Israeli Community Action
Living through the War of Independence
Published by: Indiana University Press
When the 1948 Israeli War of Independence broke out, population centers were rocked by sniper fire, bombings, and roadside ambushes. As the fighting moved out of the cities into desert areas, private citizens and community organizations left behind organized to revitalize and restore life in their devastated communities. In Israeli Community Action, Paula Kabalo presents a vivid portrait of these civilians who strove to help each other cope with the realities of war.
Kabalo explores how civilian militias were recruited, how neighborhoods were protected, how older populations were enlisted into the war effort, and how women were organized to provide medical aid or establish refugee centers. She demonstrates that each phase of the war brought along new challenges to the population of the young state of Israel, but she also illuminates how the engagement of Israelis in community efforts brought them together and shored them up to face the future in their new country.
Introduction: Association, Efficacy, Capabilities
I. Civic Association and Self-Help in a Voluntary Community, November 1947–May 14, 1948
1. Multiple Paths to Community Resilience—Displacement as an Impetus to Association
2. Economic War and War Economy—The Challenge to Business and Commercial Life
3. "Literally Abandoned to Starvation"—The Bureaucratization of Relief and the Question of Responsibility for Soldiers Families
II. Association and Self-Help in a Sovereign Society—May 14, 1948–1949
4. The Displaced Communities Regroup
5. Emergency Economy amid Emergency Normalcy —the Quest for Regularization, Improvement, and Influence
6. Soldiers' Wives and a 'Non-Governmental Government Committee for Inductees' Families'—the Question of Responsibility
7. The War Veterans' Civilian Struggle—Discharged Soldiers and Disabled Veterans Confront the Elected Echelon
List of Archives'
Documents the emergence of citizens' and communal 'home front' organizations during Israel's War of Independence, and the first year of existence of the state, looking at areas of housing needs, commercial and merchants' rights, and relief and support for veterans and soldiers' families after demobilization.~Russell Stone
Paula Kabalo's book presents the 1948 war from an entirely new perspective—through the trials and tribulations of ordinary Israelis. She also presents in detail the components that contribute to social resilience in the face of disaster, and although Israel has changed in many ways, this work is unfortunately still relevant today.~Orit Rozin
- Yonathan Shapiro Award for Best Book in Israel Studies