Pride and Civil Society. Pollock, V. Assignment #4

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According to lecture, “civil society refers essentially to the so-called “intermediary institutions” such as professional associations, religious groups, labor unions, citizen advocacy organizations, that give voice to various sectors of society and enrich public participation in democracies.” Civil society is way for people to gather and share opinions often creating a momentum behind their ideals and helping them to agree on and promote an agenda. Civil Societies are neither government nor business institutions, but have a similar ability to influence their society and the laws of their city or their country. They can be a university group, church gatherings, or locally run advocacy groups, as long as they are a place to gather and come up with organized ways to influence society.

The LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv could be considered a form of civil society. They have youth centers, pride parades, and all share in the belief that the lifestyle they live is not inherently wrong as others would have them believe. Because of the religious population, even in a liberal city like Tel Aviv, it is not easy to be gay. In an article on Al Monitor a drag queen reflects on the difficulties of living as a gay man; “though Jerusalem has bred the country’s most famous drag queens, the city is no easy place to be a drag queen, or for that matter gay.” Because of the difficulties and the judgment from their families and neighbors it is important for LGBTQ people to have a safe haven where they can be surrounded by people who understand them, identify with their struggle, and share in their ideals. These groups allow for them to gather and demonstrate within the city, not to “spite the religious community” as some would say, but to fight the notion that “there is something wrong in being gay”. They have been successful in fighting for gay rights, and according to the article, Israel was one of the first countries to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military. “While Marcu sees a growing tendency of courts deciding in favor of LGBT rights and a rise in support even among right-wing politicians, she said that there’s still a long way to go.” The LGBTQ community in Israel, in particular Tel Aviv, is a good example of a rather successful civil society, yet they still fight hatred and have a lot of work to do before they are accepted by the majority of the population, especially the religious population, and have true equality within the government.

Source:

Odgaard, Lena. “Gay Pride Parade in Holy Jerusalem – Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle  East.” Al-Monitor. N.p., 31 July 2013. Web. 02 May 2016.

 

Pride and Civil Society. Pollock, V. Assignment #4

A Symbolic Seder is Only Symbolic Freedom / E. Shin / #4

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Image Source: https://simonkneebone.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/17499-3ysvn.jpg?w=510&h=327

A person’s social status often refers to the position and or lifestyle one holds within a community. This status can heavily affect the economical standing or even the day-to-day lifestyle of the individual. The niches created through class and status can be as broad as the divide between citizens and non-citizens, or as intricate as the social hierarchy. In Israel today, there is a large concentration of people living out their lives as refugees.

A symbolic Passover Seder was held right outside of the Holot refugee detention center. The Holot detention is a designated center for asylum seekers and migrants who have entered Israel illegally. Though this may sound like an awe-deserving deed, it only brought attention to how twisted the circumstances actually were. One of the refugees were granted a moment to voice out his troubles, those which consisted of both acknowledging the tragedies that had plagued the Israeli people, and how Israel, of all places and people, should understand what these refugees were going through. When we look back onto Israeli history, we can see the mistreatment of being enslaved by Egypt and the Nazis. This land they call their own has become a holy safe haven for Jews. So while many other groups of people, especially from the African continent, try to flee for freedom, these refugees expect that they may be welcomed. The speaker compellingly noted: “The Jewish people received its freedom twice, yet it still doesn’t understand what the poor people here are facing.” However, Holot has now reached maximum capacity, and its prisoners have long been separated from their loved ones and their homes. Another refugee had exclaimed: “Why am I here? For the same reason you are here. I fled genocide.” These refugees are denied a status beyond a refugee for the time being, and the future progress is not vividly optimistic.

