Chicago-born Deborah Bernstein honored with Israel Prize

A Professor of sociology and anthropology, Bernstein devoted her career to the roles women take in Israeli life and Arab-Israeli relations.

Professor Deborah Bernstein  (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Professor Deborah Bernstein
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Education Minster Naftali Bennett announced that the 2019 Israeli Prize in the field of Sociology and Anthropology will be awarded to Professor Deborah Bernstein from the University of Haifa.
The award committee remarked that “her researches were trail blazers to understand women and gender, social marginalization, labor relations, law and social norms from the time of the [British] mandate until today.”
Born in Chicago in 1944, her family moved to Israel when she was three years old. A chemist by profession, her father eventually opened and ran a chemicals factory.
Bernstein wrote her doctorate thesis on the 1970’s Black Panthers movement in Israel. While inspired by the African-American movement of the same name, the Israeli panthers were not African-Americans but Mizrhai Jews who felt marginalized and oppressed by a society they perceived as dominated by Ashkenazi Jews.
During her studies in Britain she began exploring how Marxist ideas of class and social structure might be applied to the Israeli situation. She eventually wrote about Jewish and Arab relations in the labor market, as well as on the various roles women took on in Israeli society.
She also researched the issue of honor killing in Palestinian society.