The "You Can Think" website was established in July 2011 by a group of academics from the field of Islam and the Middle East: Dr. Nimrod Horowitz, Prof. Dror Zeevi, Dr. Shaul Yanai and I. The four of us were the first content editors of the site, and we were later joined by a journalist specializing in the Middle East, a graduate of the Department of Islam and the Middle East at the Hebrew University, Elhanan Miller.
In rough generalization, the members of the site's editorial staff can be described as ascetics: Ashkenazim (majority), secular (majority), veterans (part), socialists and nationalists (in varying degrees). We are all men. Because reality shapes consciousness, the articles we write reflect, in generalization. Rough, the people we are in. There is usually no ideological radicalism in them, but an attempt to convey in an accessible way to the educated public the knowledge we have accumulated in our areas of practice and sometimes our opinions on political and social issues.
The same is true for most of the regular and casual writers on the site. Although two of the regular writers on our site are women, the site's established image is that of a professional stage for men, Ashkenazis, secularists and liberals. Articles by women and right-wingers are not a common sight, and there are very few Oriental writers. Arabs hardly published on the site. Our first conference , held last January, merely reflected the nature of the site, and there was not a single lecturer in it. Only in the photo strip at the top of the home page on the site is there a full representation for women.
All of the above is not to our credit, and we are aware of it. After the publication of the conference program, we encountered reactions of criticism, and sometimes ridicule, from researchers from the field of Islam and the Middle East, who pointed to the "boring" composition of the speakers at the conference and claimed that it reflected the nature of the site. For what it is our fault I have already confessed above (and decided that we will do everything in our power to make the next public event of the site more diverse). Now I would like to address our critics with a direct request: instead of cursing the darkness, please light a candle. Write us articles and help us make the site more diverse, richer, more representative and more challenging.
The community of professionals in the field of Islam and the Middle East in Israel is not very diverse: like most Israeli academies, it has a disproportionate representation of men, Ashkenazis, secularists and perhaps even liberals. This means that the potential repository of “can be thought” writers tends in these directions in the first place. But the average reader is unaware, perhaps, of the fact that we were trying to break the glass ceiling: we turned to the Arabs, we turned to the women, we turned to the right, and asked, almost to the point, for articles. The response rate was very low – similar to the one we won from all the others. However, since the rest are the majority anyway, the articles on the site reflect our failure in this area.
We have never rejected an article sent to us for publication. In very few cases we returned the article with a request for editorial corrections or clarification of content, but most of the time we did it ourselves. We have tried several times, directly and through colleagues, to recruit right-wing and Arab content editors and content editors, thinking that these would bring in writers who are close to them in terms of identity, conceptual or professional. We have put up with it: people are not happy to volunteer, led by academics who are preoccupied with their own affairs and are usually focused on academic publication in English.
We recently published on the ILMA website " Kol Kora" for articles on our website. We believe that women and professionals in the country will benefit from advertising on the website, read by thousands of readers a month, and from the corresponding publication of their articles on the "Megaphone" website read by thousands of readers a day. From this, we believe that professional knowledge in such interesting and relevant areas of life for all of us in the State of Israel, deserves to be the lot of an educated and knowledge-seeking public, and not just the share of scholars in the academic community abroad. Fill the site continuously with interesting content.
The "You Can Think" website was not established as a luxury hostel: far from it. From the beginning, we wanted to make it a platform for publishing professional articles and opinion pieces by women alongside men, Arabs alongside Jews, Mizrahis alongside Ashkenazis, right-wingers, left-wing radicals and kickers in the mainstream. Prove that we need active assistance in doing so.All you need to do to achieve this goal with us is to roll up your sleeves and start writing.