coming to Brown she was an associate professor at the University of Haifa, and President of the National Authority for Yiddish in Israel. She also publishes translations from Yiddish and articles on Israeli culture in the Israeli daily press.

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The Evolution of Holocaust Memory: Remember? Forget? What to Remember? What to Forget?
Tuvia Friling
Since the end of World War II the Holocaust has become a permanent fixture in Israeli life, its scars being felt in every area of Israeli society. The Holocaust was omnipresent in the survivors who arrived in illegal immigrant ships and forced their way into the country, and in those who arrived later from the detention camps in Cyprus. It permeated the ranks of the Jewish resistance movements – the Hagana, Etzel, and Lehi – that fought to breach the restrictions on immigration. From its first stages the Holocaust was present in informal encounters, in kibbutz dining halls, and in gatherings in towns and cities. It appears in the key sections of the Proclamation of Independence in the Jewish people’s return to its historical homeland. It became a divisive issue in the raucous, heated public debates over reparations from Germany, in Knesset sessions on the "Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law," the "Yad Vashem Law," and in discussions on the shaping of Holocaust Remembrance Day and its symbolic proximity to "Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers." The Holocaust was central in discussions on the meaning of "valor" and resistance, on what was defined as "going like sheep to the slaughter," in the "kapo" trials of the 1950s, in research and the public furor over the Judenrat, and in the creation of memorial institutes and sites that sprang up throughout the country.

The Holocaust is sometimes employed ad nauseam in brainless statements in speeches of politicians and some military commanders who utilize it for current and trivial needs in what can only be termed as facile "lessons of the Holocaust." It serves as an anvil for Israelis seeking to shape an alternative collective memory or history, to create a narrative detached from the Holocaust and that challenges its abiding presence in Israeli life, often without realizing how deeply the Holocaust is entrenched in their own worldview, and to what extent their solution is nothing more than a mirror image of what they perceive and glean from it. The Holocaust is also linked to the strident, widespread, caustic scholarly and public discourse that began during the Holocaust over the Zionist revolution's degree of "purity," legitimacy, and the justification for statehood as the solution to the anomaly of Jewish existence. By these guidelines, and in a nutshell, I will try to analyze and evaluate the fortitude of presence of the Holocaust in the history and memory of the Israelis, and its possible evolution in the years to come. As well as the odds of Yehuda Elkana's call from 1988 being heeded, in what he defined as "a call for the sake of life," to FORGET. To be freed, finally, from "the deep existential angst which is fed from a particular interpretation of the lessons of the Shoah. To stand for life, to devote ourselves to building our future and not to deal over and over again in symbols, ceremonies and lessons drawn from the Holocaust." To uproot, once and for all, "the Historical Yizkor ruling over the everyday lives of the Israelis."

Tuvia Friling is a senior researcher and former head of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was the State Archivist of Israel from 2001-2004. He has held visiting research positions at Oxford University, the University of Maryland and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, amongst others. Currently Friling serves as head of the Ben-Gurion Institute Press. He has published dozens of articles in Israel and abroad on his fields of expertise: Zionist movement policy; Ben-Gurion’s leadership; The Yishuv and the Holocaust; The Revisionist movement – the right wing movements in the Yishuv and their connection to aid and rescue during the Holocaust. His monograph “The Story of a Capo in Auschwitz: History, Memory and Politics” is being published in 2013 as part of the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies.

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The Kibbutz in Immigration Narratives of Bourgeois Iraqi and Polish Jews who Immigrated to Israel in the 1950s
Aziza Khazzoom
How did different facets of Zionism resonate with Jews in the mid 20th century, and how did ethnic origin affect this relationship with Zionism? In this paper, I examine how the kibbutz figured in the immigration stories of well-educated women who came to Israel from Iraq and Poland in the 1950s, treating the kibbutz as an ideology, as an institution that held and distributed resources, and as a collection of actual communities. Both groups of women report that they arrived in Israel familiar with the kibbutz, that they saw the kibbutz as the culmination of the Zionist project, and that they were excited about living in one and about many specific facets of the new Jew ideology and radical community it proposed to create. However although most of the women lived on a kibbutz for at least a short period, and although they overwhelmingly report continuing respect for the ideals that underlay kibbutz life, nearly all left within the first few years of their lives in Israel. For both groups, reasons for leaving center around educational concerns; women report being surprised and disappointed by the lack of attention the kibbutz gave to formal educational attainment. Despite this overall similarity in stories however, there was a critical difference in how Polish and Iraqi women experienced their break with the kibbutzim. Though women from both groups expected to find a community in the kibbutz, Poles, who were normally Holocaust survivors and who had often lost their families in the Holocaust, speak of the separation from the kibbutz with relatively more emotion and sense of betrayal than Iraqis, who arrived with intact families and ethnic communities and therefore had other sources of connection. The story points to the complicated interface between ethnicity and Zionism and Zionist institutions, as well as the resonance of the ideology for new immigrants, and indeed the range of needs the new state’s institutions were expected to address.

