Cite: Jensehaugen et al., From Zionist Ideology to Israeli Statehood

Jensehaugen, Jørgen; Marte Heian-Engdal and Hilde Henriksen Waage. “Securing the State: From Zionist Ideology to Israeli Statehood.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 23.2 (2012): 280-303.





Between early 1947 and May 1948, the Zionist movement went from being a non-state actor representing the minority population within the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine to establishing the State of Israel, which would be recognised almost instantaneously by the world’s two Superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Such a result, however, was never a given. What processes allowed a non-state actor, the Zionist movement, to secure international acceptance for the creation of a Jewish state in highly ambiguous circumstances? This analysis explores the dual-track adopted by the Zionist movement, whereby it worked to create facts on the ground within Palestine whilst securing support for its state-building project at the international level. By establishing state-like institutions in Palestine whilst building international support, the Jewish Agency was able to secure for itself a unique place from which to declare statehood.

Cite: Shlaim, Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel

Shlaim, Avi. “Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel.” European Judaism 45.1 (2012): 28-35.





Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.

Dissertation: Levinson, The End of the Founding Zionist Dream

Levinson, Rose L. The End of the Founding Zionist Dream: Reflections in Contemporary Israeli Fiction. Cincinnati: Union Institute and University, 2009.



This dissertation explores dilemmas of contemporary Israeli culture through the work of four Israeli novelists: Yoram Kaniuk, Orley Castel-Bloom, Michal Govrin and Zeruya Shalev. The focus is on how these artists provide insight into vexing political, communal and individual situations in Israeli society. Using literature as cultural artifacts through which Israeli life is revealed, the research focuses on key aspects in which modern-day Israel is radically different from the state envisioned by its founding pioneers just over sixty years ago. The eight novels of the study–two by each author–are the basis for considering such issues as the role of religion and biblical text in contemporary Israeli life, particularly as they impact women; the nature of Israeli domestic life as it reflects larger issues of social unrest; the ongoing influence of the Holocaust in determining political and personal responses to perceived danger; and the use of satire as a means of examining dysfunction in Israeli institutions. The fictive worlds of the novels reveal a society deeply fragmented, one in which once familiar structures are breaking apart under the stresses and confusion of newly emerging challenges.

Autoethnography is included in the methodology. The inclusion of an autobiographical element draws attention to the impact Israeli issues have on a non-Israeli Jew for whom this country remains a strong embodiment of core aspects of Jewish identity. This Cultural Study of Jewish Israel links questions of Israeli Jewish identity to issues of Jewish identity in general. The autobiographical elements are used as a bridge between the novelists’ insights and the preoccupations of individuals seeking to grapple with perplexities around identity by studying Israeli cultural maladies through its storytellers.

Cite: Rossen, Contemporary American Dances about Israel and the Mideast Crisis

Rossen, Rebcca. “Uneasy Duets: Contemporary American Dances about Israel and the Mideast Crisis,” The Drama Review 55.3 (2011): 40-49




Jewish choreographers have consistently created dances that embody the shifting role of Israel in American Jewish life. Countering the Zionism of mid-century dances about Israel, contemporary Jewish American choreographers such as Liz Lerman and Kristen Smiarowski actively question the ideology of unconditional support, deftly grapple with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and situate performance as an opportunity for activism, inquiry, and debate.

Cite: Weiss, Landscape at the Ben Gurion Airport

Weiss, Elliott. “Establishing Roots at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport Garden: Landscapes of National Identity.” National Identities 12.2 (2010): 199-210.




With the understanding that the planning of public space is a discursive practice, this article examines the cultural meanings encoded in the design of the grounds around Israel’s main airport, Ben Gurion International. Using the example of Terminal 3, the article discusses how the State of Israel leverages landscaped space as an ideological tool in the struggle for control over symbolic expressions of national identity. The design decisions here are framed in the context of the all important Zionist trope of ‘redemption’, or land reclamation in the image of Zion. The airport’s ‘Seven Species Garden’ is explained as part of a widespread mythology of an autochthonous people/land bond, deeply rooted in Jewish-Israeli consciousness, which draws upon the Bible for territorial legitimacy and national identity. Finally, the Orientalist bias betrayed in the airport grounds effectively bars entry of the county’s largest minority to the ‘gateway’ of Israeli national space because such references are based on ethnicity.

