Many Jews in Orange County were aware of the Israeli elections on January 22. Dr. Anat Maor, 2012-2013 Schusterman Project Visiting Israel Scholar in the Department of Government at UC Irvine, was watching with a more critical eye than most people. She believes that the important time for Israel is the first 21 days after the election, when coalitions will be formed and the direction of the country established. “We’ll know by mid-February,” she said.
Dr. Maor, who is spending two quarters at UCI after spending a quarter at Columbia University in New York, believes that her goal is two-fold. She has the professional responsibility of teaching classes about women in Israel and politics in Israel. She also has to be part of the Jewish community in Irvine – to meet with people at synagogues, women’s organizations, student organizations – with “everybody who wants to have discussions about Israel,” she said. “I want to reach out and touch people and share my knowledge as an Israeli representative. I love Israel very much.”
A member of the Israeli Knesset for the Meretz Party from 1992 to 2003, Dr. Maor served as Deputy Knesset Speaker, chaired the Science and Technology Committee and the Sub-Committee for Women at Work and the Economy and headed the Lobby for Children. Dr. Maor has been a lecturer in contemporary Israeli politics, social and economic policies in Israel and women’s issues at the Open University and Ruppin Academic Center in Israel since 2003.
Born in Kibbutz Negba during the Mandate era, Dr. Maor studied at Tel Aviv University. She earned a BA in history and philosophy and an MA in labor management. Dr. Maor worked as a headmistress of a high school and a university lecturer, and also served as secretary of Negba and a director of the United States branch of the Kibbutz Zionist Immigration office.
Dr. Maor’s visit to UCI has been made possible through grants from the Schusterman Family Foundation, the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services in cooperation with the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.
For women in Israel, the issue of status is a mixed bag. “On the one hand, women are very modern and are very prevalent in academic life, politics and other places, but there are problems with women’s roles in the religious party,” she said. “There, people think women have to be at home.”