Department of Middle East Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
My life before BGU:
I was born and raised in Jerusalem. From the age of 5 or so I would go to HaPoel Jerusalem's games. I completed my schooling at the Denmark High school in Jerusalem. I studied for my bachelor's degree in Middle East Studies and political science at Tel Aviv University. I did my master's at SOAS University of London, in the School for Middle Eastern Studies and my Ph.D. at Cambridge University, in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. I then came to BGU for a post-doc, in the Department of Politics and Government and then the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center and at the Da'at Hamakom: Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World.
I investigate language-society interaction and the sociology of language, and more specifically, I work on the Arabic language and the place of Arabic in Israel over the last century. Through attitudes to the Arabic language, learning the language, use of the language, translation of Arabic literature and the formation of the discipline of Arabic language instruction, I analyze Jewish-Arab relations, the formation of ideologies and world-views in the Jewish society (including its attitude to the Middle East and Arabic culture), relations of power and social and political positions. In the wider Middle East context, I examine how research on the Arabic language (status, literature, translation) contributes to an understanding of deep political and social processes.
I already liked the University during my post-doc and became acquainted with the Department of Middle East Studies as an adjunct teacher, that's when I understood just how rare it was on the Israeli scene. I quickly understood that the most interesting, most critical, and most pioneering developments in the field of Middle East Studies are taking in the department at BGU. The subject of social history, on the one hand, and the central place role given to interdisciplinary research, on the other hand, enables much more research that is not focused just on history, but that is also cultural, social and political. That I am a faculty member in the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University feels as though I have won the lottery.
An insight from my research:
The field of Arabic studies in Israel has undergone a number of changes, since the establishment of the Institute for Eastern Sciences in 1926, there have been. But most of the changes are marginal. The heart of the field - which discipline became consolidated from a philological view on the one hand and political/ security needs on the other hand – almost didn't change. That is the Arabic teaching field mainly perpetuated itself, and one of the strange outcomes of this is that Arabs whose mother tongue and culture is Arabic, never took a significant role in the discussions on Arabic teaching.
"That I am a faculty member in the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University feels as though I have won the lottery"
Something that doesn't appear on my resume:
Together with some dear friends, including Yehuda Shenhav-Shaharbani and Salman Natour, I had the honor of establishing the "Maktoob" book series, the only series in the world dedicated to translating Arab literature into Hebrew. I have translated two novels from Arabic; "Au Revoir Akka" by Ala Hlehel and "Walking on Winds" by Salman Natour.
Another thing, I am a founding member of an Israeli group of fans of Norwich City (there are two other fans; we are still looking for more…).
A source of inspiration:
When I grow up:
I'm not sure…
If I was not a researcher, I would be involved with:
bringing about world peace
Maccabi or HaPoel? HaPoel. The referees are already with Maccabi.
IPhone or Android? Blackberry!
Winter or summer? Winter
Book or Movie? During these mad days, Israeli series on the Internet
Night or morning? Night
Beer or wine? Beer and wine
Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad? What's that?
An isolated cabin in nature or a pampering hotel in the city? Hotel
Dire Straits or Queen? Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam)
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