Return to Religion amongst Educated Arab Women
The presentation will describe a qualitative study with young educated Arab women. We conducted in-depth interviews with ten young educated Arab women about their daily life in the context of the Islam religion, who left their homes, families and settlement framework to study at an Israeli academic Jewish institution, usually far from home. All the women grew up in traditional conservative homes typical of Arab Palestinian patriarchal society.
After successfully integrating in their academic careers in Israeli society, some of these women chose to become more serious in their religious observance, and, after deserting modern dress, emphasized religious Muslim identity manifested in traditional religious dress and more intense religious practice. The spiritual change and feeling of tranquility they enjoyed following their return to religion made it easier for them to cope with the difficulties they encountered in their surroundings.
Some of the women shared the deep and renewed essence of religion in their personal and family lives. They maintained that religion and traditional dress protected them from the negative attitude and harassment they faced as tempting sexual objects. Some of the women have not yet donned a head covering despite their religious strengthening due to consideration of the implications of this step in their careers, and how this would be seen by the Jewish bosses. Similarly, religious dress would make it hard for them to go through the military barriers. Social pressure also afforded a catalyst for returning to religion and for emphasizing religious Muslim identity.
Keywords: Return to Religion, Arab Women, Arabic Society, Islamic Religion
Dr. Khansaa Diab
Head of Practitioner Guidance, Management, The David Yellin College of Education
Lecturer, Special Education