Aziza Khazzoom is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University and a former Senior Lecturer of Sociology at Hebrew University. Her work traces the formation of ethnic inequality among Jews in Israel, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. She is the author of “Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel: Or, How the Polish Peddler Became a German Intellectual” (Stanford University Press, 2008). The book focuses on why ethnic discrimination occurred in Israel, and argues that concerns over producing the state as western were a central dynamic in determining who was excluded and who was included. She was previously Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, and she has held an NSF grant and postdoctoral fellowships from Tel Aviv University and the Van Leer Institute.

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Chair and Commentator
Maoz Azaryahu is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa. He has written extensively on urban landscapes, memory, and society, and has most recently co-edited (with S. Ilan Troen) “Tel-Aviv, The First Century: Visions, Dreams, Actualities” [Indiana University Press, 2012]. He also recently published books in Hebrew on the history and politics of street names in Israel and on the architecture of Israel's military cemeteries. In 2006 Syracuse University Press published “Tel-Aviv: Mythography of a City.” He has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Penn State University, and Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada.

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Keynote: The Stubbornness of Zionism

Leon Wieseltier has been the literary editor of “The New Republic” since 1983. Educated at Columbia University, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard University, he was a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard. He is the author of “Nuclear War Nuclear Peace,” “Against Identity,” and the widely acclaimed “Kaddish.” He has also had essays published on Jewish history, politics, and culture, as well as translations of modern Hebrew poetry.

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Zionism and the Politics of Authenticity
Donna Robinson Divine
Israel's establishment as a Jewish state in 1948 confirmed the success of Zionism even as it raised questions about whether the movement dedicated to forging Jewish sovereignty was still relevant. When Israel was established in the midst of war and upheaval, most of its citizens believed in the Zionist mission and viewed their nation as the embodiment of ideals and as the template for social advances that would one day come to all peoples. And while Zionist political and economic organizations seemed the cornerstone of Israeli public life, they eventually weakened when they could not produce the results that Israelis had come to expect--beginning with the perceived failures of leadership in war from 1973 to the hyperinflation in the economy during the 1980s. When the institutions, once the center of gravity for Zionism and electoral success, failed to deliver, they lost their power, prestige, and legitimacy.

Although traditional Zionist institutions could no longer determine election outcomes,  Zionism, itself, still seems critical to the country's identity and national purpose. But even as a cornerstone of Israel's culture, Zionism triggers controversy not only about its meaning but also about its moral status. Perhaps because any attempt to talk about Zionism in the singular must not only confront its many varieties, it must also acknowledge its limits and the issues never fully addressed. My paper examines how Zionism works on the contemporary Israeli political scene and shows both the similarities and differences with its operations in the past as a movement struggling to establish a Jewish State.

Donna Robinson Divine is the Morningstar Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Government at Smith College where she teaches a variety of courses on Middle East Politics. Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, and Turkish, she has held visiting appointments at Yale, Harvard, and the Hebrew University as well as fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and a several Fulbright grants. Author of many scholarly articles on a variety of topics in Middle East history and politics, she has also written “Women Living Change: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Essays from the Smith College Research Project on Women and Social Change,” “Politics and Society in Ottoman Palestine: The Arab Struggle for Survival and Power,” and “Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Her most recent book, “Exiled in the Homeland: Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine,” was recently published in a paperback and electronic edition.

