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Germs know no racial lines: Health policies in British Palestine (1930-1939)

Simoni, Marcella; (2003) Germs know no racial lines: Health policies in British Palestine (1930-1939). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In mandatory Palestine, Zionist civil society proved to be a powerful instrument for institution- and state-building. Civil society developed around four conditions: shared values, horizontal linkages of participation, boundary demarcation and interaction with the state. These four factors were created and/or enhanced by the provision of medical services and by the organization of public health. In Jewish Palestine, these were developed - especially in the 1930s - by two medical agencies: the Hadassah Medical Organization and Kupat Cholim. First of all, Zionist health developed autonomously from an administrative point of view. Secondly, it was organized in a network of horizontal participation which connected different sections of the (Jewish) population. In the third place, medical provision worked as a connecting element between territory, society and administration. Lastly, the construction of health in mandatory Palestine contributed to create a cultural uniformity which was implicitly nationalistic. Zionist medical provision in mandatory Palestine also responded to two of the main ideological strongholds of Zionism. The Zionist movement saw the introduction of science and rationality into Palestine as a mission of civilization. Zionism also aimed at the regeneration of the Jews after centuries of physical and spiritual oppression in the Diaspora. The introduction of medical provision along western standards during the mandatory years had a number of important consequences for the future of Palestine/Israel. It improved the country's sanitary, medical and hygienic standards. However, it also contributed to draw a boundary between the Jewish and the Arab communities. Different approaches to illness and disease, diverse availability of medical structures for the two population groups, distinct levels of sanitation between Arab and Jewish towns and separate attendance in medical structures were all indicators of the division which, by 1939, had drawn apart these two communities. The 1930s stand out as the decade in which the Zionist network of medical provision consolidated the process of civil society formation, of institution- and of state-building. During this decade such civil society became gradually more exclusive, as it became healthier and stronger.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Germs know no racial lines: Health policies in British Palestine (1930-1939)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Health development; Palestine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106169
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