Prof. David Newman is a researcher of political geography and geopolitics, with a focus on border research. He has published widely, in both scientific and popular outlets, on the subject of territory and borders, particularly in areas of ethnic conflict, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Prof. David Newman served as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev between 2010 and 2016. He joined the faculty at Ben-Gurion University in 1987, where he founded the Department of Politics and Government in 1998. In 2003, he established the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society. He received his academic degrees from London University (QMW, 1978) and Durham University (PhD, 1981).
In the local sphere, Newman’s work has concentrated on the role of West Bank settlement past and present, the delineation of the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank, and has engaged in scenarios for future boundaries as part of a peace resolution of the conflict.
Within the global contexts, his work examines the changing role of borders in a global world, faced with conflicting pressures to open the borders for economic reasons, and to close them for securitization reasons. As the world undergoes rapid change, so too does global geopolitics, and this constitutes the core of Newman’s research and publications.
In recent years, Prof. Newman has turned his attention to researching the interface between science and politics. He has written on subjects related to academic boycott and academic freedom, as well as comparative studies between the academic organizational structure in Israel and abroad.
Prof. David Newman, who was born in Britain, was awarded the title of OBE in 2013 by the British Government for his significant contribution to the strengthening of academic and scientific ties between Britain and Israel.
Amongst his major research projects, Prof. David Newman was a member of the Euroborderscapes project – a large-scale research project funded by the European Union (EU). Ben-Gurion University was among 21 universities that took part in this consortium. Prior to that Newman had directed a Partnership in Peace research project, aimed at bringing Israeli and Palestinian educators together.
For over twenty years, Newman has participated in the Track II debates between Israelis and Palestinians, seeking a communication channel for future agreement discussions. Prof. David Newman believes that peace between the two peoples should be promoted in order to ensure the long-lasting security of the citizens and sees the Two State solution as the best of all the bad solutions for this bitter conflict. Newman believes that it is time now for the next generation of .diplomats, scholars and activists to take over where, he bitterly admits, his own generation have not succeeded in bringing peace any nearer.
Journals, Press and Media Acknowledgement
From 1998-2014, Professor Newman was editor of the leading International Journal of Geopolitics. He frequently contributes to public discussion out of a belief that it is important for academics to be engaged in the public debate and to raise awareness of topics which are on the national agenda. For almost fifteen years, he published a weekly column in the Jerusalem Post, under the title of Borderlines, in which he addressed issues related to his research, as well as academic, political and social issues concerning Israel, Europe (a particular focus on Israel-Britain relations) and the Jewish world. His commentaries have appeared in a wide range of international media and news outlets.
In 2017, Prof. David Newman was named among 100 Olim (new immigrants) from Britain who made the greatest impact on life and society in Israel. Newman ranked 21st and appeared alongside Chaim Weizmann, Chaim Herzog and many others of note, who contributed throughout their lives to Jewish history and Israeli society in various areas.
Prof. David Newman’s Ongoing Projects
During his sabbatical in his hometown of London, Newman has also turned his attentions elsewhere. He is researching the history of the local Jewish community, focusing on the Rabbinate that originated in Eastern Europe, and left its mark on the community during the twentieth century. Prof. Newman is particularly interested in stained glass windows created by artist David Hillman that can be found in synagogues in Israel and England, both because of their artistic content and because of the social context of the people who were involved in their creation – ranging from Eastern Europe to Britain and from there to Israel.
Prof. Newman recently initiated the idea of bringing 70 unused Torah scrolls from various synagogues in England to new synagogues in Israel during the 70th year of Israel’s independence. In England, many Torah scrolls are left unused and Prof. Newman believes that this is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora, by creating links between veteran communities in the Diaspora with new young communities in Israel. Newman has previously brought Torah scrolls from the UK to Israel in memory of departed members of his family, including one from the Notting Hill neighbourhood in West London (after the synagogue closed down) of the community of Metar in the Northern Negev.
Prof. David Newman is a father of four young adults, all born and raised in Israel. Before relocating back to Jerusalem, Newman lived in the Northern Negev community of Metar, a community which now numbers almost 10,000 inhabitants. During that period, he contributed to the development of the area. Prof. David Newman believes that Ben-Gurion University can contribute significantly to the development of the region, with a mission statement which targets the diverse population groups which includes wealthy suburbs, development towns and poorer neighbourhoods of Beer Sheva, and the large Bedouin population of the region.
Prof. David Newman is a devoted fan of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club – this is clear to all who lay eyes on his collection of the team’s memorabilia, which is the largest of its kind in Israel. When possible, Prof. Newman schedules his professional trips to London to coincide with Tottenham’s games in the team’s stadium in North London where, despite living in Israel for over 35 years, he retains his season ticket.