Waterman, Stanley. “Ideology and Events in Israeli Human Landscape Revisited.” Jewish Journal of Sociology 57.1-2 (2015).
This paper casts a retrospective gaze at an article written as a beginning academic who had immigrated to Israel just two years prior, some 40 years ago. Not wanting to alter anything I had written, it was subsequently published nearly five years later. In that paper, I observed a deep abyss between the Israel I “understood”—mainly through reading—before I immigrated and which I thought I “knew”, and the Israel I was experiencing following my arrival. This chasm led me to identify Israeli myths contra an Israeli reality and caused me to pose what were for me, at the time of writing, some disturbing questions about Israeli landscape and society. I did this by choosing three iconic landscapes — new towns, kibbutzim and the desert — and picking away at misunderstandings about them and the way in which we perceived Israel. Four decades on, I ask whether I had been impulsive in writing that paper then with so little experience and if a similar paper in a similar vein were to be written, set in 2015 rather than 1974, what questions might be asked about Israel now and what would they say about Israeli society and culture?