Graduates of the Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Migdal HaEmek met for an in-depth conversation with Prof. Pnina Motzafi-Haller – an anthropologist and lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a social activist, and a feminist leader. The meeting explored the meaning of success for people born in Israel's development towns.
Prof. Motzafi-Haller, herself a native of Migdal HaEmek, shared her own story, from her childhood in Migdal HaEmek through to her current academic vocation. She spoke about two formative research studies she conducted: one a field study in Botswana, and the other in Yeruham, a development town in southern Israel. She focused on the question of success and failure as seen from anthropological, ethical, and feminist perspectives.
The ensuing discussion revolved around dilemmas faced by women (and by others) in development towns: What is success? What does it mean? What does it cost? The participants also related to the question of residents staying in development towns or leaving them, and to the personal and social meanings associated with this issue, which is of great concern to local leaders.