A Critical Assessment of Research on Gender in the Israeli Rural Sector
The purpose of this essay is to provide a critical review of research that has documented the place of women in the rural sector in Israel. The analysis progresses from the more general, national level to the more specific rural sector, and finally to micro-level studies carried out in rural communities. The essay distinguishes between the Jewish rural sector and the non-Jewish rural sector in Israel. In the Jewish rural sector, the discussion will focus on research carried out on the two forms of rural cooperative communities, the kibbutz and the moshav. These have been the main rural settings where most Jewish agricultural production was carried out. However, the rapidly decreasing weight of agriculture in the Israeli economy, especially after the mid-1980s’ financial and ideological crisis in the cooperative settlement movement has dramatically changed the cooperative nature of these rural settings in Israel. The non-Jewish rural sector includes established Arab villages and newly built semi-rural Bedouin communities. What is the position of women within these diverse rural settings and how has it been recorded in official and academic research?