It is frustrating to see history constantly repeat itself throughout the globe, and even more apprehensive when those who have once suffered cannot fully extend their arms to the new victims of discrimination and hatred. However, it is not just the nation of Israel that can be found denying status and aid to asylum seekers and migrants. The U.S. is also guilty of turning its back and closing the doors to people of neighboring nations in need. We may not have a detention center to keep imprisoned the people who have come across our borders illegally, but sending them back can have an even more grotesque consequence for those lives. The United States of America was founded as an immigrant nation that provides opportunities to anyone and everyone, and the nation of Israel was put together in hopes of creating a safe haven [for Jews], but as the conflict throughout the globe intensifies, we can see each country growing colder and further from such claims.

Sources:

Avivi, Yuval. "Refugees in Israel Dream of Freedom This Passover - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East." Al-Monitor. Israel Pulse, 29 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 May 2016.


Sterman, Adiv. "Detention Center for Asylum Seekers Is Full, Officials Say."The Times of Israel. Times of Israel, 29 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 May 2016.

 

A Symbolic Seder is Only Symbolic Freedom / E. Shin / #4

“Sanctions and the Will of the People” Peavy, M. #4

sanctions

https://ralphlosey.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/sanctions.jpg

Social sanctions are the reaction of society to particular actions taken by individuals. These reactions can be positive or negative, embracing or rejecting the action taken by the individual. This is the enforcement branch of socialization, where the individual is kept in line with, or ostracized from, the larger group. Social sanctions can be a far more accurate gauge of public opinion in a particular area than their stated opinions, as sanctions can show to the degree the society is willing to enforce that particular ideal. Particularly this is seen when social sanctions break down, and individuals are allowed to take actions without fear of former consequences.

Some examples of this are highlighted in an al-monitor article by Ben Caspit. The stated theme of the article revolves around the Israeli supreme court, but the article runs much deeper. The events cited in the article are all examples of social sanctions breaking down, showing society is actively changing its stance on an issue. The article cites the swearing in speech of the elected head of the judiciary, a speech where it is expected one will give an idea where they will lead the branch and the improvements they will make, as well as express their honor and appreciation at being elected. Normal speech material. Except the most recent induction speech did nothing but criticize the judiciary, provided no alternatives, and generally was pessimistic of the effect of the branch on Israel as a whole. Ordinarily such a massive leap from tradition, as well as the absurdity of criticizing an organization you sought to get elected to, would be faced by massive sanctions in the form of public and audience outrage. Instead this was hailed with cheers and applause by both the Israeli bar association and the wider public that elected the official. This massive leap in public disposition shows real change in the perception of the judiciary in Israel, meaning Israeli citizens are seemingly willing to do away with one of the last defenses to their own freedom.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/04/israel-democracy-battle-supreme-court-right-wing-gas-outline.html

“Sanctions and the Will of the People” Peavy, M. #4

“The Paradox of Fear and Appreciation”, Mahmoud. Y, #4

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http://www.timesofisrael.com/thousands-of-ultra-orthodox-riot-after-draft-arrest/

A subculture can be looked upon as a group of people that, though may fall under the umbrella of an overarching culture, represent unique and distinct values and norms. Whilst the majority may favor an act or look upon a certain way of living as “acceptable”, a subculture tends to intentionally deviate. While small or primarily agrarian places of living tend to be culturally uniform, looking at a society from a more macro point of view reveals unique ways of life and tends to make acceptable or unacceptable certain acts practiced by the majority of people in that same society. Sociologists Lloyd Ohlin and Richard Cloward defended that this intentional deviance may be influenced by the various structures and opportunities that one encounters in his or her lifetime. Different life experiences make possible the emergence and sustaining of such cultures despite them being completely different from their mother culture. Though sometimes subtle, a majority of subcultures are defined by extreme/substantial variance from the commons, and may represent, especially in young populations, a lack of content or dramatic shifts in popular belief. Different subcultures exist–criminal, conflict/gang, or retreatist. While many groups may be placed under these categories, the subculture that will be discussed in the following paragraph represents the fastest growing segment of the Israeli population today, the ultra-Orthodox Haredim Jews. Extreme religious conservatives who opposed the founding of an Israeli state before the coming of the Messiah, have accepted Israel as a place to live and die, and have become dependent solely on government subsidies and donations for their economically unproductive ways of life. As they and their children spend years of their lives studying the Torah and the teachings and practices of ancient Judaism, they have employed political power alongside religious Zionists, to block or coerce the Knesset coalitions to conceding rights and allowing exceptions with respect to themselves and their families (military exemptions). This subculture, which is thought to pose a threat to Israel’s secular way of life, is of concern to government officials, and secular Jews with a strong nationalistic identity. Some countries may cautiously, yet reluctantly accept these changes, simply disregard and shun them, or may overreach typical bounds and impose stern and severe repercussions for continuing these acts.

