No policies and no politics: Israeli teachers, asylum seeker pupils, and remobilized strategies of avoidance and depoliticization

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Abstract

Israeli teachers who teach Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seeking children find themselves struggling to accommodate these children against the background of a polarized environment. The strategies teachers employ to cope with this tension are shaped by the broader socio-political context and the hostilities directed toward African asylum seekers in Israel. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 22 teachers in different schools in Israel, we observed that in the absence of any official educational policy for the integration, teachers employ strategies of avoidance and de-politicization of asylum seeking. We argue that when it comes to the controversies around asylum seekers, Israeli teachers adopt strategies that are similar to the ways they have coped with the long-term Israel-Palestinian conflict. Based on this observation, the paper suggests the local socio-political context is crucial in understanding teachers’ attitudes, practices and responses towards asylum-seekers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
Number of pages19
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Asylum seekers
  • Israel
  • depoliticization
  • policy in practice
  • teachers

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