Cite: Miles, Border Pedagogy in Israel

Miles, William F.S. “Border Pedagogy in Israel.” Middle East Journal 65.2 (2011): 253-277.





Sense of geographical place is an essential element in students’ understanding of their own place in the world. For a country such as Israel, with numerous neighbors with which it has had contentious relations, the idea of place and especially the conception of “borders” takes on an even greater importance. This article examines in detail the teaching of borders in the Israeli secondary school curriculum by examining the maps and language used to describe the country’s physical (and mental) borders.

Cite: Rozin, Israel and the Right to Travel Abroad


Rozin, Orit. "Israel and the Right to Travel Abroad, 1948–1961." Israel Studies 15,1 (2010): 147-176.



Today, no one questions that criminals, minors, or those seeking to shirk their civic duties may be restricted or even barred from leaving their respective countries. However, during the 1950s, several democratic countries, including Israel, restricted foreign travel by their citizens on other grounds. This article examines the right of departure policies of Israel in comparison with three models—Soviet, British, and American—which served Israeli policy makers as criteria in this regard. The policy promulgated by a country sheds light on its character, its society, and its perception of citizenship. The article not only describes the right to travel abroad as exercised in Israel, but also opens a window onto the conceptual world of those who set such policy.




Keywords: Freedom of Movement, Israel: Law, Israel: Tourism from, Emigration from Israel, History, Ideology, Israel: Economy

Cite: Shenhav, A Structural Analysis of Political Discourse


Shenhav, Shaul R. "Concise Narratives: A Structural Analysis of Political Discourse." Discourse Studies 7,3 (2005): 315-335.


Abstract: The article suggests a new framework for the structural analysis of political narratives using the concept of ‘concise narrative’. These are segments of a speech that contain its entire temporal range in a few paragraphs. Based on the analysis of Israeli ministerial discourse during the early years of the state, the article argues that these ‘concise narratives’ can shed light on the infrastructure of political narratives. A study of ‘concise narratives’ can also illuminate how political values, identities and ideologies are combined with day-to-day politics while being transferred from the speaker to his audience. The epilogue examines the intertextual relations between different political narratives, focusing on the transition of ‘concise narratives’ from the early days of Israeli politics to contemporary political discourse.




Keywords: ideologies • Israel • narrative • political discourse • politics • structural analysis, שאול שנהב

New Publication: Feige, Settling in the Hearts

Michael Feige. Settling in the Hearts. Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories. Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2009.


 Settling in the Hearts


Keywords: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Settlements and Settlers, Israel: Religion, Israel: Fundamentalism, Gush Emunim, Space / Spatial Theory, Memory, Ideology, Terrorism, Hebron, Gush Etzion, Peace: with Egypt, Settlements Evacuation, Gender, Feminism, History, Israel: Society

Cite: Arkush, From Diaspora Nationalism to Radical Diasporism


Arkush, Allan. "From Diaspora Nationalism to Radical Diasporism." Modern Judaism 29,3 (2009): 326-350.




Keywords: Jewish diaspora; Jewish nationalism; Judaism and politics; Israel: World Jewry relations; Zionism: Criticis; Identity; Ideology

Dissertation: Atalia Omer, How Does the Israeli Peace Camp Think about Religion, Nationalism and Justice?

Omer, Atalia. After Peace: How Does the Israeli Peace Camp Think about Religion, Nationalism and Justice? Ph.D. dissertation. Harvard University. 2008.