An interesting article, “Ultra Orthodox Oppose Conscription, not the IDF” highlights the growing disparity among the different groups of Haredim Jews of their attitudes towards the IDF. Whilst all of the ultra-conservatives have opposed and will continue to oppose the attempted conscription of their young (18-22) year old yeshiva/rabbinical students into the armed forces, a strange paradox exists. Despite the elders active protest and fears, ultra-Orthodox children gathered with olive-green costumes and plastic machine guns to represent their appreciation towards those who allow them to live and worship in peace…the paradox, “a mix of both affection and fear”. April 22, the national Memorial Day for the IDF’s fallen soldiers, marks a time of both “guilt” and “fear” for the conservatives. Guilt, because they do not feel as if they are part of a large, mourning family of Jews, and fear, because they seek to not wash down their way of life by “evicting control” over their children while they are still young and vulnerable. Some groups of Haredim, including Neturei Karta and Eidah Hareidis are vehemently opposed to any type of military recruitment, while groups like the Shas are more “forgiving” of their youth’s decisions. Between these two extremes on a continuum, however, are a majority of ultra-conservative Jews, who, while they appreciate and do not at all oppose the IDF of the role they play in Israeli society, see “Torah study” as their most important asset. The conservatives continue to defend that if it were not for the yeshiva, Israel would not be as strong as they are. While they do not completely discount the role the IDF has played in their lives, they regard yeshiva is extremely vital. Rabbi Dov Halbertal argues that the issue is more complex-Orthodox fear that because the military is a “melting pot”, their young will become less and less Orthodox. They see the exemption from conscription as a means by which they can publicly guard their “ethnicity and identity”. Despite these fears, most ultra-Orthodox Jews “admire and venerate” the IDF and regard it as an important institution, an institution that is not an instrument of Zionist control, but a means of protection for Jews and their way of life. As secular Jews and politicians have become more frustrated with the law, and subsequently more adamant about the need for ultra-Orthodox to contribute man-power to the defense cause, the ultra’s have become even more stern about their opposition. What started as a concession to 400 ultra-Conservatives to revive the Jewish cause after many scholars were brutally murdered in the Holocaust under Hitler’s regime, became a mass of “unproductive”, rocking Jews, whose way of life has impeded economic and social progress for Israel, and more specifically, the expansion of the military. The Haredim subculture has become extremely controversial in their attitudes towards conscription, prompting many young Israelis to protest the law and the ultra’s simple, contradictory way of life. But until the ultra-Orthodox are not a vital side of the coin in coalition establishment, are no longer politically aligned with the powerful religious nationalists, and do not wield the power of prayer, the cause of the secularists seems unpromising at best.

References:
Goldman, Mordechai. “Ultra-Orthodox Oppose Conscription, Not the IDF – Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East.” Al-Monitor. N.p., 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 May 2016.
“Richard CLOWARD & Lloyd OHLIN.” Richard Cloward & Lloyd Ohlin. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

“The Paradox of Fear and Appreciation”, Mahmoud. Y, #4

Passover as Israeli Norm, #4, Leiss, C.

norms

Source: http://businessguruzone.com/?p=2493

Norms can be defined as socially constructed guidelines that shape what is expected or typical for certain groups and communities. Norms tend to dictate what is accepted within the society. They set expectations or rules for what can be done in society and influence how people in that society act or carry out their roles in order to meet the standards. They can shape anything from the way people order food at restaurants, to the way people celebrate, or the general feelings towards certain subjects or aspects in life people have. Because Israel has not established a separation of church and state, many of the norms we see have a link to Judaism, since Israel was a safe haven for Jews years ago. Many Jewish celebrations and holidays have become a very important part of the Israeli culture and have created many norms for the Jews in Israel.

