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Accepted Paper:

Security, Agriculture and Education: The renaissance of civilian militarism in Israel's periphery  

Authors:

Nir Gazit (Ruppin Academic Center)
Erella Grassiani (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

The Israeli organization HaShomer HaChadash fills a security gap in Israel's periphery. It combines its main mission of securing farms with educational activities. We argue that the combination between security and education is a renaissance of Israeli civilian militarism in the state's margins.

Paper long abstract:

The Israeli social organization HaShomer HaChadash (New Guard) attempts to fill a security gap in Israel's periphery by tackling the continuous threat of what it frames as 'agricultural terrorism' - the theft of animals and arson of framers' crops. To help the farmers, the organization provides voluntary guarding services that also include agricultural work, such as harvesting and planting trees. This main mission to secure and support farms is combined with a wide array of educational activities. In recent years the organization has established three high schools, it operates a youth movement, summer camps, and a pre-military training program. While all these programs emphasize the importance of agriculture, and the virtue of civilian solidarity, they also include the teaching of military themes (such as leadership, heroism and sacrifice) and military skills training (guarding, navigation, and Krav Maga). Moreover, many of these programs are carried by former military officers.

The proposed paper investigates the nexus of militarism and education as manifested in Israeli civil society through the activities of HaShomer HaChadash. While the entanglement of militarism and education has deep roots in Israeli political culture, it has usually been nurtured by the government and not by non-state organizations. We argue that the combination between security and educational activities can be interpreted as a renaissance of Israeli civilian militarism and neo-nationalism in the margins of the state. At the same time, it enables the organization to civilianize and de-politicize the realm of security, and even integrate it with a neo-liberal agenda.

Panel P077
Securitized Education: critical perceptions on the entanglements between military, security and education [Anthropology of Security Network, Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology PACSA]