NGOs helping migrants: an Israeli case study of counterculture

Yaffa Moskovich, Adi Binhas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the NGOs in the immigration field as a counterculture working simultaneously with and against the establishment. Design/methodology/approach – Case study approach using interviews and documents analysis. Findings – This paper studies the cultural features of three civil associations, interested in promoting social welfare for immigrants. These NGOs challenge the Israeli government when it violates human rights. This conflict takes place in the courts, the Knesset (parliament), governmental agencies, the media, and sometimes in the streets. The three NGOs use a variety of political strategies: both collaborating with governmental agencies, while simultaneously fighting against the government authorities. The cultural features of the immigrant NGOs are primarily left-wing, with socialist principles. The organizational culture of this association can be identified as a counterculture, opposing the dominant Israeli right-wing capitalist culture. Practical implications – This research can demonstrate how NGOs can use tactics to achieve a high level of success for the underprivileged population. Originality/value – This case study is unusual in that it suggests the NGOs are a sophisticated counterculture, with activists knowing how to operate concurrently with and against official authorities. The duality of the political cultural behavior of the NGOs’ social movement is a notable phenomenon of counterculture in the political arena and expands the definition of counterculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-648
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Cultural sociology
  • Migrant workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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