For many Israeli Jews, Passover is a huge deal. The Jewish celebrate Passover to commemorate their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and celebrate their freedom as a nation (Bowman). Passover is seen as a norm in Israel, as it is the most celebrated Jewish holiday of the year, even secular and traditional Jews celebrate Passover. Yuval Avivi says in his article, “ The most recent survey of religion and tradition by the Central Bureau of Statistics, conducted in 2009, found that 88% of Israelis who define themselves as secular or traditional participate in a Passover Seder — a much higher number than any other Jewish custom, including lighting Sabbath candles or fasting on Yom Kippur” (Avivi). This further shows us how widely celebrated Passover is for the secular and traditionalists. Avivi goes on to say that in a new study, 94% of respondents say they will hold a Passover Seder, emphasizing that Israeli’s adore the Seder, as they love big family meals and we can see that Passover Seder is a huge norm for Israeli’s in general. Avivi also points out, “There is another reason for the centrality of Passover. ’It suits the ideal type of the industrial age holiday,’ says Shoham. ‘Passover upholds the four orientations: family, children, consumerism and ethnic identity.’ The last orientation is expressed in the keeping of some traditional rites, top among them refraining from eating hametz (leavened foods that are forbidden by Jewish law during the Passover week) in public and reading the Haggadah” (Avivi). Through this quote we can see that Passover combines family, children, consumerism, and ethnic identity. Because of this, Passover has easily become deeply linked to many people and can be seen as a norm in the Israeli culture and Jewish communities.

References:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/04/passover-seder-traditons-iran-djerba-secular-israelis.html

Bowman, John. The Gospel of Mark: The New Christian Jewish Passover Haggadah. Vol. 8. Brill Archive, 1965.

 

Passover as Israeli Norm, #4, Leiss, C.

ISRAELI EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR COERCION, #4, CANOVAS. M.J.

Captura de pantalla 2016-05-02 a la(s) 15.33.54

According to Max Weber, a German sociologist, philosopher, and social researcher, the concept of power can be defined as “the ability of an individual or a group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realizing them” (Brennan). This definition of power provided by Weber has remained to this day the starting point of their research for sociologists and anthropologists. Besides, Weber affirms that individuals can find two types of power: first, the authoritative power; then, the coercive power. The former (the authoritative power) consists on exercising a given power by using all legitimate means, whereas the latter (the coercive power) exists when someone exercises power through force. Further, the authoritative power can manifest itself in two main different forms: in the form of a charismatic authority with the personal qualities to influence a person or a group; or, in the form of a traditional authority whose power derives from customs and heritage. Furthermore, Weber also introduces a really pluralistic notion in his vision of power. He understands power as the chance that all men have “to realize their own will in communal action, even against the resistance of others” (Wallimann). Also, he asserts that the basis from which such power can be exercised may vary depending on the social context, historical, and structural circumstances. Finally, Weber concludes that men do not usually strive only for power, as “very frequently the striving for power is also conditioned by the social honor it entails” (Wallimann).

