Libmonster ID: SE-428

The XXIII International Conference of the Association for Israeli Studies (AIS) was held on June 11-13, 2007 at the Open University of Israel (Ra'anana). The Israel Studies Association was established in the United States in 1985 as a branch of the North American Association for Near East Studies (MESA) and brings together leading scholars and specialists in Israel and the Middle East, as well as numerous researchers in various fields of social sciences from the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Russia and other countries.

AIS supports the publication of scientific journals "Israel Studies Forum"and" Israel Studies". One of the main activities of the Association since its inception is the organization and holding of annual international conferences at universities in the USA, Canada and Israel, whose task is to comprehensively study the problems of Israeli society. The "geography" of forum participants is constantly expanding: scientists from Japan (University of Tokyo), Singapore (National University), as well as researchers from Greece, Norway, Belgium, Germany and other countries took part in the XXIII conference.

The main topic of the conference was devoted to the study of Israeli society in the context of Jewish immigration, its role and significance in the creation, formation and development of the State of Israel. At the same time, the thematic "palette" of the presented reports was much broader and more diverse, covering the most pressing problems of Israel's development: foreign and domestic policy issues; social and national problems; the role and significance of religion in the state; problems of Zionism, as well as prospects and difficulties in resolving Palestinian-Israeli relations; Israel and Arab countries in the context of the development of the situation in the Middle East.

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Over 380 scientists and specialists from different countries took part in more than 90 sections, round tables, and plenary sessions, as well as presentations of new scientific monographs and meetings with authors. Israeli Minister of Absorption Zeev Boym, members of the Knesset, and representatives of academic and public circles addressed the participants of the international forum with greetings.

The conference focused on the study of the problems of Jewish immigration in historical, social, demographic, ethnic, cultural and other aspects. The section "40 years of mass Jewish Immigration from the Soviet Union" was devoted to a retrospective review; during its work, Israeli experts presented reports, taking a new look at the issues under study.

The most interesting speeches, in our opinion, are: O. Eran "Soviet Jews as a factor in relations between the Soviet Union and the West", T. Friedgut "Myths and Reality of Jewish Immigration from the former Soviet Union", M. Maisel "The Impact of the Six-Day War on Soviet Jewry", B. Gur-Gurevich made a report on the struggle of Soviet Jews for their rights inside and outside the former USSR.

At the section "Between Eurasia and the Middle East: electoral behavior of Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel", the well-known American researcher Ts.Gitelman analyzed the reasons for the shift to the right of "Russian" voters in the elections to the Israeli parliament. The section was also attended by Israeli scientists: Z. Khanin described models of electoral behavior of Russian-speaking voters, A. Epstein revealed the problem of political leadership in the Russian-speaking environment; M. Schorer-Seltzer considered issues related to the electoral preferences of immigrants from the former USSR.

The section "Demographic issues" was devoted to a comprehensive study of the problems of demography, where a well-known Israeli researcher S. Della Pergola made a summary report on Israeli population policy. The section also discussed the following issues:: "Constitutional Rights, Immigration and Demography" (Ya. Ben-Shemesh, Israel), "Socio-economic status and demographic problems of the Jewish population "( B. S. Okun, Israel). Ya. Zilbershats (Israel) paid attention to the difficulties and peculiarities of adaptation of non-Jewish immigration in Israel.

In the section "Immigration from Muslim countries to Israel", American experts R. Ahroni and N. Druyan covered the history of Jewish immigration from Yemen and their current situation in Israel; R. Simon considered the problems of adaptation of Jews from Libya. E. Meir-Gleesenstein (Israel) analyzed the attitude of Israeli society towards immigrants from Iraq.

Several sections were united by a common theme - a study of the situation on the Israeli labor market in connection with the increasing flow of legal and illegal migration in recent years. S. S. Vilen (USA) traced the impact of labor migrants on the development of the socio-economic situation in the country and, as a result, the change in the social environment of large megacities. Israeli experts A. Kemp and N. Maron paid attention to the problem of deportation of illegal labor migrants. O. Sitbon (Israel) compared the activities of judicial instances in Israel and France in relation to labor migrants. American scientists S. Heilbran and N. Kushnirovich analyzed the difficulties and limitations that arise among various ethnic groups of immigrants in the Israeli labor market; I. Riss (Israel), using rich statistical material, emphasized the role of social support in the employment of Jews from North America in a number of regions of the country.

In the reports of the participants of the section "Immigration policy of Israel", a comparative analysis of the adaptation of various immigration groups was given: A. Sheren (USA) showed the differences and features of the absorption of Russian-speaking and Ethiopian immigrants on specific material; R. Alterman (Israel) presented a general description of mass immigration in the 1990s; I. Masyukova (Russia) made a presentation on summary report "Russian-speaking Israel in the XXI century". In recent years, there have been studies of a new phenomenon in the immigration process - transnational migration. H. I. Waxman (USA), T. Kritzman (USA) and I. Pupko (Israel) presented papers on this topic.

In the section "The second generation of immigrants in Israel and beyond", a well-known Israeli sociologist, Professor of Bar-Ilan University L. Remennik described the place and role of the new generation of Russian-speaking immigrants, their features and differences. About the spe-

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The problem of socio-economic adaptation of the second generation of immigrants was discussed in the reports of Israeli experts N. Elias, A. Kemp, and K. Amit (USA). Within the framework of this topic, A. Zelter-Zubiba (USA) made a report "Integration of the second generation of Jewish immigrants in New York", G. Spector-Bitman (Israel) addressed the problem of adaptation of the second generation of Jews from Latin American countries in Israel.

