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Identity Encounters in Public Spaces—Military Service as a Legally Binding Public Space. The Case of Women’s Singing in the Israel Defense Forces

Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 5290002, Israel
Religions 2020, 11(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040159
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 19 March 2020 / Accepted: 26 March 2020 / Published: 30 March 2020
The term ‘Public Sphere’ is used to distinguish it from the private. Here, we will use the term ‘Public Spaces’ to distinguish between various types of public spheres, differing from one another not only in their controlling identity, but also in the level of obligation to be in them and the extent in which they demand obedience from their participants. The new typology proposed in this paper conceptualizes the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] as a legally binding Public Space, using the case study of the Jewish religious law prohibiting Orthodox men to listen to a woman’s singing voice. This prohibition has sparked a strong public controversy and ongoing clashes between the army and religion. The case study illustrates a wide range of confrontations over the identity of the IDF’s space. While examining similar cases in other armies around the world, the paper presents a model explaining the terms and conditions for disputes on the nature of Public Spaces around the world, and when to expect confrontations between identities in different Public Spaces. Finally, the paper attempts to predict the extent and scope of such confrontations, on four dimensions: (a) The level of obligation to be in the Public Space; (b) the level of greediness of the Public Space; (c) the level of heterogeneity of identities within the Public Space; and (d) the level of personal identity greediness of persons and groups whose identity differs from the hegemonic identity in the public space. View Full-Text
Keywords: Legally binding Public Spaces; identity encounters; Jewish Law; IDF; women’s singing; MFSs; religious diversity Legally binding Public Spaces; identity encounters; Jewish Law; IDF; women’s singing; MFSs; religious diversity
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Umiel-Feldman, S. Identity Encounters in Public Spaces—Military Service as a Legally Binding Public Space. The Case of Women’s Singing in the Israel Defense Forces. Religions 2020, 11, 159.

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