Professor David Newman joined Ben-Gurion University in 1987 and was responsible for the establishment of the Department of Politics and Government in 1998, and the founding of the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society in 2003. Professor Newman served as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences from 2010-2016. Born and educated in Britain, David Newman received his academic degrees from Queen Mary College, University of London (1978) and his Ph.D. from the University of Durham (Dunelm) in 1981.
In 2013, professor David Newman was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his contribution to promoting and strengthening academic and scientific links between Britain and Israel. From 1998-2014 he was the chief editor of the international Journal, Geopolitics, one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in this field of enquiry.
Newman’s research focuses the study of borders and borderscapes within the broader field of Political Geography and Geopolitics. His many academic publications deal with issues relating to territory and boundaries in areas of ethnic conflict with a strong regional focus on the Middle East and the Israel / Palestine conflict.
Between 2012-2016, Newman and Ben-Gurion University were members of a 21 university EU funded consortium, Euroborderscapes, and more recently as a member of the BIG (Borders in Globalisation) project, encompassing universities throughout the world and funded by the Canadian social science research authority.
In addition, professor David Newman studies the relationship between politics and academia, drawing on his own experiences in a wide range of academic activities over the years. This includes discussions of academic freedom, the funding and structure of academic institutions, and the ethics of academic boycotts – in Israel and throughout the world.
Since the 1980’s, Newman has been actively engaged in Track II discussions involving Israelis and Palestinians, in an attempt to promote moves towards dialogue and peace resolutions. Although Newman is not a member of any political party, he believes strongly in the need to advance the cause of peace between Israel and her neighbours as only this will ensure Israel’s long-term survival and security for future generations including his own children and grandchildren.
In 2017 Professor David Newman was selected as one of the 100 most influential immigrants from Britain to have had an impact on life and society in Israel, coming in at number 21, a list which included such luminaries as former Presidents Haim Weizman and Haim Herzog.
A Unique Project
As part of his sabbatical year in his hometown, London, in addition to furthering his research in the field of Geopolitics, Newman is also engaged in studying the history of the Anglo-Jewish community, with a focus on the social and political context of Lithuanian Rabbis who arrived in England during the first half of the twentieth century and left an imprint on community life before moving on to Israel. As part of this research, Newman has a special interested in the stained glass synagogue windows of the artist David Hillman, whose windows are to be found throughout London and in other parts of the world, and who was connected to these Rabbinical families.
Most recently, Newman has begun a new project aimed at bringing 70 unused Torah scrolls from British synagogues, for use in Israeli synagogues, as part of the 70th year celebrations of the State of Israel which will take place in 2018. Professor David Newman sees this as a way of creating new links between the UK and Israeli communities through twinning relationships and assisting new young communities in Israel who do have scrolls of their own.
Professor David Newman was amongst the early residents of the Meitar community in the Northern Negev, a community which has grown from less than 1000 to almost ten thousand residents during the past thirty years. While in the process of relocating to Jerusalem, Newman has contributed to the development and strengthening of this region, focusing on the Negev and Beer Sheva.
He believes strongly in the mission statement of Ben-Gurion University as an institution which contributes to the regions and its diverse populations – in development towns, in Bedouin communities and in poorer neighbourhoods of Bee Sheva itself – over and beyond the teaching and research which take place within the ivory towers of the university.
Newman is part of a large family, numbering well over one hundred people, who have arrived from Britain during the past fifty years. He has four grown-up children, all of whom live in Israel, and work in different parts of the country.
David Newman is also known for his fervent support of the Tottenham Hotspur football club in North London. He is reputed to have the largest single collection of any British football club memorabilia in Israel, relating to this club. He retains his season ticket and to, the extent possible, plans his research and lecturing trips to the UK around the fixture schedules.