Michael Sofer

Prof. Emeritus
MA Advisor
Reception hours: 
Research Fields: 
Guiding research students:


Prof. Michael Sofer is an economic geographer lecturing in the Department of Geography at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. He obtained his BA and MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his Ph.D. from Melbourne University, Australia. He is involved in the activities of the International Geographical Union as the chairman of the Israel National Committee for the IGU. His research fields focus on issues of local and regional development with specific interest in economic transformation of the rural space in developed and developing countries; economic and social changes in the rural-urban fringe; and environmental issues related to industrial activities in residential areas. His experience evolved in work in Fiji, India, Tanzania, Romania and Israel. He also serves as co-editor of for the international journal: Journal of Rural Cooperation.
Public activities
Chairman, Israel National Committee for the International Geographical Union
Member, The Israeli President Commission: The Israeli Rural Space 2025
Public activities

Specialization fields

Economic geography
Transformation in employment and land uses in the Moshav
Transformation in the rural-urban fringe
Industrialization, entrepreneurship and the environment in Arab settlements in Israel
Transformation in the Fijian village


Selected publications since 2005
Sofer, M. (2005) The Future of Family Farming in Israel: The Second Generation in the Moshav, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 171, pp. 357-368.
Sofer, M., Bordanc, F. (2005) Opportunities, Constraints and Pluriactivity in Rural Romania during the Transition Period: Preliminary Observations, Agricultural Economics and Rural Development Vol. 2(8), pp. 61-80. [Republication of a 1998 paper in GeoJournal. [This time in a series of: The Romanian Academy, National Institute of Economic Research and Institute of Agricultural Economics].
Sofer, M., Schnell, I. (2005) Ethnic Entrepreneurship and Embeddedness: The Case of Lower Galilee, In: Lagendijk, A. and Oinas, P. (eds.) Proximity, Distance and Diversity: Issues on Economic Interaction and Local Development. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 69-88. ISBN 0754640744
Sofer, M., Potchter, O. (2006) The Urban Heat Island of a City in an Arid Zone: The Case of Eilat, Israel, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Vol. 85, pp. 81-88.
Sofer, M., Applebaum, L. (2006) The Rural Space in Israel in Search of Renewed Identity: The Case of the Moshav, Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 22, pp. 323-336.
Potchter, O., Sofer, M. (2006) The Characteristics of the Urban Heat Island of Eilat, Merhavim, Vol. 6, pp. 15-39 (Hebrew).
Schnell, I., Sofer, M. (2006) Barriers to Economic Development in the Arab Economy in Israel, in Hasson, S. and Karrayani, M.M. (eds.) Arabs in Israel: Barriers to Equality, The Phloreseimer Institute, Jerusalem (Hebrew), pp. 204-212.
Sofer, M. (2007) Yaqona and the Peripheral Economy Revisited, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Vol. 48(2), pp. 234-249.
Sofer, M., Schnell, I. (2007) The Integration of Arab Entrepreneurs in the Israeli Economy, Horizons in Geography, Vol. 68-69, pp. 73-98 (Hebrew).
Sofer, M., Grossman, D. (2007) The Kibbutz in Search of a New Identity, Analele Universitatii Spiru Haret, Seria Geografie, Vol. 10, pp. 103-114.
Cohen, E., Sofer, M. (2007) Changes in the Moshavim on the Fringe of a Metropolitan Area: The Case of Hof Ha’Carmel Regional Council, Karka, Vol. 63, pp. 94-123 (Hebrew).
Ben-Dror, G., Sofer, M. (2008) Factors Affecting the Collective System in the Moshav: Preliminary Aspects. Karka, Vol. 65, pp. 43-69 (Hebrew).
Sofer, M. (2008) Transformation of the Rural Space in Israel and Its Implications on Rural Tourism, Journal of Tourism Trends and Challenges, Vol. 1(1), pp. 99-109.
Sofer, M. (2009) Twenty Years of Change in the Fijian Periphery: The Case of the Kadavu Island, Fiji, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol. 30, pp. 343-357.
Sofer, M., Applebaum, L. (2009) The Emergence of Farmers-Entrepreneurs as Local Development Agents in the Rural Space of Israel, Rural Studies, Vol. 20, pp. 107-125.
Ben-Dror, G., Sofer, M. (2010) Weakening Cooperation in the Israeli Moshav: Preliminary Aspects, Journal of Rural Cooperation, Vol. 38(2): 156-172.

Guran-Nica, L., Sofer, M., Ştefan, N. (2011) New Rural-Urban Relationships in Romania: Issues at the Rural-Urban Fringe of Bucharest, Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Geographia, Vol. 56(1), pp. 127-140.

Guran. L., Sofer, M. (2011) Migration dynamics in Romania and the Counter-Urbanisation Process: A Case Study of Bucharest’s Rural-Urban Fringe, in Hedberg, C. and Carmo, R.M. (eds.) Translocal Ruralism: Mobility and Connectivity in European Rural Space, The GeoJournal Library Book series, Vol. 103, Springer, pp. 87-102.

Galor, Z., Sofer, M. (2011) Evolution passée et récente des villages coopératifs en Israël, RECMA (Revue Internationale de L'économie Sociale), 321, pp. 19-21 (French).

Gnaiem, N., Sofer, M., Potchter, O., Yakov, Y. Gnaim, J. (2012) Noise Hazards From Industry and Workshop Activities in Residential Areas: A case Study of Baqa el Garbiah, Horizons in Geography, Vol. 78, pp. 122-140 (Hebrew).

Sofer, M., Applebaum, L. (2012) Social and Economic Inequality in the Rural Space of Israel, Rural Studies, Vol. 27, pp. 75-94.

Applebaum, L., Sofer, M. (2012) The Moshav in Israel: An Agricultural Community in a Process of Change – A Current View, Horizons in Geography, (special issue) Vol. 79-80, pp. 194-209.

Sofer, M., Potchter, O., Gnaiem, N., Gnaim. J. (2012) Environmental Nuisances: Impacts of Industrial Activities in Residential Areas of Arab Municipalities in IsraelApplied Geography, Vol. 35, pp. 353-362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.08.005

Sofer, M., Applebaum, L. (2012) The Role of Farm-Based Businesses in Promoting Agricultural and Rural Development, Horizons in Geography, Vol. 81-82, pp. 52-74 (Hebrew).

Bitnner, C., Sofer, M.  (2013) Land Use Changes in the Rural-Urban Fringe: An Israeli Case Study, Land Use Policy, Vol. 33, pp. 11-19.

Sofer, M. (2013) The Rural-Urban Fringe: Theoretical Issues and Israeli Experience, Landscape and Geodiversity, Vol. 1, pp. 1-9.

Saada, T., Sofer, M. (2013) Female Entrepreneurship on Moshavim: A case Study in the Lev HaSharon Regional Council, in Fogiel-Bijaoui, S. and Sharaby, R. (eds.) Private and Public: Women in the Kibbutz and the Moshav, 325-350 (Hebrew).


Research fields
Transformation in the rural space in Israel
Entrepreneurship in the rural space
Environmental issues in the Arab settlements in Israel\
Issues of rural and regional development in developing countries
Local and regional development