Regarding now this concept of power in the state of Israel, it can be stated that problems appear from the very beginning, as the government tries to achieve its religious goals by influencing Israeli children´s education. And, the practical lessons that all Israeli children—ultra-Orthodox, national-religious, and secular—receive from the Israeli education system are: first, the Jewish people has been the victim of persecution since time immemorial; the land of Israel was given to the people of Israel along with the Torah; and, God chose us out of all the nations. However, the problem of Israeli education becomes even more serious when the Ministry of Education falls in the hands of a religious politician from the radical right who builds his political power on nationalist and fundamentalist sentiments. Moreover, the main topic in the lower grade of education in Israel will be “the attachment of the people and the land” (Eldar)—students will learn about the Jewish prayer book and educators will emphasize the facts, marking the destruction of the Jerusalem temples. As a result, Israeli students will receive a lack of academic training on core subjects, such as for example mathematics, English or sciences. In conclusion, it can be asserted that the Israeli government is using its authoritative power and education in order to achieve its religious and political goals, and to indoctrinate the Israeli population in its religious beliefs.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brennan, Catherine. “Max Weber on Power and Social Stratification: an Interpretation and Critique.” Aldershot. Ashgate, 1997. Print.

Eldar, Akiva. “How Education Became an Israeli Political Tool.” Al-Monitor. Al-Monitor, 28 Apr. 2016. Web. 29 April 2016.

Wallimann, Isidor. “On Marx´s Weber Definition of Power.” Journal of Sociology (1977) vol. 13: 231-235. Print.

IMAGE SOURCE

“Ministry of Education.” Jerusalem Shots. Jerusalem Photo Archive, 11 Aug. 2005. Web. 1 April 2016.

ISRAELI EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR COERCION, #4, CANOVAS. M.J.

#4 Power and Education in Israel by Umelloh O.

In Foucault’s definition of power, as stated in http://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/foucault-power-is-everywhere/ , power is everywhere and is related to knowledge or ‘regimes of truth’ that individuals chose to accept. Because knowledge changes as societies evolve, power must also be fluid and shift between parties based on the accepted regimes of truth for that time. For example, when the common knowledge in society is that the king or ruler of that society knows what is best for society than the ruler of that society has a lot of power because the regime of truth is that he knows what he is talking about and is best fit to lead the people. However, when the regime of truth changes and the common people begin to think that the ruler does not know what he is talking about or that the common people are just as capable of ruling themselves as the ruler is then the power transfers from the king to the people because the regime of truth has shifted towards the people’s favor.

In Israel, the Ultra-Religious are trying to maintain their power and secure their power in the future by shaping the regimes of truth taught in schools. That is why according to Al Monitor’s How Education Became an Israeli Political Tool, Akiva Eldar points out that “95% of the budget allocated to support Jewish culture” in Israel goes towards funding Orthodox Jewish Education, leaving very little funding for other secular schools. Even then, according to this article, the Ministry of Education is being forced to include Zionist teachings into secular schools as well. The goal of increasing focus on religious education is to breed these students to become future voters that would support the agendas of the Ultra-Religious parties in the future so they can secure a monopoly over their power in the long term. Through this, the Ultra-Religious group is trying to shape the regime of truth that children learn so that they can give the Ultra-Religious party more power in the future. Eldar resents the way the government is breeding a generation to support the Ultra-Religious party because in the process of doing this they are focusing less on learning hard skills that they need to know to become professionals in society such as math, English and science. By focusing only on Zionist teachings in schools, Eldar is afraid that the next generation will not be productive or contribute to society and that the government will have an increasing amount of Haredi people to support without the economic means to support them.

“Current Student Projects.” :: Sustainability Studies Program. Univesity of New Mexico, n.d. Web. 02 May 2016. <https://sust.unm.edu/sustainability-on-campus/student-projects.html&gt;.

Eldar, Akiva. “How Education Became an Israeli Political Tool – Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East.” Al-Monitor. N.p., 28 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 May 2016. <http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/04/naftali-bennett-public-education-system-judaism-orthodox-1.html&gt;.

Gaventa, Jonathan. “Foucault: Power Is Everywhere.” Understanding Power for Social Change Powercubenet IDS at Sussex University Foucault Power Is Everywhere Comments. Wildheart Media, 2003. Web. 02 May 2016. <http://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/foucault-power-is-everywhere/&gt;.

#4 Power and Education in Israel by Umelloh O.