chapter  5
20 Pages

How is a Mixed Town to be Administered? Haifa’s Municipal Council, 1940–1947

This chapter focuses on the experience of educated Palestinian women in mixed towns in Israel. It also argues that mixed towns, particularly more metropolitan ones like Haifa and Jaffa, while obviously featuring some major disadvantages for Palestinian residents, nevertheless offer a space of choice for many Palestinian women. The majority of the studies dealing with mixed cities in Israel focus on interethnic relations and the impact of national identity on power relations and public equality, even in places where interaction does take place between Jews and Palestinians. Studies of women in the urban context suggest that compared with rural life and suburban domesticity, urban life, has enhanced the emancipation of women in Western societies. Palestinian women live in a racist, gender-based society marked by ongoing inequality and an asymmetrical balance of power. For women, living in a mixed town is, first and foremost, a choice. While the reasons given for this choice vary, the feeling of self empowerment is common.