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Law and the Zionist Idea
Suzanne Last Stone
This paper is a conceptual analysis of the challenges Zionism has faced in forging a coherent relationship among nation, state, and law both within secular and religious legal circles. In classical normative theories of the relationship of nation to law, the nation gives birth to the state and the state’s task is to generate law reflecting the values of the nation. Precisely who is the nation from the standpoint of Zionism, and what are its values, has proved an exceedingly difficult question, however. The Jewish people historically expressed their values through the medium of Jewish law (halakha) and its revival, like the revival of Hebrew language, was initially a Zionist project. Yet, the Zionist revolution also implies the rejection of all norms and values forged in diasporic conditions, including the Jewish legal tradition, in favor of the creation of the New Jew. This rejection of the Jewish past aligns Zionism, at first blush, more with the liberal legal model, in which the state creates the nation and state law provides all the social solidarity that the state needs. Does this model give adequate room, however, for the expression of Jewish values and culture through law -- the ostensible object of Zionism? Contemporary contests over the role of the Israeli Supreme Court vis a vis the Knesset, are deeply entangled with this question. The majority of Israeli citizens view Knesset legislation as the will of the ‘nation.’ In a sense, the Knesset is viewed as the transhistorical manifestation of the Jewish people, thus solving the dilemma of the relationship of Israeli state law to the nation.

Religious Zionists, working from within the halakhic tradition, have faced no less problems in forging a coherent relationship among, nation, state, and law. For most of Jewish history, the idea of ‘nation’  -- and even of ‘state’  -- was collapsed into the halakha. Thus, contra theorists of the nationalist idea, who see law as reflecting the spirit and values of the nation, the halakha was thought to define the nation. Moreover, in terms of political structures, the halakha functioned in part by allowing for the displacement of the particular rules of halakha, especially those bearing on public law and non-ritual law -- the usual domains of state law -- and incorporating instead the law of other nations. These cosmopolitan, supranational norms were imagined as universal norms authorized (and sometimes even authored) by the halakha itself. Far from being at the expense of nationalism, supranational norms actually made possible a continued Jewish political existence. What then happens to a body of law operating transnationally – and which imagines itself as the sole expression of ‘national’ identity - when it is transplanted to a newly-created nation–state?

Suzanne Last Stone is University Professor of Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Yeshiva University, Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Cardozo Law School, and Academic Counsel of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. Stone has held the Gruss Visiting Chair in Talmudic Civil Law at both the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania Law Schools, and also has visited at Princeton, Columbia Law, Hebrew University Law, and Tel Aviv Law. Stone is the co-editor-in-chief of Diné Israel, a Journal of Jewish Law co-edited with Tel Aviv Law School, and a member of the board of the Human Rights project of the Israel Democracy Institute, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and the Center for Ethics of Yeshiva University. Professor Stone writes and lectures on the intersection of Jewish law and legal theory. Her publications include: "In Pursuit of the Counter-text: The Turn to the Jewish Legal Model in Contemporary American Legal Theory," (Harvard Law Review); "The Jewish Conception of Civil Society," in “Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society” (Princeton University Press);  "Feminism and the Rabbinic Conception of Justice" in “Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy” (Indiana University); and “Rabbinic Legal Magic” (Yale Journal of Law & Humanities). Her work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Hebrew, and Arabic.

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Chair and Commentator
Pnina Lahav is the Law Alumni Scholar and Professor of Law at Boston University. She has taught at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Herzliya as well as in universities in Europe. She served as a fellow at the center for advanced studies for the behavioral sciences at Stanford, CA and at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. During the course of her career, Professor Lahav has published nearly 50 journal articles and three books, including the critically acclaimed “Judgment in Jerusalem: Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist Century.” Winner of Israel’s Seltner Award (1998) and the Gratz College Centennial Book Award (1998), “Judgment in Jerusalem” was offered as a selection by the History Book Club in the United States and was the subject of a symposium at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law in 1999. She currently is working on a short biography of Golda Meir, tentatively titled “Golda: Through the Gender Lens.”  

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Economy and Society in Israel: Past Experience, Current Issues, and Future Prospects
Jacob (Kobi) Metzer
The stabilization program of 1985 and its related reforms led to a gradual retreat of the state from its deep involvement in, and control of Israel's economy and was accompanied by privatization of a variety of government companies and services. An increasing role in economic life delegated to the market unleashed the potential for allocative advantages and growth enhancement. A good part of this potential has indeed been realized – helping the absorption of the massive immigration waves of the 1990s – but the overall economic record of the last decades has been rather mixed.

