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"Israeli Women in Combat: A Gendered Analysis"


On April 13, the Y&S Nazarian Center hosted a webinar titled "Israeli Women in Combat: A Gendered Analysis" with Israeli political scientist Ayelet Harel-Shalev. She is co-author of Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies: A Gendered Analysis of Women in Combat (Oxford University Press, 2020). The webinar featured Harel-Shalev's presentation followed by conversation with Professor Dov Waxman, director of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

About the Book

Drawing on interviews with 100 women military veterans about their experiences in combat, this book asks what insights are gained when we take women's experiences in war as our starting point instead of treating them as "add-ons" to more fundamental or mainstream levels of analysis, and what importance these experiences hold for an analysis of violence, trauma, and for security studies. Harel-Shalev and co-author Shir Daphna-Tekoah introduce a new theoretical framework in critical security studies for understanding the integration of women soldiers into combat and combat-support roles, as well as the challenges they face. The book provides different perspectives about why it is important to explore women in combat, what their experiences teach us, and how to consider soldiers and veterans both as citizens and as violent state actors- an issue with which scholars are often reluctant to engage.

While the book explores the voices and silences of women who served in combat roles in the Israel Defense Forces, the analysis extends beyond the Israeli case to provide important insights into the larger issues of the links between gender, war, trauma, and politics.

Webinar originally recorded April 13, 2020.


About the Speaker

Ayelet Harel-Shalev is Associate Professor at the Conflict Management and Resolution Program and the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel. Harel-Shalev is also a research fellow at the I-Core Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters. In addition to Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies: A Gendered Analysis of Women in Combat (Oxford University Press, 2020), she is the author of The Challenge of Sustaining Democracy in Deeply Divided Societies: Citizenship, Rights, and Ethnic Conflicts in India and Israel (Lanham: Lexington Press, 2010) which won the Israeli Political Science Association's prize for Best Book of 2010, and was also reprinted, with a new introduction, in 2013 (Cambridge University Press India and Foundation Books).