Palestinian Women and Politics in Israel

Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud

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"A stimulating study of Palestinian Israeli feminism as a significant segment of 'a trapped minority.' This is a profound exploration of Israel's failed attempt to re-tribalize its Arab community, manifested by the triumph of the gradual modernization of that society's females through the experiences of work, education, and politicization."--Ghada Hashem Talhami, Lake Forest College

Though equal rights protection is written into Israeli law, women are underrepresented in the political arena. This is especially true in the case of Palestinian women--only two in the entire sixty year history of Israel have been members of the Knesset.

Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud examines the various factors that have created this culture of political oppression. She relies on both feminist theory and theories of colonial domination as well as conclusions drawn from personal interviews with female activists. Utilizing Arabic, English, and Hebrew sources, she also makes careful distinctions between the lives and experiences of Christian, Muslim, Bedouin, and Druze women.

Daoud's focus remains squarely on the experiences of Palestinian women, however, and she demonstrates that the problem is not only due to the minority status of Palestinians. She reveals how they are further hampered by Arab cultural attitudes toward women and the overall political culture in Israel, which continues to privilege men over women even as it pays lip service to equality.

Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud, a Palestinian from Israel, is assistant professor in the department of politics and geography at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

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"This is a pioneering study which forces us to view the Palestinian gender issue in a completely new light. It is also a valuable work since it illuminates larger questions pertaining to the political transformation of the Israeli Arab minority. Daoud demonstrates a great deal of awareness of the undercurrents influencing this minority, as well as the relationship of this struggle to the wider subject of Third World feminism."
--Middle East Journal

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