At the section "Dynamics of Immigration and emigration", the poorly studied issue of the absorption of Israeli emigrants to the United States was considered in the report of L. Levi-Ari (Israel); A. Hain (USA) analyzed the ideological motives of the immigration of American Jews to Israel; the sociological analysis of the positive and negative results of the adaptation of immigrants was summarized in the speech of M. Benish-Weissman (Israel).

The discussion of immigration issues from a historical perspective was continued in the section "Big Immigration Wave": A. Pauker (Israel) emphasized the role of Kibbutzim in the adaptation of immigrants; S. Schwartz (Israel) pointed out the importance of international health organizations in helping immigrants of the 1950s in Israel.

Several sections were devoted to the problems of Zionism, national identity, civil status and other issues. On the section "Zionism and Identity" A. Bar-Chaim (Israel) traced the creation of the Zionist organization and the activation of Zionist groups in the USSR in the 1920s in historical retrospect. T. Tsurumi (Japan) studied the development of the Zionist movement in the USSR and the reaction of the authorities. The topic of Jewish identity in the context of the socio-political problems of modern Israel was further developed in the report of Sh. Weinblum (Belgium). The issues of interrelation of national identity and culture were discussed in the speech of the President. Kesner (Israel). The audience's interest and heated discussions on the theory of the "melting pot" and the "state of all citizens" were aroused by the reports of Israeli scientists B. Mollov and Z. Yushchenko. Caliphone.

Relations between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel were discussed in the section "Jews and Palestinians - citizens of Israel" in the reports of Israeli experts M. Massalha, G. Levy, S. Smukh, N. Davidovich.

A separate topic of the conference is the sections devoted to tender research, the situation of immigrant women and their role in the process of creating a modern Israeli society. At the section "Israel and Immigration in the 1950s", Israeli scientists (who themselves witnessed and participated in many events of this period) made presentations. H. Nissim focused on the peculiarities of the status of women and the specifics of absorption in the 1950s; Y. Baumel-Schwartz noted the role of women soldiers in the Israeli army in 1950T. Tadmor-Shimoni spoke about female immigrant teachers in absorption centers. In a number of reports, the conference participants presented little-researched materials on the situation of immigrant women in mandatory Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. Safran (USA) discussed the topic of women's participation in the Zionist movement and various organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.Miron (Israel) shared her memories of the situation of Jewish immigrants from Germany who arrived in Palestine.

In the report, H. Mustigman (Israel) presented the historiography of the main studies on Zionism and Yishuv problems from 1948 to 2005.M. Shekar (USA) emphasized the importance of Israeli studies as one of the most relevant scientific directions in the study of the Middle East region.

The conference was organized in several areas, including plenary sessions and round tables devoted to the analysis of relations with Arab countries, the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the main priorities of Israel's foreign policy, and its place and role in the Middle East. These and other issues were raised in the reports of Israeli experts E. Gilboa "Israel's image and reputation in the world", Y. Peri "Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006". Reports on foreign policy were most fully presented in the section "Israel's Foreign Policy after the Israel-Hezbollah war". In the speeches of Israeli scientists Ya. Zisser "Israel's relations with Syria and Lebanon", U. Rabi "Israel's relations with Saudi Arabia", D. Menashri "Israel and Iran: the Ahmadinejad factor" and R. O. Friedman (USA) "Israel and the USA", the problems of strengthening Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Semitism were considered; Iran's nuclear policy; threats against Israel from Ahmadinejad and many others.

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At the section "The Jewish Question and the War for Survival" Sh. Sandler (Israel) sparked a discussion and exchange of views by headlined his speech with a rhetorical question: "Is there a Jewish foreign policy?" Among the reports on the section "The Arab-Israeli conflict: is there a solution?", it is interesting, in our opinion, the speech of U. Petrushesky (Israel), who studied the role of Russia as a mediator in the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A. Rubina, O. Rubina (both from the United States), and N. Aridan, a well-known Israeli historian and political scientist, touched upon the problem of contradictory relations between Israel and the Jewish diaspora in various countries.

Traditional presentations of published monographs, meetings with authors, discussions and discussions of submitted works, and exchange of opinions enriched the conference participants with new ideas and conclusions, expanding the horizons of their scientific search. During the discussion of the monograph "The Search for Peace and the crisis of Israeli identity", presented by an Israeli researcher, D. The discussion focused on the author's conclusion about the crisis of Israeli identity, which, in his opinion, underlies Israel's policy towards the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It is impossible not to mention the works devoted to the problems of adaptation of Russian-speaking Jews in Israel, Germany and the USA: the collection of articles "Creating a Diaspora: "Russian" Jews in Israel, Germany and America "edited by E. Ben-Raphael (Israel) and the monograph by L. Remennik ""Russian" Jews on Three Continents (identity, Integration, conflict)". Its author, a Doctor of sociology, as an immigrant from the former USSR, collected unique material and contributed to the research of the role and significance of Russian-speaking immigrants in Israeli society in the XXI century.

In conclusion, paying tribute to the organizers of the conference, it should be emphasized that the success of its holding was largely promoted by the leadership of the Open University of Israel - one of the most modern educational institutions in the country with the latest classrooms, libraries, a cinema hall, with spacious rooms where new books, information stands, thematic and art expositions were presented. A friendly and hospitable atmosphere prevailed throughout the entire work of the scientific forum, allowing us to establish an exchange of views and expand scientific ties and contacts.

Summing up, I would like to note that international conferences under the auspices of the Association for Israeli Studies make a significant contribution to the development of modern Israeli studies, expand the foundation for subsequent scientific works, giving them a new impetus and attracting an increasing number of scientists from different countries.


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