Much of the existing literature on Mandatory Palestine adheres to a dual society model which assumes that the Palestinian Arab community and the Jewish Yishuv had separate economic, social, and cultural systems, and that interaction between them was quite limited. In their new book, Oriental Neighbors: Middle Eastern Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine
(Brandeis UP, 2016), Abigail Jacobson
and Moshe Naor
focus on Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews in order to challenge this model.
As power shifted away from the traditional politics of notables, Sephardic and Oriental Jews attempted to position themselves as the ideal mediators between Jewish and Arab societies. Oriental Neighbors
examines these attempts in the political and cultural spheres, in mixed neighborhoods, and in the security arena, to highlight Middle Eastern Jewish-Palestine interaction as a site of both cooperation and conflict. In doing so, this book calls the dual society model into question, integrates the history of Palestine into that of the greater Middle East, and makes a valuable contribution to the literatures of Middle Eastern and Israeli history.