Young Researchers

Each year the Swiss Center focuses on young researchers (Master Thesis, Doctoral and Post doctoral students)

2016-2017 Academic Year

Dr. Efrat Daskal

My current research deals with digital rights advocacy. I explore how civil society organizations advocate for citizens' digital rights (e.g. right to privacy, freedom of speech, access to the internet etc.) in the national and international levels, while confronting governments and internet companies in the political, judicial and public arenas. 

askal My current research deals with digital rights advocacy. I explore how civil society organizations advocate for citizens' digital rights (e.g. right to privacy, freedom of speech, access to the internet etc.) in the national and international levels, while confronting governments and internet companies in the political, judicial and public arenas. 

Efrat worked for four years as an assistant Ombudsman of SATR (the regulatory body of the channels of commercial television and radio in Israel). Following that job she chose to focus her research on the role that civil society organizations in shaping and influencing the media policy. In 2016-2017 Efrat is a postdoctoral fellow at the Lady Davis.

Dr. Efrat Daskal

Rotem Nagar

My current research deals with the Struggle for Recognition: The Role of Demands for Recognition in Asymmetric Conflicts.

Recognition is increasingly being seen as a vital condition for resolving conflicts, as well as for normalizing processes and achieving a modus vivendi. Yet, only few studies have attempted to empirically examine what recognition actually means for those who are involved in asymmetric protracted conflicts. The goal of my research is to examine psychological and ideological factors that underlie public opinion (un)willingness to recognize the other side in situations of conflict, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Considering that recognition is crucial for resolving asymmetric conflicts, understanding the conditions that make the recognition of the rights and needs of out-groups possible might be essential in paving the way to settling conflicts and disputes.

Rotem graduated with honor from The Swiss Center for conflict Research and from The Department of Sociology at the Hebrew University in 2011. Today she is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communication and at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, and a doctoral fellow at the Truman Institute for Peace Research (supervisor: Professor Ifat Maoz). Her research interests are psychological, ideological and media-related aspects of conflict resolution and conflict transformation, including aspects that underline the (un-)willingness to recognize the other side in conflicts. Rotem is one of two recipients of the Hans Guth Dreyfus Fund  for the 2016-2017 academic year, given by The Aharon Barak Center for Interdisciplinary Legal Research and the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, Management and Resolution.

Rotem Nagar

Dr. Amit Sheniak 

My Current research deals with the legitimization process of state involvement in Cyber-conflict

Cyber-conflicts are a current version of human conflicts, and are evident in both the domestic and the international arenas. In my research I aim to explore and describe the actions taken by state in order to legitimize the use of force employed by them in and through cyberspace. Those actions contribute to the establishment of a new evolving international norm - the right of state to project power over civilian through and in cyberspace and to get involved in cyber-conflicts in order to regulate, contain and settle them. The research’s methodology is based upon the study of formal statements and quotes and recorded evident of states “Soft-Power” actions.

The importance of the research lies in the so called “information revolution” and the growing importance of the Internet to vast aspects of modern life which have yield both benefits and challenges to state security and stability. More over, cyber security issues are at the hurt of the world leading powers and perceived by citizens as a major vulnerability that on the one hand might endanger their daily routine, and on the other hand are a vessel in which governments and regimes repeatedly use to violate their privacy. The research has the potential to contribute to the understanding of cyber conflict in general and state’s ability to resolve them in particular, a field of study that was not yet properly researched.

Amit is a Post-doctoral fellow at the Swiss Center for conflict research and a research fellow at the center for Science Technology and Society in Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He received his PhD (2015) in Political Science form the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, combined with a public professional career as a policy adviser and strategic planner in the Israeli ministry of defense (IDF J5) and the Israeli parliament (the Knesset). He also holds a BA in political science and international relations and MA in democratic studies (all from the Hebrew University). is one of two recipients of the Hans Guth Dreyfus Fund  for the 2016-2017 academic year, given by The Aharon Barak Center for Interdisciplinary Legal Research and the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, Management and Resolution.

