Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Chen Amram is a graduate student at the Mandel Institute for outstanding students in humanities, in the Department of Jewish History of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Chen's work deals with public discourse and collective consciousness in Israeli society during the years that followed Israel's establishment (1948-1958). Her studies are characterized by interdisciplinary research methods, through which she sheds light on silenced historical narratives.
Chen recently completed her thesis on the social and political influences on the basic legislation of the Israeli education system, and is developing her doctoral dissertation about Israeli collective memory of the 1948 war.
Throughout her studies Chen received several awards for her work; including the Institute of Contemporary Jewry Prize, the Dean's Award and the Tova and Fanya Shraga Prize; as well as funding for research in UCL, London.
The Formation of the Israeli Education System - a View from "Below"
The research focuses on the shaping of the Israeli education system in its first years and re-examines the legislative factors that influenced this process by understanding it through public discourse, as reflected in domestic press across the political spectrum of the time. The research considers the importance of the semantic dimension and includes an in-depth analysis of political texts and frequently-used terms in the educational discourse of the period.
The attempt to explain the political out of the social sheds light on new aspects of the web of considerations that led to the acceptance of basic legislation regarding the Israeli educational system up to this day. Apparently, low-class social groups that were absent from the official discussions in government institutions played a significant role, which has been silenced throughout history, in the shaping of the Israeli education system. Analyizing texts in this context exposes the causes for the problematic phrasing of the State Education Law (‘non-uniform state education’); emphazises the connections between the change in the role of professional schools and the power-balance in Israeli society; and explains significant delays in legislation on the matter.
This view from "below" not only expose the undeclared interests that underpinned initial legislation in the field of education, but also points to the roots of current problems in Israeli society and its education system.