Intersections in Palestinian Educated Mother's Lives in Israel

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Marietta Blau Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Tal MELER, Zefat Academic College, Israel
Palestinian society in Israel is currently undergoing contradictory processes of secularism and religious reinforcement, rising education and employment rates, and at the same time rising unemployment and poverty rates, processes of convergence alongside processes of migration, and an encounter with the secular parts of Jewish society in Israel.

Despite changes, researchers claim that the ideal Palestinian-Israeli family is still an extended patrilineal and patrilocal family. Since lifestyle and future are embedded within systems of familial authority and relations, individuals tend to meet accepted behavioral norms. Relationships typically require individuals to suppress personal needs and prioritize the family collective. The social and extended family contexts permeate virtually every aspect of life, leaving the nuclear family unit without autonomy.

In this lecture I shall focus on educated Muslim mothers living in rural localities. The women are educated and work in jobs with a sustaining income but at the same time this strength functions as a blocking mechanism against radical change, and preserves the existing gendered order. In the lecture I will throw light on their family relations, their gender relations and their involvement in the decision-making processes in their families and on their ambitions.

This paper based on a qualitative study I conducted with Palestinian-Israeli mothers, based on a feminist worldview and using intersectional-analysis.

The paper emphasize the ways they remain trapped and torn between a secular society and secular media, that preaches every person’s right to fulfill their life, and community life that annihilates their right to shape their nuclear family and their personal aspirations. And it illustrates the contradictory trends taking place in Muslim society; conservative trends alongside trends of renewal and empowerment.

This study can contribute to ethnographic thinking on Muslim women experience living as a minority in western societies.