2017-2018 Academic Year
Title: Diplomatic Dramas and Redressive Actions
Supervisor: Professor Zohar Kampf
Abstract: Previous research in IR has dealt with the question of how states overcome periods of heightened international tension without resulting to war. Yet, with some exceptions found in the study of diplomacy (Bjola 2010; Adler-Nissen, 2012; Kampf and Löwenheim, 2012), the social and linguistic elements of interstate interactions have generally been overlooked. This paper aims to contribute to a growing body of scholarship that emphasizes the social construction of world politics and considers the existence of a “society of states” (Bull, 1977; Buzan, 1933), by examining the role played by public redressive actions in “international dramas”. This term is based on Victor Turner’s concept of “social drama” – a social process arising in conflict situations (Turner, 1957) – and is applied for the first time to interstate processes in the diplomatic sphere.
States’ actions in the escalation and redressive stages of 35 international dramas involving Israel as a state actor are analyzed and accounted for. The theoretical framework of this paper applies interpersonal communication theories to relations between states, and the analysis brings concepts such as redressive action (Turner, 1957; Goffman, 1967), framing (Goffman, 1974) and image repair (Benoit, 1995) into the world of international relations in an attempt to uncover the rationale behind common diplomatic practices through which the international order is both challenged and restored. The data reveals four primary discursive strategies used in the redressive stage of international dramas: reframing, appeasement, remorse, and relationship enhancement. The findings suggest that verbal actions that are often dismissed in IR as “cheap talk” in fact play an inseparable part in most de-escalatory processes, and demonstrate how social theories can add to our understanding of interstate relations.
Title: The people, the land and the law: Israeli Religious Zionists in Dialogue Groups with Palestinians
Supervisor: Prof. Ifat Maoz and Dr. Yiftach Ron
Abstract: In ethnopolitical conflicts, such as the Israeli-Palestinian, collective narratives and identities are as relevant for its understanding as material resources such as land disputes. The present study proposes a deeper understanding on how specific ideological and social backgrounds contribute to perception changes during dialogue encounters, raising themes and dilemmas of engaging the Religious Zionist community in dialogue with Palestinians.The main question this study addresses is: What are the themes and dilemmas raised by Religious Zionists about their experiences in participating in dialogue meetings with Palestinians?Academic literature suggests that religiousness has cognitive implications and that intergroup contact is related to a more moderate attitude. My research seeks to understand the specificities of religious people engaging in intergroup contact and how they process perception changes that occur in the process. It is an important step considering that people and values related to dialogue groups are predominantly secular .
Title: Psychological characteristics of polarized political discourse on an Israeli social media platform
Supervisor: Prof. Ifat Maoz
Abstract: The political discourse between rightists and leftists in Israel has become, along the years, conflictual, offensive and disrespectful (Peleg, 2010). This is particularly true for the Israeli online platform, where the discourse between individuals from opposing ends of the political spectrum can be described as a 'bashing ritual' (Dori-Hacohen & Shavit, 2013). The present study seeks to characterize extreme right-wing political discourse as it appears on "The Shadow" Facebook page; a highly popular page with more than 340,000 followers, which is associated with a rightist agenda and functions as a platform for heated political discussions. The study examines the perceptions of "The Shadow" followers regarding the Israeli left-wing through a qualitative analysis of the comments posted on his page. This analysis reveals patterns within the usage of slurs, insults and aggressiveness, directed toward the left-wing and its supporters. The academic literature commonly attributes this kind of discourse to the online platform where incivility in political discussion is prevalent (Coe, Kenski & Rains, 2014) and, in the local context, to the Israeli 'Kasach' discourse culture (Dori-Hacohen & Shavit, 2013). Alongside these arguments, the findings of the current study indicate that psychological characteristics of a polarized society living in an intractable conflict might have an interpretative value when trying to understand the nature of the discourse on the page; the left wing is regarded as a scapegoat, as naïve and blind to the reality, eventually even being pushed out of the 'Jewish Israeli' ingroup and becomes a target for violence.
Title: Civic Education in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Schools in Israel
Supervisor: Dr. Aviv Cohen, School of Education
Abstract: This study focuses on the special case of civic education in ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in Israel. Due to the fact that the Independent Education System in Israel (ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools) is the only segment that is excluded from the "unified" civic-education curriculum, I saw it as rare opportunity to reveal the non-mediated stand of ultra-Orthodox Jews, toward the state and some of the main, high profile, conflicts. I found it intriguing that technical-non-essential reasons, brought that separatist religious group to participate in the formal "Bagrut" exams made by the ministry of education. Out of this compulsion they must teach content that many times clashes with the most basic concepts in their world view. the question that lead my study is what perceptions, themes, and images arise from the civics curriculum in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector toward the State of Israel, citizenship and democracy? I chose Grounded-Theory methods that driven from the Qualitative research, The examination focuses on text-books and interviews. I base my study on the filed of multiculturalism and civic-studies in non-liberal groups.
2016-2017 Academic Year
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
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.
Title: (CV) Competitive Victimhood,
Supervisor: Professor Ifat Maoz, Head, Swiss Center for Conflict research, Management and Resolution
Competitive victimhood (CV) is the effort of an individual or a group to gain recognition in their victim status, vis-à-vis, the victim's status of the opposing group. This topic has been part of the conflict resolution and management studies for years. Many researches have shown that CV if a factor that not only escalates conflicts and makes it harder for them to be resolved, but can even activate latent conflicts.
CV can happen between victims of the same perpetrator (victimizer), between victims of different perpetrators, between adversary groups from different societies and countries or within the same society or country. It can evolve in the backdrop of a violent conflict, political exclusion or economic deprivation, and can, together with the denial to recognize the suffering of the other group, to have dramatic and devastating consequences.
The way a conflict is covered by the media has a lot of influence on the conflict. Media coverage can align itself with its audience, and by covering the weakness, suffering and vulnerability, it can actually promote the victimhood perception within this audience. Such coverage can also mobilize support for the government policy and actions that can lead to violent and immoral activities.
My research checks what are the main themes, motives, means and issues that arise from the Israeli public diplomacy video clips, in the context of the attempt to gain the international community's support by presenting the Israeli victimhood and suffering.
2015-2016 Academic Year
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
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.
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
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.
Topic: Motherhood of soldiers and Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Supervisors: Prof. Amikam Nachmani, Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Ifat Maoz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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.
Topic: Identity, multiculturalism and globalization
Supervisor: Prof. Gabriel Horenczyk and Prof. Guy Harpaz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The study attempts to examine the relationship between intergroup behavior and state policy in conflict. Naturally in this study, most of the literature is taken from social psychology, international relations and literature that combines these two areas.
Topic: Historiographical aspects of the formation of the Arab refugee problem of 1948 war