Dr. Amit Sheniak

2015-2016 Academic Year

Ibrahim Hazboun

The first study of my PhD dissertation explored the experiences and practices of Palestinian journalists working for Palestinian local and private media outlets during the 2014 war in Gaza. The thematic analysis is based on data gathered from 10 in depth semi-structured interviews with Palestinian reporters and editors. The findings indicate that the practices of Palestinian journalists were shaped by their personal experiences during the war. The interviewed Palestinian journalists described a constant sense of fear and threat as well as difficulties of coping with restrictions and limitations on their journalistic work.  Moreover, our findings indicate that Palestinian journalists witnessing their peoples' suffering and tragedies during the war felt responsible and were motivated to report on and reveal this suffering through media outlets. I am now continuing to study these questions within the research program of my doctoral studies that deal with the role of journalists in conflict.

Ibrahim Hazboun is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dissertation title: The experiences and practices of Palestinian journalists in the asymmetrical conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Supervised by Prof. Ifat Maoz and Prof. Menahem Blondheim.

 

 

Ibrahim Hazboun 

 

Nechumi Yaffe

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 non-Jewish existence revolved around 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.

Nechumi Yaffe is a PhD candidate at the Swiss Center fir Conflict Research, Management and Resolution at the Hebrew University (supervised by Prof, Avner De-Shalit and Prof. Eran Halperin). Nechumi also teaches in Beit Hamore College 

 

 Nechumi Yaffe

 Michal Raz Rotem

My study is designed to unravel the impact of the rifts in Israeli society on the functioning of a small but socially diverse group, where collaboration is not voluntary but rather stems from the members' job definition and organizational positions. The research examines interactions among members of different social groups and the internal dynamics within the small group, including the communication patterns, the quality of cooperation, mutual trust, the image of the other group members, and perceived  justice and fairness as opposed to feelings of discrimination. The dynamics of the team is examined via the perceptions of the team members.

The study investigates the dynamics in diverse work teams in two different situations: at times of relative calm of the intractable conflict and during episodes of fighting or violent outbreaks of the conflict (peaks of conflict escalation). This aspect of the study will shed light on shifts in the team members' perceptions and behavior along the changing intensity and conspicuousness of the intractable conflict.

In addition, the proposed study examines the phenomena mentioned above in a field setting - in medical and para-medical teams in contrast to previous studies that have examined similar processes using ad hoc groups, some of which were created as part of group encounters consisting of two national/ethnic groups (Dixon, Durrheim & Tredoux, 2005; Maoz, 2000; 2011; 2000; Dixon & Durrhiem, 2003; Suleiman 2004). The study examines how employees perceive their relationships with the "other" in the context of a divided society. The current study  also attempts to respond to the criticism concerning the contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954), claiming that most studies have examined contact between groups only in optimal conditions rather than in situations where the contact is not voluntary and takes place in the course of protracted  and asymmetrical conflict (in terms of power relations between the parties).

Michal Raz Rotem graduated with honor (cum laude) from the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Haifa University. Today she is a Ph.D candidate at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research at the Hebrew University (supervisors: Professor Ifat Maoz and Professor Helena Desivilya Syna). Michal`s dissertation has been awarded the presidential scholarship for excellence and innovation in science. Michal is also a lecturer at The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College and at the Open University

 

 Michal Raz-Rotem

2014-2015 Academic Year

 

Maya de Vries

My current research deals with the Social Media within Disadvantaged Communities in Intractable Conflict Zones: The Case Study of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. My research aims to reveal, using discourse analysis, the role of social media and its uses within disadvantaged political groups situated in an intractable conflict such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, in this research I hope to add to the existing knowledge about Jerusalem as a contested city, focusing on the Palestinian population in the city.

Maya de Vries graduated from the The Swiss Center for conflict Research in 2011, today the coordinator of the Swiss Center Internship Program Conducted in the framework of the Faculty of Social Science Project, and a doctoral student at the Department of Communication and at the Swiss Center (supervisor: ProfessorIfat Maoz). 

 

Maya De Vries 

 Dr. Yiftach Ron

My current research deals with the interrelations between collective narratives, personal narratives and continuous involvement in intergroup dialogue processes. Using a thematic content-analysis of in-depth interviews and transcripts of sessions of an intergroup encounter-workshop, my research investigates the relationships between involvement in intergroup dialogue, narratives, ideology and attitudes toward the resolution of conflicts. This is done in the context of the ongoing conflict and dialogue processes between Palestinians and Jews in Israel, and with a focus on the experience and viewpoint of Jewish Israelis who have been continuously involved in Jewish-Palestinian encounter programs. This research seeks to contribute to our understanding of the processes occurring as a result of the exposure to the narrative of the other in an intergroup dialogue, and the ways in which these processes can not only mitigate the destructive role that ethnocentric beliefs and narratives play in conflict situations, but also help to promote processes of conflict resolution and peacemaking.

