WOMEN IN ISRAEL
Race, Gender and Citizenship
REVIEW BY B.H. YAEL
Nahla Abdo launched her recent book, Women in Israel: Race, Gender and Citizenship, at Beit Zaytoun in Toronto. As she said at the launch, "The juice of the book is in the details, and the details are in the book."
Not just a turn of phrase, this statement addresses Abdo's materialist approach to how she addresses very specific lived experiences of the two largest demographic groups of women in Israel: Palestinian and Mizrahi (Jews who originate from Arab lands, otherwise known as Arab Jews).
Abdo provides a historical analysis, noting that Palestinians associated their community "not as an imaginary construct called a people or a nation located outside of their historical materiality, but as an expression of their material connectedness to the land or territory called Palestine."
Though the focus is on these largest demographic blocks, Abdo acknowledges the plurality of women in Israel, which includes Druze, Bedouins, Christians and Muslims as well as Ethiopians, Russians and immigrant labourers, where Philippine and Romanian workers predominate. As such, the stratifications in Israel are marked and great, with Ashkenazi (European) Jewish women of course occupying the highest socio-economic strata of privilege and state support. …