Re-thinking the family in Israel: Individualization, Gender, Religion, and Human Rights

Family   |   individual   |   person   |   marriage   |   fertility   |   parenthood
Years of Activity: 2011 - 2019

Research Status:


Dr. Keren Avhar, Dr. Eva Appelman, Dr. Gadi Ben-Ezer, Dr. Laliv Cohen-Iisraeli, Ari Engelberg, Prof. Sylvie Fogiel-Bijaoui, Dr. Ahmad Hleihel, Dr. Dafna Halperin, Dr. Anat Herbst, Dr. Shelly Kreiczer-Levy, Dr. Mili Mass, Dr. Yoav Mazeh, Dr. Tal Meler, Ofra Or, Dr. Reina Rutlinger-Reiner, Dr. Sima Zalcberg, Dr. Rina Shachar, Dr. Hila Shamir, Hadas Tagari, Dr.Zvi Triger

Individualization – a process that puts the individual at the center of the family – is one of the processes that are changing the institution of the family beyond recognition. Family frameworks whose roles and legitimate boundaries were established in the past so that they served the interests of society and ensured its biological and cultural continuity, are becoming frameworks in which the individual – with all of the individual’s needs and desires, commitments, and obligations – is in the center. At the same time, thanks to ethical and political changes and the achievements of medical technology, for the first time in human history an individual can separate marriage, fertility, parenthood, and establishing a household, to the extent that the sociocultural climate allows that. Consequently, the phenomenon of singleness is taking hold, and new family frameworks are forming that are receiving partial or full legitimation. These include single-parent families, same-sex families, cohabiting families, and transnational families. Such families, known in the literature as “the new families,” exist alongside nuclear families (the normative modern families) and more traditional family frameworks, such as the extended family – multigenerational, monogamous or polygamous, families whose members live under one roof.
A similar process is taking place in Israel, but unlike the situation in other postindustrial countries and in less technologically developed countries, in Israel the family has remained the center of the individual’s and the collective’s life, and family life based on gender inequality continues to be a key characteristic of all sectors of Israeli society.
This research group is mapping the process under way in Israel, so as to broaden and enrich the existing body of knowledge. It aims to enhance the academic and public discussion of the family and to clarify the connection between the process of individualization of the institution of the family in Israel and such issues as gender, nationalism, religion, culture, and human rights.