Oren Yiftachel

Oren Yiftachel


Born in Haifa and raised in a northern kibbutz; later backpacked the world and studied in Australian and Israeli universities.

Oren YiftachelWorked around the world as a farmer, cleaner, waiter, coach, driver and guard, before turning to planning and geography in Australia, the USA and Galilee. 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. Fellow travelers in this journey have been dear souls Amanda, Naomi, Asher and Ella. 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.

And yes, there is also academia -- the piles of books, articles, journals, graduate students, conferences etc. etc. – all listed in tedious details in the other 'rooms' of this site, and summarized below.



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 key 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' societies, indigenous rights, as well as on urban and land regimes; He is currently working on several main research projects: the spatial transformation of Israel/Palestine; the geography of ethnocratic power structures; the rise and meaning of new indigenous spatialities; and the emergence of 'gray space' as key component of new urban regimes, mainly using a comparative urban perspective.

Yiftachel has worked as a planner and activist 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 a multicultural Beersheba.

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, Adva (center for social equality); the Israeli Planning Association, Ekistics and Habitat International. In 2014 he was a founding member of the movement "two states, one homeland" working for new horizon of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation and peace. In parallel, he is an op-ed contributor to leading Israeli newspapers, including Haaretz, Ynet and Ma'ariv.

Yiftachel has published over 100 papers and chapters in leading journals and books. Among the books and volumes he wrote and edited are:

  • Planning a Mixed Region: Political Geography in Galilee, Ashgate, 1991.
  • Urban and Regional Planning in Western Australia (with D. Hedgcock), Paradigm Press, 1992.
  • Planning and Social Control: Policy and Resistance in a Divided Society, Pergamon, 1995.
  • Ethnic Frontiers and Boundaries (with A. Meir, eds), Westview, 1997.
  • The Power of Planning (with Hedgcock, Little, Alexander eds), Kluwer, 2002.
  • Israelis in Conflict (with Kemp, Newman, Ram eds), Sussex, 2004.
  • Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine,, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.
  • The Palestinians in Israel and the Vision Documents: Minority, Majority and the Colonial Momentum(with Ghanem, A., eds), Special issue of Society and Society, vol. 7, 2010 (Hebrew).
  • Indigenous (In)Justice: Human Rights Law and Bedouin Arabs in the Naqab/Negev(with Amara, A, Abu-Saad, I. eds), Harvard University Press, 2012.
  • The City Demands Social Justice(with R. Mandelbaum , eds), special issue or the journal 'Planning'; Vol. 12 (Hebrew), 2015.
  • Terra Nullius in the Negev? Colonialism and Land in Southern Palestine/Israel, (forthcoming).