Identity Representations Minorities in Israel A symposium. Social Representations The Israeli local social focus and its contributions to the development of SR theory: An introduction to a symposium.
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Minorities in Israel
At the elementary school
Our main concept is Identity and multi-identity representations. Identities are defined here as the collective representations of a society regarding its positioning relatively to other societies. Hence, Identities and especially those of a minority group, are often in conflict reflecting the group’s conflicting relationships with other sections of a society.
The identity conflicts are described from both the participants’ and the observers’ frame of references. The main message is that societal identity conflicts as defined by an observer may be distinctively defined by societal participants; and that this subjective definition is part of one’s political agenda.
The items for the identity Questionnaire were drawn from 45 independent Interviews with 15 families including a mother a father and 16 to 17 son or daughter. The questions were “What are the values and kind of life you would wish for your children?”. Children where asked about the values and kind of life their parents wished them to have.
The ideas spelled out in the interviews were combined into a preliminary Questionnaire. The questionnaire reliability and validation procedures were conducted in a pilot study on independent sample of participants.
The final 36-item Likert-style questionnaire was Administered to a representative sample of 435 families (N=1305).
The data was analyzed by a number of parametric and non-parametric procedures resulting with similar three factors (regions).
The following items are experts from the first largest region.
“As a religious person, I believe that the Torah contains everything. We live in a modern world, so a translation is needed. That's not my role it’s the role of Rabbis”
“On the one hand we are trying to raise our youth with openness towards the non religious people, but this openness causes negative influence”.
"Our world is too open. The fact that we do not seclude ourselves from the secular surroundings, spoil one's soul. It applies to me too; when I see things that distract me I sense that something is wrong“
I live in the settlement because that is my religious faith, not because Herzl named it Zionism
Identity of conflict
It is important for me that my children meet with non-religious Israelis, because they are committed to values just like us.”
"For better or worth we are a part of the Israeli society, therefore its norms are our norms as well."
"If my son decides not to join the army, I would consider it as a failure in his upbringing".
"I feel that I have had it enough, I do not wish to be in the middle of public controversies, I am tired of it”.
“One thing that worries me is that our children do not have the opportunity to sense the experience of togetherness with non religious Israelis. They do not know what it means to be a secular Israeli. When we were children, we did have this kind of experience.”
“The fact that we demonstrate against the state authorities, is perceived by our children, quite often, as a permission to act as they wish. As if we are beyond thelaw.”
The negative correlation between the religious-settlers and Israeli solidarity identities indicated a conflict between the two as defined by an observer.
The findings indicated also two conflicts as sensed by members of the religious-settlers society :
But what about the conflict with the Palestinians?
And what about the historical conflict with the Orthodox Jewry?
It was totally ignored by our parents when they told us what they wanted to transmit to their children
In order to get a deeper understanding of the political
meaning of social conflicts one needs to consider the representations of the conflicts from both external and internal frame of references.
With such a perspective in mind, we sadly conclude that the family story we began with, ends with the victory of the religious-settlers identity over that which includes Israeli non-religious solidarity. Most members of this group identify with Bilha’s brother and not with her, or her parents.
They Observe the relationships with non-religious Israelis, as threatening their own identity, they ignore their incompatibility with the Orthodox Jewry, and deny the conflict with Palestinians and do not see it as meaningful in the heritage of their children.