Contested bodies: Medicine, public health and mass immigration to Israel. Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The State of Israel was established in May 1948. By its eighth Independence Day, the small country, with a population of only 600,000 Jews, faced the formidable task of absorbing over 1,000,000 new immigrants. Some of these immigrants were Holocaust survivors in poor health, and many others came from Yemen, North Africa, Iraq and India, where they had suffered chronic malnutrition and extremely high mortality rates. Despite arduous economic conditions and the lack of infrastructure in health, education and housing, and despite the poor health status of many immigrants, all epidemics were contained. Confident in the justice and necessity of their science, the approaches of health care workers to the immigrants' bodies were acts that were often foreign and traumatic to the immigrants, who came from different cultures and medical traditions. The aim of this …

publication date

  • January 1, 2006