This book is a result of the growing public and academic interest in the variety of childhoods that take place side by side in the multicultural state of Israel, despite its tiny geographical dimensions.
In a collection of groundbreaking articles, the book describes various features of Israeli childhoods – in the present and recent past – in both Arab and Jewish societies.
The first section of the book - 'Childhood and Environment in Israel' - addresses the various spaces in which childhood practices occurred and still occur in Israel – the intimate home environment, the educational environment, playgrounds, and many others. The second section – 'Childhoods and Power Structures in Israeli Literature' illuminates the perceptions and images of childhood, and describes the extensive and heterogenic variety of childhood representations in Jewish and Arab literature.
Scholars of culture, society, education, and literature – Jews and Arabs – have joined forces to encourage in-depth thinking about perceptions of childhood in the diverse Israeli society, the status of children in Arab and Jewish societies, and the resources invested to nurture them from a global aspect (as individuals with universal duties and rights) and/or a local point of view (as a national asset, as designers of the nation's future, or, alternatively, as a burden, nuisance or threat).
Einat Baram Eshel is the head of the Yemima Center for Research and Teaching of Children's Literature at Beit Berl College, and a Senior lecturer at the Levinsky College of Education..
Wurud Jayusi is director of the Center for the Advancement of Shared Society at Beit Berl College.
Ilana Paul-Binyamin is dean of the faculty of education at Beit Berl College.
Eman Younis is head of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the Arab Academic Institute of Education, Beit Berl.
Introduction: Childhoods in Multicultural Israeli Society
Einat Baram Eshel
Childhood and Environment in Israel
Teaching the Children to Play: The Establishment of the First Playgrounds in Palestine during the British Mandate Period
Zipora Shehory-Rubin, Shifra Shvarts
Girls at the Intersection: Discourse on Girl Labor in the Zionist Women Workers’ Movement
Between Wonder and Horror: The Presentation of Palestinian Child Beggars in the Docufiction Film Hard Change
Constructing Early Childhood in the Domestic Space: Jewish and Arab Communities in Israel
Ofra Tene, Orit Abuhav
The Experience of Shared Childhood: Jewish and Arab Children in a Bilingual and Binational School
Wurud Jayusi, Ilana Paul-Binyamin
Multiculturalism in Lantern Library Education Program for Palestinian-Arab Children in Israel
Athar Ḥaj Yaḥya
Representation of Three Palestinian Girls in Three Israeli Television Series: Change and Hope
Ornat Turin, Arielle Friedman
Israeli Childhood in India: Perceptions and Practices of “Proper” Childhood through the Case of Israeli Families Backpacking in India
Childhood and Power Structures in Israeli Literature
In the Shadow of the Wall: Representation of the Separation Wall in Palestinian and Israeli Children`s Literature
Loaay Wattad, Roi Silberberg
Reflections on Photography, Place, and Identity: Children of the Arab Minority in Israeli Photographed Picturebooks
A Treasure of Power and Control: The Encounter between an Arab Boy and a Jewish-Settler Boy in Emuna Elon’s Fathi’s Treasure
Acceptance of the “Other” after the Oslo Accords in Arabic-Palestinian Short Stories for Children in Israel: Mustafa Murrar’s Stories as a Sample
Magic Tricks and Constructive Confrontations: Representations of the Arab “Other” in Contemporary Israeli Children’s Literature (2012-2019)
Childhood Representations in the Palestinian Short Stories of Muḥammad Naffāꜥ
Construction of the Character of Young Labiba in the Novel Ein Khafsha by Rajaa Bakriyyeh
Girls at the Café: On Israeli Women Writers’ Representations of Childhood and Girls' Experiences
Jewish and Arab Childhoods in Israel is a significant contribution to the growing body of academic multidisciplinary works on concepts of childhood and experiences of children. A group of Israeli researchers – Jews and Palestinians – jointly offer here sixteen penetrating studies covering a great variety of themes from early childhood in the domestic space through children’s plays, work and formal education to childhood as featured in photography and literature. Particularly interesting are those chapters, which are based on a systematic comparison between aspects of childhood in both the Jewish and the Palestinian communities in Israel. Well aware of the a-symmetry between the dominant (Jewish) majority and the weakened (Palestinian) minority, the editors have nevertheless opted for an equal representation of both, from the point of view of childhood and children. The book will be of great value to those interested in studies on child cultures, on the Israeli society and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-ridden reality, and the numerous deep divisions among the population (such as between Sephardi-Ashkenazi, Orthodox-secular, men-women, Arab-Jew), this unique collection of essays offers a fresh and an in-depth comparative study of the various communities in Israel. Add to this, the book examines the topic from a pluralist perspective as reflected by the joined forces, both Arabs and Jews, and relates it to local as well as global aspects. A profound and serious book, a must-read for those interested in childhoods in multicultural environments.
True and meaningful education, like all idealist social engagement for world betterment, is done against the grain. This book is an excellent example of such undertaking: not surrendering to the rise of ideological extremism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic exclusion that plague the relations between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority in Israel, the contributors to this volume deal with manifold aspect of Jewish and Arab childhood in Israel – exemplifying and opening spaces of hope for shared life and quality education for all. Worth noting is also the true intercultural spirit of the book. In a country afflicted by many conflicting cultural narratives, with neither accepted geographical borders nor clear sense of identity, the authors envision the establishing of a shared society by means of an open and respectful dialogue between equals, without sacrificing the unique heritage, ethos, and childhood environments characteristic of each community. It is a pioneering book and I strongly recommend it.
This volume, the first of its kind, is the result of a successful cooperation between Jewish and Arab Israeli scholars from a variety of disciplines including sociology, history, cultural studies and literary studies. Their work deals with various aspects of childhood and the manifestations of these aspects in both Eretz-Israeli and Israeli society. The result is a unique collection of articles offering a broad and fascinating panorama of practices, images, and realities of childhood in Eretz-Israel and Israel. The scholars participating in this volume examine and analyze children's cultures from a multitude of perspectives: They explore the world's children create among themselves and their interactions within the family and society at large. They inquire into the nature of children's spaces – the domestic sphere; playgrounds; the schools, kindergartens, and preschools of the education system; and spaces of child labor. They break down images of children and childhood found in children’s literature, television, and other media. Several articles challenge attempts to foster pluralism, tolerance, and acceptance of the “other", and ask to what extent these amount to more than lip service. This rich volume offers a significant contribution to our understanding of Israeli society in general, and childhood and child culture in Israel in particular. It will be of interest not only to the academic community, but also to anyone intrigued by the multifaceted nature of childhood and of Israeli society.
"Each person is a reflection of the landscape of his childhood," wrote the Israeli poet Shaul Tchernichovsky. This book unearths the truth embedded in these words, commonly overshadowed by narratives of national unity. This book includes a rich collection of essays that walk in the footsteps of Israeli children from all walks of life offering the readers an opportunity to examine the complexity of the Israeli situation. The non-judgmental position of the editors, who give equal space to a large spectrum of life experiences, exposing the complex self-definition of the different micro-communities that makes up Israel, is a radical move that dismantles Israel as unifying conceptual identity, presenting it as a cluster of communities existing side-by-side in one small homeland – that everybody claims ownership of, but none can exclusively possess.