 Yiftach Ron is a Lecturer, Academic Projects Coordinator and Methodological Advisor in The Swiss Center for conflict Research, Management and resolution, and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Harry S. Truman Research Institute. He is currently at the course of submitting his Ph.D in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University (Supervisors: Professor Ifat Maoz and Dr. Zvi Bekerman). 

 

 Dr. Yiftach Ron

Dr. Nimrod Rosler

My research project seeks to study how political leaders mobilize social support and legitimacy in the context of a peace process. The project aims at exploring the understudied area of leadership in the field of conflict resolution by conducting a comparative study of leaders of both sides in various conflicts around the world. My use of a comparative research design is intended to broaden our understanding of the challenges peace processes pose to societies accustomed to living under intractable conflict and the role leaders play in meeting these and inaugurating change.

Nimrod Rosler is currently a Lady Davis post-doctoral fellow at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research. He received his Ph.D. in 2012 from the Swiss Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and spent the last two years as a Visiting Israel Professor at the Center for Global and International Studies, the University of Kansas, on behalf of AICE-Schusterman foundation.

 

 

 Dr. Nimrod Rosler

Hans Guth Dreyfus Fund

Since 2015 two outstanding research PhD/post-doctoral students receive the Hans Guth Dreyfus fellowship. Each fellow receives 5,750 $ per year, that enables the young researchers to promote research on psychological aspects, sociological and political management and conflict resolution.

The Scholarship Recipients 2016-2017

Rotem Nagar

A doctoral student at the Department of Communication and at the Swiss Center, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Struggle for Recognition: The Role of Demands for Recognition in Asymmetric Conflicts

Supervisor: Prof. Ifat Maoz

Research abstract: Recognition is increasingly being seen as a vital condition for resolving conflicts, as well as for normalizing processes and achieving a modus vivendi. Yet, only few studies have attempted to empirically examine what recognition actually means for those who are involved in asymmetric protracted conflicts. The goal of my research is to examine psychological and ideological factors that underlie public opinion (un)willingness to recognize the other side in situations of conflict, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Considering that recognition is crucial for resolving asymmetric conflicts, understanding the conditions that make the recognition of the rights and needs of out-groups possible might be essential in paving the way to settling conflicts and disputes.

Rotem Nagar has graduated with honor from The Swiss Center for Conflict Research and from The Department of Sociology at the Hebrew University in 2011. Today she is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communication and at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research (supervisor: Professor Ifat Maoz). Her research interests are psychological, ideological and media-related aspects of conflict resolution and conflict transformation, including aspects that underlie the (un-)willingness to recognize the other side in conflicts.

 

Rotem Nagar

Dr. Amit Sheniak

post-doctoral fellow at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research and a research fellow at the STS center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  

The legitimization process of state involvement in Cyber-conflict

Research Abstract: Cyber-conflicts are a current version of human conflicts, and are evident in both the domestic and the international arenas. In my research I aim to explore and describe the actions taken by states in order to legitimize the use of force employed by them in and through cyberspace. Those actions contribute to the establishment of a new evolving international norm - the right of states to project power over civilian through and in cyberspace and to get involved in cyber-conflicts in order to regulate, contain and settle them. The research methodology is based upon the study of formal statements and quotes and recorded evidence of states' “Soft-Power” actions.

The research has the potential to contribute to the understanding of cyber conflict in general and state’s ability to resolve them in particular, a field of study that was not yet properly researched.

Amit Sheniak is a current/currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research and a research fellow at the center for Science Technology and Society in Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He received his PhD (2015) in Political Science form the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, combined with a public professional career as a policy adviser and strategic planner in the Israeli ministry of defense (IDF J5) and the Israeli parliament (the Knesset). He also holds a BA in political science and international relations and MA in democratic studies (all from the Hebrew University).

