Student activismhas been a route into politics for Israel’s Palestinian citizens since the 1970s. Until 2008, secular parties and groupings, whether communist, socialist, or nationalist, dominated Arab student politics in Israel. But in 2008, a student association of the Islamic Movement in Israel won Arab student council elections at the three largest Israeli universities. Based on in-depth interviews with Islamist student activists between 2008 and 2012, the present article traces the Islamic Movement’s journey to prominence, examining the student associations’ agenda as well as their praxis. In addition to contextualizing Islamist students within the generational analysis of the so-called Stand-Tall Generation, the discussion compares the Islamic Movement’s successful mobilization of Palestinian students with the efforts of similar groups elsewhere in the region.
Tilde Rosmer is a researcher at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and assistant professor at Zayed University, Dubai. Her research focuses on Middle Eastern Jewish Israelis and Palestinian citizens of Israel and her recent publications include “Israel’s Middle Eastern Jewish Intellectuals: Identity and Discourse,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2014) and “Resisting ‘Israelization’: The Islamic Movement in Israel and the Realization of Islamization, Palestinization and Arabization,” Journal of Islamic Studies (2012). The author thanks the Journal ’s anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive and thorough comments; all her primary sources for their time and for sharing their thoughts with her; Manar Makhoul for excellent assistance; Jacob Høigilt for valuable comments; Kai Kverme for Arabic transliteration; and Yakoot, Mouad Khatib and Hassan Tabajah for all their time.