Considering the aggregate macroeconomic picture, it was one of secular – albeit not uninterrupted – growth, with the liberalized economy becoming well integrated into the global markets. This rosy picture, however, has been stained by extremely high income inequality and rising incidence of poverty, particularly within well identified groups (such as the Israeli Arabs and the ultraorthodox Jews). Likewise, in the market structure area, the concentration of excessive market power has hampered competition in a number of significant instances, making consumers suffer from high prices and rising cost of living. 

This mixed record is the main concern of my paper. It comparatively examines its main attributes and implications, and addresses some of the pressing issues that have surfaced in the intensive debates (culminating in the recent social protest and its aftermath) on economic policies and Israel's socio-economic prospects. In discussing these issues, the fundamental question – what are the socio-economic regimes that the Israeli society could adopt, given its values, needs and preferences, is deliberated on.

Jacob (Kobi) Metzer is Alexander Brody Professor Emeritus of Economic History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At the Hebrew University he served as chair of the Department of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and is serving now as Chair of the Academic Council of the Hebrew University Magnes Press. Metzer held visiting professorships at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Northwestern University, and the London School of Economics, and fellowships at St Antony’s College Oxford, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. He was a member of the International Economic History Association’s Central Academic Committee and President of the Israel Economic Association. Among his books: “National Capital for a National Home,” Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1979 (in Hebrew); “The Divided Economy of Mandatory Palestine,” Cambridge University Press, 1998; “Land Rights, Ethno-Nationalism and Sovereignty in History” (co-edited with Stanley Engerman) Routledge, 2004; and “Settler Economies in World History” (co-edited with Christopher Lloyd and Richard Sutch) Brill 2012.

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Competing Concepts of Land in Eretz Israel
Ilan Troen and Shay Rabineau
With the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist claims to Eretz Israel became realized. Disputes over the authenticity of those claims, however, have continued unabated to this day, and are challenged by counter-claims. Their assertions extend far beyond criticizing the actions of the Israeli government; rather, they focus on the legitimacy of the Jewish state, and the idea that in Palestine there should be "Jewish" land. Zionism, which was founded on the idea of Jews returning to their homeland in the East, is challenged in maintaining its rights in Eretz Israel because its opponents mark it as irrevocably and permanently Western.

The first part of this paper will examine the nature of Zionist claims and contemporary counter-claims. The second part will focus on the challenges inherent in carrying out the normal activities of a modern state in such a contested land. Activities that would elsewhere seem mundane -- mapping, zoning, tree-planting, preserving nature, and hiking -- are skewed by assertions of the alleged foreignness of Zionism. By examining these and other activities, the paper will illustrate and explore the sometimes-overlooked real-world implications of this unresolved historical debate.

Ilan Troen is Director of the Schusterman Center and is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies. Before joining Brandeis, he served as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sede Boker, Israel, and dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Ben-Gurion University. He has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of “Israel Studies” (Indiana University Press), an international journal that publishes three issues annually on behalf of Brandeis and Ben-Gurion University. His book publications include “Jewish Centers and Peripheries: European Jewry Between America and Israel 50 Years after World War II” (1998); “The Americanization of Israel” (2001), with Glenda Abramson; “Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America” (2001), with Deborah Dash-Moore; “Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement” (2003); with Jacob Lassner, “Jews and Muslims in the Arab World; Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined” (2007); and with Maoz Azaryahu, “Tel-Aviv, the First Century: Visions, Designs, Actualities” (2012).

Shay Rabineau is completing his dissertation in Brandeis University's Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. A student of modern Israel and the Middle East, his research interests include environmental history and human geography. His doctoral research traces the history of Israel's system of marked and mapped hiking trails from its roots in pre-statehood Zionist youth hikes, through its beginnings in the Judean Desert and the Eilat Mountains, and to its eventual expansion to become one of the most highly-developed country-wide trail networks in the world. The project concludes with the recent creation of long trails like Shvil Israel (the Israel National Trail), and with contemporary Israeli and Palestinian disputes over trails and hiking.