***** Abstract (Summary) *****

The dissertation analyzes the Israeli peace camp and how positions on the questions of the interrelation between religion and nationality relate to the interpretations of justice vis-à-vis the Palestinian predicament. The dissertation studies the ‘visions of peace’ and the ‘visions of citizenship’ articulated by groups as diverse as Peace Now, Gush Shalom, Netivot Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Israeli- Palestinian Balad political party and the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow. By drawing on recent scholarship which attempted to link ‘peace’ and ‘justice’ in a meaningful way, this work devises a set of dynamic criteria with which to evaluate each peace platform and its respective interpretation of justice. Challenging the modernist-secularist inclination to interpret ‘nationalism’ as a ‘religion surrogate’ or a structural analogue of religion, the underpinning theoretical point is that religion and nationalism are intricately related and thus cannot be viewed as dichotomous or antithetical. Hence, religious sources, vocabularies, institutions and leadership may function centrally in devising interpretations of culturally embedded secularity in zones of ethnonational contestations –a process which is referred to in this dissertation as the hermeneutics of citizenship.

Likewise, the dissertation emphasizes the critical importance of rearticulating subaltern voices and histories as a central dimension of conflict transformation and peacebuilding efforts. It accomplishes that by highlighting the counter-hegemonic cases of the Mizrahim (the "Arab Jews") and that of Palestinian-Israelis. Both the effort to centralize subaltern counter-narratives (including those of internal victims) and the insistence on the irreducibility of ‘religion’ to ‘nation’ suggest creative potentialities for thinking about questions of peace and justice in contexts of ethnoreligious national conflicts.

The dissertation further argues that the new field of inquiry and practice of ‘religion in peacebuilding’ overlooks the importance of introspecting the nexus between religion, nationalism and ethnicity as articulated and reproduced in zones characterized by ethnonational conflicts. This critique derives from this work’s recognition of (1) the persistent role of religion in the processes of imagining and reimagining the nation as suggested in Anthony Smith’s work on nationalism, (2) the potentially transformative and liberalizing role of ‘state’ institutions in moving away from exclusivist interpretations of nationhood toward increased inclusivity which, according to Anthony Marx’s study, has been the case in western Europe, (3) David Little and Scott Appleby’s notion of the ambivalence of the sacred and the irreducibility of the resources of religion to interpretations of nationalism, despite what might be suggested by nationalist rhetoric and (4) ongoing theoretical conversations which have challenged modernist interpretations of the ‘secular’ as representing the absence or diminishing presence of religion and as subsequently implying a neutral public sphere.

The central contention that emerges out of this scrutiny of the Israeli peace camp is that a just peace to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would necessitate (1) recognizing Zionism as a root cause of conflict and (2) partaking in a process of reimagining alternative interpretations of the ‘nation’, understood as a ‘political theology’. The two cases of the new Mizrahi discourse and of the Palestinian citizens of Israel were presented in order to underscore (1) why the ideology of Zionism may be viewed as a root cause of the conflict and (2) the structural and ideological interconnectedness between the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict and questions of social justice within Israel proper, (3) the importance of exploring and reclaiming subaltern counter-narratives in the process of introspecting and reimagining the national ethos,(4) the creative and empowering effectiveness of post-colonial and post-modern theoretical insights in de-naturalizing national claims and perceptions and (5) the relevance of international human rights conventions and theories of multiculturalism to thinking locally through the problem of peace and justice.

***** Indexing (document details) *****

Advisor:          Little, David

School:           Harvard University

School Location:  United States — Massachusetts

Keyword(s):       Religion and nationalism, Religion and peace, Religion and

                  conflict, Conflict transformation, Peace-building, Israeli-

                  Palestinian conflict, Religion, Nationalism, Justice

Source:           DAI-A 69/10, Apr 2009

Source type:      Dissertation

Subjects:         Religion, Middle Eastern history, Ethnic studies

Publication       AAT 3334832


ISBN:             9780549884880

Document URL:


ProQuest document 1617355791


Keywords: Israel-Palestinian Conflict; Peace Process, Atalia Omer, Zionism, Post-Colonialism, Human Rights, Religion, Justice, Nationalism, Patriotism

[Thanks to John Erlen, University of Pittsburgh for info]