Brodsky, Adriana M. “‘Belonging to Many Homes’: Argentine Sephardi Youth in Buenos Aires and Israel, 1956–76.” In Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century (ed. Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret; Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 213-35.
In 1956, a small number of young Argentine Sephardi men and women decided to ‘take over’ a building that belonged to Or Torah — the Congregation of Damascene origin in Barracas, a neighborhood in the south of Buenos Aires. One Saturday evening, they walked with enough supplies to last them a few days into a house used by older members to play dominos and cards. While one group remained in the building, a delegation walked around the neighborhood, including the coffee houses (the famous Bar de los Turcos among them) where many of the congregation’s leaders sat discussing the events of the week, and distributed printed flyers with the words: ‘We have taken over the club’. After spending the night in the building, and following a violent altercation with members of the communal leadership featuring flying chairs and the singing of the Hatikva (the Israeli national anthem), the youth group was granted permission to use the space for its own activities. ‘We introduced Israel, Israeli dance, culture, and much more [to the young members of Or Torah]’, said one of the rebels. ‘In fact’, another member recalls, ‘we succeeded — through the activities we devised — in bringing back to Judaism a large number of people who had stopped attending the synagogue services all together’.
Based on an examination of Israel’s territorial conceptions, strategies, and achievements since the establishment of the state, this article shows how state territoriality subsumes ideology and political agendas and may, under certain circumstances, lead the state to negate its very self-conceptions and harm its own perceived interests. Its analysis pays special attention to the state’s inadvertently produced territories of negation, which run counter to its own conception of territoriality, and considers the kind of social–spatial entities produced by the state. It also considers Israeli territoriality’s more recently asserted goal of shaping Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in addition to the goals of controlling Jerusalem and Judaizing the Galilee and the Negev. To illustrate the theoretical assertion that discriminatory and marginalizing state territoriality has the distinct potential to bring about its own negation, the article concludes with two prominent expressions of this phenomenon. The first is manifested in green-line Israel, where the state’s territorial policies and the resulting marginalization of the Palestinian minority has resulted in collective resistance against the state and its policies, basic Jewish-Israeli symbols such as the anthem and the flag, and Israel’s very definition as a Jewish State. The second is manifested in Israel’s inadvertent creation of bi-national spaces both within Israel proper and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, indirectly promoting the solution of a single bi-national state and posing a serious challenge to the very goals that Israeli territoriality has consistently strived to achieve.