Ethnic Frontiers and Peripheries: Landscapes of Development and Inequality in Israel

Ethnic Frontiers and Peripheries: Landscapes of Development and Inequality in Israel

Ethnic Frontiers and Peripheries: Landscapes of Development and Inequality in Israel

Ethnic Frontiers and Peripheries: Landscapes of Development and Inequality in Israel

Excerpt

The idea for editing this book originated during an international conference titled Regional Development: The Challenge of the Frontier, held in December 1993 at the Dead Sea and which was organized by, the Negev Center for Regional Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In this conference we noticed that little has been said about the impact of Israel's complex mosaic of ethnic groups on the shaping of the country's social and spatial frontiers. We have therefore endeavored to bring together a number of perspectives on the evolution of ethnic frontiers in Israel and the role they play in shaping the cultural landscape of this country. Yet we later realized that "frontier" is too limited a term, and that it may through various processes have turned into a mosaic of spatial, social, economic, and political peripheries. More specifically we attempted to present the process of frontier development as perceived by Israel's ethnic and national minorities. We therefore invited contributions from various other Israeli experts on these issues: geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists, which have now become the main body of chapters in this book. We trust that they are representative of the main dimensions of the subject.

The importance of these issues has been illustrated during recent turbulent times in which Israeli society has witnessed the initiation of a peace process with the Palestinians, the tragic events such as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, the difficulties in the implementation of the Oslo Peace agreements, and anti-Jewish terrorist attacks. These circumstances, combined with the results of Israel's 1996 elections in which ethnic parties have significantly increased their power, demonstrate that the drama of ethnic relations in this country continues to unfold. It is our hope that this volume will contribute to a more informed discussion on these relations and to a more tolerant and democratic Israel.

Oren Yiftachel and Avinoam Meir Department of Geography and Environmental Development and The Negev Center for Regional Development Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Beer-Sheva, Israel July, 1997 . . .

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