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Chair and Commentator
Alan Dowty is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. From 1963-1975 he was on the faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, during which time he served as Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Chair of the Department of International Relations. In 2003-2006 Professor Dowty was the first holder of the Kahanoff Chair in Israeli Studies at the University of Calgary, and in 2005-2007 he was President of the Association for Israel Studies. He has published widely, and lectured in over 20 countries, on the Arab-Israel conflict, Israeli politics, and U.S. foreign policy. Among his books are basic texts on Israeli society and politics (“The Jewish State: A Century Later”) and on the Arab-Israel conflict (“Israel/Palestine,” 3rd edition 2012).

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Jewish-Arab Relations in Israel: Reconsidering the Paradigm
Elie Rekhess
In recent years, a distressing deterioration has occurred in the relationship between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority. The Arab public has undergone a noted political and ideological radicalization. The process has been accelerated by widening socio-economic gaps and government neglect. Jewish attitudes toward Arabs also reflect growing alienation. It seems that the initial paradigm of Jewish-Arab relations, formatted in 1948, presently caters only partly to the shifting realities.

The presentation aims at reviewing the cumulative experience from past attempts to formulate a new overarching policy to address majority-minority relations in Israel, both conceptually and practically. These include the work of various academic and public think-tanks, governmental committees and independent initiatives by NGOs. The main controversial issues under consideration will briefly be discussed and possible guidelines for future action will be explored.

Elie Rekhess is a leading academic authority on the Arabs in Israel. His fields of expertise include the contemporary history of the Middle East, the Israeli-Arab conflict, Palestinian politics, Islamic resurgence, the Arab Minority in Israel and Jewish-Arab relations. He is presently the Visiting Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University and co-chair of its Middle East Forum. Concurrently, Professor Rekhess is a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. He authored and edited more than 13 books related to his fields of interest. The most recent book entitled: “Muslim Minorities in Non-Muslim Majority States” (2011). Rekhess served as a Strategic Advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Barak and as an Advisor to the Ministerial Committee on the Arabs in Israel. Rekhess is a regular public lecturer and television commentator on the current situation in the Middle East, focusing on the “Arab Spring” and the rise of the Islamic trend.

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Israel’s Place in a Changing Regional Order
Asher Susser
Israel's Middle Eastern environment has undergone enormous transformation since the founding of the state in 1948, from the Arab military coups in the late 1940s and 1950s, under the impact of radical pan-Arabism and a pro-Soviet tilt in the Cold War, to the post-Cold War era and the tumultuous events of the last year or so, commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring." If in Israel’s earlier years it feared the great potential of Arab power, today Israel’s concerns are related to the regional fall-out of Arab weakness.

The so called “Arab Spring” of the present is a consequence of the profound socio-economic malaise that plagues virtually all the non-oil producing Arab states. Israel is presently surrounded by weak failing Arab states, possibly facing protracted periods of chronic instability. Paradoxically, contending with the fall-out of Arab weakness, albeit less immediately life-threatening for Israel, is no less challenging than the former specter of Arab power. In some ways it is even more so.

Asher Susser is the Stanley and Ilene Gold Senior Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He was the Director of the Center for twelve years and has taught for some thirty years in TAU’s Department of Middle Eastern History. He has been a Fulbright Fellow; a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Brandeis University, and the University of Arizona; and a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His most recent book is “Israel, Jordan and Palestine; The Two-State Imperative” (University Press of New England, 2012). He also wrote the “Political Biography of Jordan’s Prime Minister Wasfi al-Tall” (1994) and is the author or editor of eight other books and a monograph on “The Rise of Hamas in Palestine and the Crisis of Secularism in the Arab World” (2010).

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Chair and Commentator
Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He is also an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Before joining the Crown Center, Feldman served from 1997 to 2005 as head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and from 2001 to 2003, as a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Author of numerous publications, Feldman has written five books on the topic of Israeli security and peacemaking, including: “Israeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s” (1982); “The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation” (1996); “Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in the Middle East” (1997); “Bridging the Gap – A Future Security Architecture for the Middle East“(1997) with Abdullah Toukan;  and, “Track-II Diplomacy – Lessons from the Middle East” (2003) with Hussein Agha, Ahmad Khalidi, and Zeev Schiff.

