An Ethnography of Multi-religious Families in Israel

By: Alice Gaya  

Mixed Jewish-Arab couples and mixed families living in Israel constitute social phenomena that have never been thoroughly researched up to now. The study I wish to present engages mixed marriages between Jews and Muslim or Christian Arabs living in Israel. Such marriages are a rare exception in our region and tend to be socially illegitamized by both socities. The study asks what are the living realities that such unions craft for the mixed family? From these broad question, a number of secondary questions arise: How are these relationships formed? What mechanisms make it possible to create such a relationship? What characterizes these relationships? How do the couples choose to raise their children in terms of the main spoken language at home, education, place of residence, religious practices and more. With what identity do the children grow up? Do they feel Palestinian, Israelis or have a mixed identity? What kind of relationship exists in the daily life between the mixed families and their extended families? Does the tension and hostility between the larger social groups seep into the marital relationship and if so, in what ways? In this lecture, I will discuss the nature of the phenomenon, its scope, the way it is perceived by both spouses on all levels: the nuclear family, the extended one , the community and the state.

Religion, Multi-religious, Families, Hybrid, Community, State, Conflict, Peace
Religious Community and Socialization
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alice Gaya

PhD Candidate, Social Studies Unit, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel