‘You can’t have it both ways’: Arab women caretakers in kibbutz kindergartens in Israel

Edith Blit-Cohen*, Maya Galperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examines the challenges and coping of Arab women employed as child caretakers in kibbutz kindergartens in Israel. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with Arab caretakers. Three themes were identified: (1) Self-perception as secular Israelis versus a combined Muslim-Arab one Israeli-civic identity; (2) The families’ reaction to their decision to work in a kibbutz and to their adoption of Western and kibbutz norms that clash with traditional Arab ones; (3) Conditional acceptance by Jewish kibbutz society. The main recommendations following this study are to create a training model that would include both the Arab caretakers and other staff members in the kibbutz education system to heighten their awareness of these issues. In addition, since the entry of Arab women caretakers into the Jewish-Israeli early childhood education system is a growing trend, it is important to raise awareness in Israeli society of the complex issues raised by this phenomenon.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Arab women child caretakers
  • Kibbutz kindergartens
  • caretakers
  • kibbutz education system


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