Oren Yiftachel

Oren Yiftachel


Oren Yiftachel

Born in Haifa and raised in Galilee. Travelled widely before turning to planning and geography in Australia and Israel. Moved to the southern Negev in the early 1990s, and since then has tried to combine critical research, engaged teaching, and activism for social and political justice. In the face of many uphill battles, always hanging on to Arthur Clough's timeless lines of hope:

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent in, the triumphant main.



Prof. Oren Yiftachel teaches political and legal geography, urban and regional planning and public policy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Yiftachel is one of the main critical geographers and social scientists working in Israel/Palestine.

Yiftachel studied in Australian and Israeli universities, and previously taught in urban planning, geography, political science and Middle East departments, at a range of institutions, including: Curtin University, Australia; the Technion, Israel; Penn, Columbia, and UC Berkeley in the US; University of Cape Town, South Africa and the University of Venice, Italy. He was a research fellow at RMIT, Melbourne; the US Institute of Peace; and the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem.

Yiftachel is the founding editor of the journal Hagar: Studies in Culture, Politics and Place, and serves on the editorial board of several top international journals in the fields of planning, urban studies and Middle East studies.

Yiftachel has worked on critical theories of space and power; minorities and public policy; 'ethnocratic' and settler colonial societies, indigenous rights, as well as on urban and land regimes, urban migration and housing and models of the 'just city'; He is currently working on several main research projects: the spatial transformation of Israel/Palestine – from 'creeping apartheid' to confederation?; the rise and meaning of new indigenous spatialities; the emergence of 'gray spaces' and 'displaceability' as key component of new urban regimes and citizenship, mainly using a comparative urban perspective.

Yiftachel has worked as an urban and regional planner in a wide range of institutions, including the Perth City Council in Australia and the Kibbutz Movement in Israel. He specialized in advocacy planning and land consultancy. Recently he has worked on an Israeli-Palestinian plan for a bi-national Jerusalem; on an alternative plan for the unrecognized Bedouin villages in southern Israel, and on a plan for implementing the 'just city' model in Beersheba and southern Tel-Aviv.

Yiftachel is also a board and founding member of several activist and professional organizations, including Faculty for Israel-Palestine Peace (FFIPP), PALISAD, The Coexistence Forum for equality in the Negev, Adva (center for social equality); and 'Btselem' (human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories) where he also served as a chairperson for three years.. Recently, he was a founding member of the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement "a land for all - two states, one homeland" working for new horizon of Israeli-Palestinian decolonization and reconciliation. In parallel, he is an op-ed contributor to leading Israeli newspapers, including Haaretz, Ynet and Ma'ariv.

Yiftachel has published over 120 papers and chapters in leading journals and books. Among the books and volumes he wrote and edited are:

  • Hedgcock, D. and Yiftachel, O. (editors) (1992), Urban and Regional Planning in Western Australia: Historical and Critical Perspectives, Paradigm Press, Perth.
  • Yiftachel, O. (1992): Planning a Mixed Region in Israel: The Political Geography of Arab-Jewish Relations in the Galilee, Avebury, Gower Publishing Limited, Aldershot, Hampshire
  • Yiftachel, O. (1995) 'Planning as Control: Policy and Resistance in Deeply Divided Societies'.
  • Yiftachel, O. (1997), Guarding the Grove: Majd al-Krum as Fable, The Institute for Israeli Arab Studies (The 'Seam-line Series'), Van Leer Institute (Hebrew)..
  • Yiftachel, O. and Meir, A. (editors) (1998), Ethnic Frontiers in Israel: Landscapes of Development and Inequality in Israel, Boulder, Westview Press.
  • Yiftachel, O., Alexander, I., Hedgcock, D. and Little, J. (editors) (2001), The Power of Planning: Spaces of Control and Transformation, Kluwer Academic Publications, the Hague.
  • Kemp, A., Yiftachel, O., Newman, D., Ram, U. (editors) (2004) Hegemonies and Resistance: Israelis in Conflict.
  • Yiftachel, O. (2006) Ethnocracy: Land, and the Politics of Identity Israel/Palestine (PennPress - the University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Yiftachel, O. and abu-Saad, I. (Eds), 2008. Bedouin-Arabs Society in the Negev, Special theme issue of Hagar: Studies in Culture, Politics and Identity, Vol. 8..
  • Ghanem, A. and Yiftachel, O. (Eds), 2010. The Vision Documents: a New Order for Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel?, Special theme issue of State and Society (Hebrew).
  • Yiftachel, O. and Mandelbaum, R. (eds) 2015, Social Justice and Israel Planning; Special Issue of the Planning – Journal of the Israeli Planning Association, Vol. 12, No. 1: 145-270.http://www.aepi.org.il (Hebrew).
  • Amara, A., Yiftachel, O. and abu-Saad, I. (Eds), 2013. Indigenous (In)Justice? Human Rights among Bedouins in Southern Israel/Palestine, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780979639562.www.geog.bgu.ac.il/members/yiftachel/books/Indigenous%20(In)Justice.pdf.
  • Kedar, S., Amara, A. Yiftachel, O. (2018), Emptied Lands: Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev, Stanford: Stanford University Press..
  • Yiftachel, O. and Porter, L. (eds) 2018, Settler Colonialism, Indigeneity and the City, special issue of Settler Colonial Studies Vol. 8 (introduction and six papers).