This JewFem blog focuses on feminist issues in Jewish life. It tackles Jewish education, synagogue life, Israel, Jewish community, bits of pop culture, and more. This blog is written by Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman, writer, educator, and researcher, contributing writer at the Forward Sisterhood, author of the book, “The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World”.
Tzipi Livni, the incumbent Kadima chair who lost Tuesday’s party primary to former Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, is not your typical Israeli politician. She’s just not slimy enough. When she speaks, she seems to be telling you what she actually believes. In a profile of her in Yediot Aharonot last year, the worst thing people said about her was that she wasn’t friendly enough and sometimes closed her door so as not to be interrupted. So either she is too aloof or too protective of her privacy. Either way, she didn’t play the game right. Actually, that’s probably why she lost. She does not have the callousness required to win in Israeli politics.
Shaul Mofaz, on the other hand, we have a glut of guys like him in Israeli politics — men who think that they have everything coming to them because they know how to lead troops to war. What this has to do with actually running an actual country eludes me, unless you count the demands for an inflated ego and a big car, which seem to be common to both jobs.
The overabundance of generals leading our fragile nation explains a lot about the situation we are in vis à vis our neighbors as well as vis à vis ourselves: Everything is viewed as a war.
Whether talking about security, environmental issues or social justice, the general — or former general — always sees the other person as an adversary to be out-maneuvered, out-manipulated and ultimately beaten. It explains why despite months of intense and broadly supported social justice protests, little has changed. In fact, electricity prices went up 26% in the past 12 months.
Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman is a leading writer on issues of feminism, Judaism, Orthodoxy and education. Elana holds a doctorate in education and sociology from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and wrote her dissertation on the identity development of adolescent religious girls in schools. She then went on to do post-doctoral research, thanks to a grant from the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, on the "other" side of the mechitza, i.e., on identities of Orthodox men.
The Men's Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World investigates a fascinating new sociological phenomenon: Orthodox Jewish men who connect themselves to egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian religious enterprises. Sztokman interrogates the ideologies and motivations of more than fifty such men in the United States, Israel, and Australia.
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