Between Universal Feminism and Particular Nationalism: Politics, Religion and Gender (In)Equality in Israel


Halperin-Kaddari, Ruth, and Yaacov Yadgar. 2010. “Between Universal Feminism and Particular Nationalism: Politics, Religion and Gender (In)Equality in Israel.” Third World Quarterly 31 (6): 905-20. doi:10.1080/01436597.2010.502721.

Authors: Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Yaacov Yadgar


This article argues that one of the many ‘idiosyncrasies’ of the Israeli case, namely Israel’s continuing, violent conflict with its Arab neighbours, is of highly influential relevance to the issue of gender relations. Viewed by many Israeli Jews as a struggle for the very existence of the Jewish state, the Arab–Israeli conflict has overshadowed most other civil and social issues, rendering them ‘secondary’ to the primary concern of securing the safe existence of the state. This has pushed such pressing issues as gender equality and women’s rights aside, thus allowing for the perpetuation of discriminatory, sometimes rather repressive treatment of women in Israel. The most blatant expression of this is the turning of the struggle for civil marriage and divorce into a non-issue. Following a short introduction of the relevant political context, we discuss women’s positivist and legal status, then conclude with an analysis of the women’s movement, highlighting the emergence of religious feminism.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Nationalism, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2010

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