2nd Annual Conference on Israel Studies - Israel between International Relations and Domestic Policies

Monday, 16 September 2013 (All day)
Russell Square: College Buildings, London

The 2nd Annual EAIS conference will start off with a reception on Sunday evening 15th September followed by a one day conference on Monday 16th September at SOAS and ULU, University of London.

Dana Rubin speaks on 'Haredi Settlers: The Non-Zionist Jewish Settlers of the West Bank'.

This paper examines Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Zionism aroused a strong opposition within religious Jewish communities since its early days as it went against Jewish theology and traditions. Ironically, today Haredi settler group is the fastest growing group within the West Bank settler population while also constituting part of the ruling majority of Israeli-Jews between the Jordan River and sea. It is therefore a central partaker in the colonisation of the West Bank. Yet, by not identifying with Zionism the Haredi settler group is a minority within the Israeli-Jewish society, embodying the longstanding unresolved contradictions between Judaism and Zionism. In order to try and tackle the internal workings of the colonial Zionist project I look at the dynamics that brought Haredi groups to the West Bank. I argue that the emergence of West Bank Haredi settlements has been strongly linked to the entry of neoliberalism into the Zionist settlement project in the last few decades. For example, the largest West Bank settler city today, Modin Illit, which constitutes an exclusively Haredi space, is also the first settler city entirely planned and constructed by private initiatives and entrepreneurs. While the formation of neoliberal Haredi settlements situated on the West Bank frontier serves to disposes Palestinians of their land, it also paradoxically contributes to the segregation of the Haredi from the Zionist State, bringing to the fore once again Zionism’s inherent tensions and contradictions.

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