The article discusses an object that once belonged to a singular individual, which has been enshrined in a glass vitrine to be seen and admired: the prosthetic arm of Jewish war hero and pioneer Yosef Trumpeldor (1880–1920). A debate over its possession has long endured between the Tel-Hai Courtyard Museum and Trumpeldor’s House in Kibbutz Tel Yosef. The prosthetic arm is evaluated here from the perspective of medieval arm reliquaries. The zeal surrounding the object in Tel Yosef and the longing for it in Tel-Hai are analyzed using terminology and ideology borrowed from the realm of the Christian cult of relics.
About 330,000 of partial Jews and gentiles have moved to Israel after 1990 under the Law of Return. The article is based on interviews with middle-aged gentile spouses of Jewish immigrants, aiming to capture their perspective on integration and citizenship in the new homeland where they are ethnic minority. Slavic wives of Jewish men manifested greater malleability and adopted new lifestyles more readily than did Slavic husbands of Jewish women, particularly in relation to Israeli holidays and domestic customs. Most women considered formal conversion as a way to symbolically join the Jewish people, while no men pondered over this path to full Israeli citizenship. Women’s perceptions of the IDF and military service of their children were idealistic and patriotic, while men’s perceptions were more critical and pragmatic. We conclude that women have a higher stake at joining the mainstream due to their family commitments and matrilineal transmission of Jewishness to children. Men’s hegemony in the family and in the social hierarchy of citizenship attenuates their drive for cultural adaptation and enables rather critical stance toward Israeli society. Cultural politics of belonging, therefore, reflect the gendered norms of inclusion in the nation-state.