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The Transformation of Religious Zionism
Eliezer Don-Yehiya
Religious Zionism has undergone a political transformation. It is most clearly manifested in the far-reaching change that occurred in the positions of the religious Zionist parties on matters of foreign and defense policy. This raises questions that relate to the nature of the change, its sources and its effects both on the religious Zionist community and on Israeli society as a whole. The common opinion is that it was the Six Day War that played a crucial role in the political transformation of religious Zionism. While the Six Day War did stir a wave of messianic awakening in wide circles of the religious Zionist camp – it did not have an immediate effect on the practical policies of the National Religious Party (NRP). Admittedly, under the impact of Israel's victories in the war, growing pressures were exerted by many NRP members on their party leaders to demand the annexation of the occupied territories to Israel and to reject any withdrawal from them.

These pressures led the NRP to adopt resolutions that officially declared the party's loyalty to the principle of "the integrity of the Land of Israel." Nevertheless, this principle was not implemented in the practical politics of the NRP during the first years after the Six Day War because the veteran leadership of the party headed by Chaim Moshe Shapira continued to pursue its rather moderate political stance even after the war. My paper will focus on both how the social changes and developments worked their way into the party's political platforms as well as why particular leaders resisted resetting the party's policy priorities.

Eliezer Don-Yehiya is Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He has published widely in his fields of expertise: Israeli and Jewish politics; Religion and State; Zionism and Nationalism. Among his recent publications: "Jewish Orthodoxy and its Attitude to Israel," Israel Studies (2012); "Religion and Nationalism in the Conception of Begin," in A. Diskin (ed.) From Altalena to the Present Day (Jerusalem 2011, Hebrew); "Tradition and Modernization in the Early Years of Zionism," The Jewish People Today: Ingathering and Dispersion (Jerusalem 2009, Hebrew); "Religion and National Identity in Legislation and Politics", The Third Decade (Jerusalem 2008, Hebrew); Crisis and Change in a New State (Jerusalem 2008, Hebrew); "Mamlakhtiyut, Education and Religion," The Journal of Israeli History (2007).

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The Ambivalent Haredi Jew
Yoel Finkelman
When Haredi Jews talk ideology, they talk with enormous self-confidence, security, and single-mindedness. Haredi ideology represents exactly what Torah demands, and Torah's demands have never changed. Yet, when one scratches underneath the surface of Israeli Haredi rhetoric, one discovers enormous ambivalence: ambivalence about Zionism, ambivalence about the State of Israel, ambivalence about secular Jews, ambivalence about isolationism, ambivalence about Torah-only education, ambivalence about Israel's multiculturalism, ambivalence about poverty and the kollel life, and even ambivalence about gender roles and rabbinic authority. Haredi ambivalence in Israel stems from the complexities of trying to implement dogmatic isolationism in the context of a modern, open Jewish society and from the odd situation of being economically and militarily dependent on a State the existence of which Haredi ideology opposes. 

Borrowing models of sociological ambivalence from the writings of Robert Merton, Zygmunt Bauman, and Victor Turner, this essay suggests that “ambivalence” is central to understanding the complex relationship between mainstream Israeli Haredim and the State of Israel. Furthermore, I argue that the current narrative which dominates Israeli studies of Haredi society -- the narrative of Israelization -- does not succeed in capturing the complexity and multidimensionality of the Haredi encounter with the State. It overestimates the patterns of increasing Haredi integration with general Israeli culture and downplays the signs of radicalization and growing isolationism.

Yoel Finkelman is a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University and at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He received his Ph.D from the department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University, and is author of “Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy.” His research interests involve Jewish Orthodoxy, Jewish education, and religious media.


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Chair and Commentator
Yehudah Mirsky is Associate Professor of the Practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He teaches a course about understanding the nexus of religion, state and society in Israel. He worked in Washington as an aide to then-Senators Bob Kerrey and Al Gore, and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and served in the Clinton Administration as special advisor in the US State Department's human rights bureau. He has written widely on politics, theology and culture for a number of publications including “The New Republic” and “The Economist,” he is a Contributing Editor of the “Jerusalem Report” and is on the editorial board of “Eretz Acheret.” After the attacks of September 11 he served as a volunteer chaplain for the Red Cross. He is currently a contributing writer at “Jewish Ideas Daily.com” and a member of the board of “Yerushalmim,” the movement for a pluralist and livable Jerusalem. His biography of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook is forthcoming from Yale University Press.