This article explores how gender in part shapes the contours of small worlds or ‘elsewheres’ (Haraway 1992), constructed by Jewish Israelis as they pursue ‘ordinary lives’ in a context of conflict and sustained political violence. Situating as central the experiences, perceptions and behaviours of the dominant sector in Jewish Israeli society—middle-class Ashkenazi Jews living in Israel’s urban centres—the article appraises the work done by the production and maintenance of dual worlds, what lies at stake in their loss and their implications for political change. By building upon the work of feminist and queer theorists who consider the centrality of intimacy to politics, here relational ties binding communities of varying size and composition emerge as more important than the material trappings of newly created worlds. Drawing on the narratives of Jewish Israeli women and men living in West Jerusalem and its suburbs, this article demonstrates how gender intersects with geopolitical location, social class, religion, race and ideology to create intimate spheres whose maintenance ultimately becomes bound up in stasis.

Author Biography

Katherine Natanel is a Ph.D. candidate and Senior Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London.