Israeli Fem­i­nist Schol­ar­ship: Gen­der, Zion­ism, and Difference

Esther Fuchs
  • Review
By – July 1, 2015

Israeli Fem­i­nist Schol­ar­ship pro­vides an excel­lent and wide-rang­ing intro­duc­tion to major aspects of fem­i­nism and inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty from the per­spec­tives of fif­teen authors who have ana­lyzed a num­ber of sec­tors in Israeli soci­ety. Fuchs’s selec­tions for this anthol­o­gy cov­er the top­ics one usu­al­ly finds in analy­ses about women’s expe­ri­ences— for exam­ple, women’s expe­ri­ences in the work­place and in the home, and also the chal­lenges faced by women of col­or and les­bians in par­tic­i­pat­ing in fem­i­nist dia­logue and advo­ca­cy— but with insights that are like­ly unfa­mil­iar to those liv­ing out­side of Israel. Unique­ly Israeli, this book cov­ers the his­toric and cur­rent (in)equalities in Israeli soci­ety as expe­ri­enced by women in the ear­ly his­to­ry of the State of Israel, in the Israeli mil­i­tary, on the kib­butz, as Holo­caust sur­vivors, and as a result of the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est are the chap­ters about the expe­ri­ences of Mizrahi women in Israel, which pro­vide insight about race and class that will be at once dif­fer­ent and famil­iar to those read­ers acquaint­ed with the field of women’s and gen­der stud­ies around the world.

Fuchs has curat­ed the selec­tion well. The book pro­gress­es nat­u­ral­ly, offer­ing a strong foun­da­tion in fem­i­nist the­o­ry and then mov­ing from famil­iar issues to the more com­pli­cat­ed dis­course of inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty. Many of the book chap­ters and arti­cles mak­ing up this anthol­o­gy were writ­ten in the 1990s and ear­ly 2000s; only a hand­ful were writ­ten in the last ten years. That said, the arti­cles remain impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the field, and read­ers will ben­e­fit from estab­lish­ing aware­ness and knowl­edge of the key points in Israeli fem­i­nist schol­ar­ship before seek­ing out the lat­est research.

This book is appro­pri­ate for any­one inter­est­ed in aca­d­e­m­ic approach­es to fem­i­nism and inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty from Israeli per­spec­tives. The chap­ters pre­sume some knowl­edge of fem­i­nist the­o­ry and the his­to­ry of the devel­op­ment of fem­i­nism, gen­der stud­ies, and fem­i­nist advo­ca­cy, but it is not nec­es­sary to have pre­vi­ous under­stand­ing of these top­ics in order to learn from the analy­ses pre­sent­ed in the book. Over­all, this is a reli­able yet inspir­ing resource, one that will be use­ful for the next gen­er­a­tion of fem­i­nist schol­ars. Acknowl­edg­ments, con­trib­u­tors, index, preface.

Relat­ed Content:

Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

Discussion Questions