Cite: Mendelson-Maoz, Israel and Africa in Beta Israel’s Hebrew Literature and Culture.

Mendelson-Maoz, Adia. “Diaspora and Homeland—: Israel and Africa in Beta Israel’s Hebrew Literature and Culture.” Research in African Literatures 44.4 (2013): 35-50.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v044/44.4.mendelson-maoz.html

 

Abstract

Diaspora and homeland, seemingly opposite concepts, constitute the foundation of a historical narrative in which immigrant groups are forced to leave their homeland and live in a foreign country, while continuing to dream of returning to their old home. In the case of Zionism, specifically the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia, the conditions were set to fulfill the dream of returning “home”—to Jerusalem. Yet, the realization of this collective dream uncovered a complex relation between the concept of “diaspora” and “homeland.” This article discusses the relationship between diaspora and homeland—Africa and Israel—in Hebrew Ethiopian-Israeli literature. It focuses on two major biblical narratives, the Exodus from Egypt and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and explores the transition from the representation of Israel as “home” and Africa as “diaspora” to its invert picture in which Africa is the “home” and Israel is the “diaspora.”

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