 

 Dr. Amit Sheniak

The Scholarship Recipients of 2015-2016

Yair Fogel-Dror

Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science and Dreyfus scholarship doctoral fellow

Computational Analysis of Political Discourse Analysis:Challenges and Implications

Research Abstract: The purpose of my research is to explore and uncover patterns of political discourse in the context of a political conflict, utilizing new computational methods. My research focuses on qualifying the rival actors by discovering the sentiment of texts and studying characteristics associated with each actor as those appear in the text. The intensity of interactions between the rival actors in the media coverage, for example, makes it harder to correctly associate each description with the specific actor as both actors are mentioned. Also, as the sentiment of the text is highly sensitive to the values and perspective of the writer, sentiment analysis in the context of various values and perspectives becomes a real challenge. Therefore an alternative measure for qualifying is suggested. For example, a description of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would express different sentiment when written from Netanyahu's point of view compared to Obama’s. Last, media agencies are also part of the discourse and might form a pattern by themselves. They can make an original voice, follow some opinion leader or even act as a part of a synchronized "clique" of media agencies. My research explores and exploits those patterns, in order to build new methods for better understanding the discourse and media coverage of political conflicts. For this purpose I apply a natural language processing and machine learning approach, while adapting the methods to the specific attributes of the political discourse. The end result of this research would allow for a better qualifying of actors' characteristics as well as better understanding of the role different media agencies play while covering a political conflict.

Research progress report - 2016

In the past year my research, with the endorsement of the Dreyfus scholarship, has been focused on the development of two methods for computational analysis of political texts, with regards to three conflicts: the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli public diplomacy efforts with regards to the BDS movement, and the presidential election campaign in the United States. The first method involves automatic extraction of topics, using an inductive approach first, which later allows for deductive identification of those topics in real time. The different topics include issues which are relevant to the three mentioned conflicts, where the goal is to reach a high enough resolution of analysis in order to distinguish, automatically, between descriptions of the same events but from different perspectives. For example, the method can distinguish between the Israeli and the Hamas descriptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second method involves a network analysis of relations between topics, according to the way they are presented in different media agencies. For example, I show how in some agencies the BDS movement is presented as related to Anti-Semitic discourse, while in others this relation is absent. The existence of this relation may indicate a successful public diplomacy campaign on the part of Israel, as stressing this association is Israel's formal policy with regards to the BDS.

The past year research is forming into an article with this (temporary) title: Rapid Coding of Large Corpora with Minimal Human Intervention

 

 

 Yair Pogel

Rana Es'eed

PhD candidate at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare and Dreyfus scholarship doctoral fellow

The Islamic Movement in Israel as a Welfare Services Provider: A Case Study of the "Independent Community" Concept

Supervisor: Prof. John Gal and Prof. Ram Knaan

Research abstract: The Palestinians in Israel have experienced processes of discrimination and marginalization in multiple areas, one of the most important of which is welfare. Studies shows that state discrimination of ethnic groups in Israel have reinforced structural inequality (Rosenheck, 1996; Quandangno, 1994). Indeed, throughout its history, the Israeli welfare state has been characterized by severe segmentation, which has often excluded and marginalized the Palestinians citizens of the country (Rosenheck, 1995, 2007). In recent decades, the Islamic Movement has emerged as a crucial religious and political force among Palestinians in Israel. This movement has also been a key player in the field of third sector organizations, providing diverse social services to members of the Palestinian community. A fundamental principle in the movement’s activity is the concept of an "independent community". The leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, conceived this concept in the early 2000s. It refers to the creation of a community, which administers its institutions independently, devoid of the pressures applied by the Israeli Establishment on Palestinians on both public and individual levels (Ali, 2007). Although the literature recognizes the key role played by the Islamic Movement in social services in Israel, there is still no study that explains how historical events, changes in the welfare system and the third sector, and internal developments within the movement led to the emergence of the "independent community" concept.

Few studies in this field attempt to explain the development of the movement according to different theories. In this light, the current study wishes to further the understanding of the development of the Islamic Movement and the aforementioned changes, in the context of the various theoretical approaches. In particular, the current study has two main aims: to examine and describe the development of the concept "The Independent Community" and its meaning for minority groups in general and for the Palestinians in Israel in particular. The second goal is to examine and describe the social services provided by the Islamic Movement, whether as part of the Independent Community project or as separate services. Such an examination is located in a complex theoretical space, due to the unique complexity of the Islamic movement, which can be described as a religious organization, a social movement, or a political organization or party.

Currently, I’m analyzing both the archival data (based on the Islamic movement newspaper since 1998 until 2015) and the 17 in depth interviews I have conducted with activist and leaders in the Islamic movement in Israel.

