Motherhood as a national mission: The construction of womanhood in the legal discourse in Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper looks at the notion of womanhood that emerged from the discourse around two laws passed in the first years of the State of Israel: the 1949 "Defense Service Law" and the 1951 "Women's Equal Rights Law." Law is conceived of as "producing" the cultural meaning of "women" as a social category and defining its relations to the state. My main argument is that in this discourse, the Jewish-Israeli woman is constructed first and foremost as a mother and a wife, and not as an individual or a citizen. The construction of a distinct category of women that emphasizes women's difference takes place within an ideological context of the self-conscious myth of gender-equality. Motherhood is defined as a public role that carries national significance. And it is via this notion of "motherhood as a national mission" that women are incorporated into the state and not through the universal characteristics of citizenship. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, coupled with the central role that the family and the military play within the Israeli culture and society are the major determinants of this specific definition of Jewish-Israeli women's citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-619
Number of pages15
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume20
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Motherhood as a national mission: The construction of womanhood in the legal discourse in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this