A significant silence: Single mothers and the current Israeli housing discourse

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I investigate the place given to Israeli single mothers' families and their right to the city in current housing discourses and state decisions. I discuss their right to appropriation–to be in the city and to occupy and make use of urban space. I also focus on their right to “difference” – namely, to have their identity and their difficulty in obtaining and securing housing fully considered in policy processes, and not to be pushed out of the social and geographic center of the country. Following the 2011 nationwide protests, the Israeli government promoted housing reforms, and housing programs became a major issue for politicians and the media. However, I demonstrate that there has been silence regarding single mothers, evident in several ways. First, policy criteria and most discourses are gender neutral and refer only to 'single parents'. Second, the mothers are framed in two opposing, simplistic categories–either as part of the weakest population or conversely as regular middle-class families. Program decisions provide only partial solutions. They also require single mothers to choose between the right to occupy a house and to difference. Using this case, I exemplify how Israel's current housing agenda subjects the right to the city to neoliberal ideas and the overall aims of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Difference
  • Housing
  • Neoliberal planning
  • Right to the city
  • Single mothers
  • Top-down programs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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