Research progress report - 2016

During the current academic year I had a significant progress in my research work. This year I focused on data collection: archival data and field work which includes interviews and observations. During this academic year I finished conducting the in-depth interviews and the observations and I am currently focusing on analysis of the data. In addition, I’m writing the first article as a part of the final dissertation. During the summer and the next academic year, I aim to focus on data analyzing and writing the final research report. I am planning to write the PhD as a chapters' dissertation, composed of independent three articles.

Thanks to Dreyfus scholarship, I had the opportunity to finish the data collection. During the forthcoming months, I will finish writing the first article, which will be based on the archival data and the interviews that have already been undertaken.  I hope to finish my writing and submitting the PhD no later than by the end of 2017.

 

 Rana Eseed

Outstanding Research Students

 

Some outstanding research students that have begun their research work in 2017 have been awarded a grant from the Swiss Center to help and support their research. 

Idan Liav

Title: The political and social integration of homosexuals in Israeli society

Supervisor: Professor Moshe Sluhovsky, Head Department of History, Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract:

In this M.A. thesis, I examine how the political spectrum of Israeli gays’ positions  towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect their political and social integration into society. The research on the connection between nationalism and sexuality was first introduced by Mosse (1985) and has developed since then, with the rise of gay rights, to include academic critique on the use of these rights as a representation of progress and modernity that allows some populations access to citizenship, while others are delimited and expelled (Puar 2013). This critique begins with Puar’s theoretical framework of ‘Homonationalism’ (2007), which ties the oppression of sexual minorities to the oppression of other social minorities. Various academics have examined the relevancy of this critique in the Israeli context by asking how homonationalism is manifested in Israel, and what link exists between gay rights and Palestinian human rights (Puar 2011, 2013; Hochberg 2010; Milani and Levon 2016); this supposed link is not only based on the academic criticism towards “pinkwashing,” namely Israel’s use of LGBT rights as a fig leaf (Puar 2011; Milani and Levon 2016), but also on Mosse’s claim that, at least in the European context, there is a connection between racial or national exclusion and sexual exclusion (1985). In order to examine this theory in the Israeli context, I will explore the attitude towards and the treatment of Palestinians and gays in Israel as two minorities that were initially excluded from the Zionist project and the Jewish nationality and show how, in the last three decades, this attitude has changed.

 

Some outstanding research students that have begun their research work in 2016 have been awarded a grant from the Swiss Center to help and support their research. 

Aviv Halevy

Topic: Beliefs and perceptions of teenagers who live in the (pre-)1967 borders on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Supervisor: Prof. Ifat Maoz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract

The study seeks to deepen our understanding of the beliefs and perceptions that exist in society characterized by protracted and persistent conflict, with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The study focuses on the same segment of the population in the conflict, which has traditionally opposed the settlement of the dispute by compromise. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict  the research focuses on the sector of the settlers, that mostly traditionally oppose the resolution of the conflict through territorial compromise. The study also focuses on teenagers. Adolescence is a formative period in one's life, during which the of political and ideological perception of youth in relation to the reality of life forms, including in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Given this focus in beliefs and concepts in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among representatives of the younger generation of extremist public, this study seeks to answer which beliefs, feelings and perceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are held in Israeli Jewish youth living in a community settlement beyond the Green Line.

Dina Sakin

Topic: Generation "one and a half" in Israel: cultural integration and attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among the younger generation of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 90s.

Supervisor: Prof. Dan Miodownik, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract

In this study, I examine the experiences and perceptions of young immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the 90s, towards the Israeli and the "Russian" society and towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The research group are men and women immigrated to Israel under the age of 18, and formed at least in part, the identity of Israel.

I wish to explore the social-cultural preferences of the "one and a half" generation of the immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union , and examine their attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from different perspectives, "Russian" and "Israeli".

The research method is semi-structured in-depth interviews, these help to explore the story of the interviewees and to understand how the two cultures shaped the identity of the interviewed, their attitudes toward the Israeli and Russian cultures and their political attitudes and positions towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The main conclusion is that the 1.5 generation of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel form a "third culture", something between the "Israeli" and the "Russian", as reflected both in their cultural choices and their views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Enav Hecht

Topic: Motherhood of soldiers and Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Supervisors: Prof. Amikam Nachmani, Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Ifat Maoz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract

In this study, I ask what are the positions, opinions, thoughts, and feelings of Israeli born, Ashkenazi mothers (or/and grandmothers) of soldiers and former soldiers, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as their attitudes towards solutions to this conflict.

I would also like to investigate the relationship between gender and motherhood and personal attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.