Displaced At Home

Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel

  • Author: A Group of Authors
  • Translator: Sulafa Hijawi
  • Editor: Rawda Kana'ane and Izis Nassir
  • Number of Pages: 368
  • ISBN: 977-9950-00-002-5
  • Date of update: Thursday, 07 May 2015
  • Price: $0.00

Ramallah: the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) published a book titled “Stranger at home”, it focuses on Palestinian women’s reality in Israel and presents in-depth readings for its complexities and entanglements with the issue of ethnicity. Edited by Rawda Kana'ane and Izis Nassir, the book contains 368 pages.

The book offers a reading in the lives of the Palestinians who remained in their homeland after the creation of Israel, presented by a new and remarkable generation of Palestinian academic women and citizens of Israel who have different experiences than those who have been displaced. The researchers focused their attention on the conditions experienced by the national group members: social dynamics, policies, its history and culture.

The most important innovation of this book is, the brilliant and focused research on the lives of women and their voices, as well as gender issues of the Palestinians in Israel. The book raises questions regarding women's recollections on the past political eras, political loyalty, forms of current electoral practices, as well as their opinions in love, marriage, housing, and their attitudes towards sexuality, experiences with their bodies, and finally their educational and professional ambitions.

The research in this book reveals a wide variety of political and cultural resistance forms for example, it tracked down the legal maneuvers in the late fifties and early sixties that was carried out by men in the pursuit of a political movement guided by Arab nationalism, and was subjected to censorship and repression, all the way to analyzing rap music created by young intellects of mixed Palestinian towns and villages in Israel.

The book also discloses the plurality of internal divisions, and the impossibility of retrieving easy generalizations, particularly with the compliance resulting from economic oppression, sometimes colored with illusions, an example is what happens to Bedouins who join the Israeli army, motivated to help their families and to claim their rights as citizens, they find themselves at the end, part of an extensive process that is aimed at deepening ethnic divisions in the interests of the state.

whereas some research in this book contest the dominant image of women presented by the West and Israel, particularly when it reveals women’s participation in agricultural work before Nakba, and the flexible boundaries between the public and private spheres; or when it shows the extent of differences between women groups in their understanding of themselves, their experiences, their potentials and aspiration to engage in the public sphere. Other research, defies the traditional Palestinian attitudes towards women, as it shows how the Israeli military regime reinforces a firmer control of the families over women's bodies, and how it destabilizes the indefinite loyalty of women to the family of the husband, and when it refers to the likelihood of alienation.

Co-authors are: Lilian Abu Altabikh, Leila Abu logod, Lena Dlashah, Amal Aqaiq, Hunaida Ghanem, Ibtisam Ibrahim, Fatima Qassem, Lina Miari, Areej Sabbagh - Khoury, Manal Shalabi, Tagreed Yahya Younis.

A statement in the introduction of the book:
“the dominant Israeli social sciences models concerned with the Palestinians within the "Green Line" tend to obscure the political context by describing the Palestinians as an ethnic minority, insisting not to recognize them as indigenous people; different than those models, researchers in this book present a critical look at the inequality before the law, the charged history, as well as the discriminatory practices of the Israeli state, and its’ implications for the Arab "citizens". The researchers are acutely aware of the interactions of economic and political structures with local structures that constitute family and civil constructions, all of which throw unusual burdens on the shoulders of women and girls”.

The researchers do not deny the consequences of this situation - whether in the practice of violence against women or in the restriction of their movements, freedom in their personal lives and education - but they do not blame the "culture" or "tradition" either. They admit that the Jewish society in Israel provide a model of modernity, it also provides some new opportunities for learning and independence, but at the same time it reproduces the conditions in which women are under expected pressures, that place them in the forefront of defending the particularity of the patriarchal family and other civil frameworks.

The most exciting articles in this book may be those who question for granted phenomena, practiced in the everyday life and political activity. The audacity of the intellectual is vibrant here and do not care about social risks enclosed.

Sunday, June 13, 2021


The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) is an independent research centre specialising in Israeli affairs, based in Ramallah, Palestine. MADAR was established in 2000 by a group of Palestinian intellectuals and academics, including the late poet Mahmoud Darwish, Dr. Lily Feidy, Dr. Ali Jarbawi, Dr. Ahmad Harb, Mr. Walid Al-Ahmad and Mr. Akram Haniyyeh. The centre was registered as a not-for-profit organisation with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, and obtained a research centre’s operational licensing from the Palestinian Ministry of Information.