New Article: Zanger, Between Homeland and Prisoners of War: Remaking Terror

Zanger, Anat. “Between Homeland and Prisoners of War: Remaking Terror.” Continuum 29.5 (2015): 731-42.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2015.1068733

 

Abstract

The Israeli series Prisoners of War (Hatufim, Keshet, Israel, Gideon Raff, 2009–2011) and Homeland (Showtime, US 2011–2013; developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series with Gideon Raff as one of the producers) is a special case of hypertextuality (Genette 1982). Both serial dramas revolve around prisoners of war who have returned home and their families, intelligence agency operatives and terror organizations operating behind the scenes. In these serializations of the thriller genre, narratives of paranoia and conspiracy render invisible terror visible on the screen. The focalization of the various plots and sub-plots as well as their reception spaces are different however. Prisoners of War tells the story of three soldiers who are kidnapped, held captive for 17 years and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder on their return home. The series was broadcast at a time when intensive negotiations were underway for the release of three IDF soldiers who had been kidnapped. Homeland, on the other hand, places centre stage a female CIA operative (Claire Danes) who suffers from bipolar disorder. The first season was broadcast in post-9/11 America while American soldiers were still fighting in Iraq. Both series therefore directly address their audiences and relate to the public sphere outside the studio. The reception of these texts incorporates their meaning as reconstructed by their publics. Thus, while both series involve a ritual of scapegoating as a means of resolving conflict, each reflects and produces its own repertoire of reality (‘realemes’). Interestingly, a traumatic excess is inscribed on both male and female bodies as each series rewrites its own society’s myth: the binding of Isaac in the Israeli Prisoners of War and Joan of Arc in the American Homeland.

 

 

ToC: Journal of Israeli History 34.2 (2015)

Journal of Israeli History, 34.2 (2015)

No Trinity: The tripartite relations between Agudat Yisrael, the Mizrahi movement, and the Zionist Organization
Daniel Mahla
pages 117-140

Judaism and communism: Hanukkah, Passover, and the Jewish Communists in Mandate Palestine and Israel, 1919–1965
Amir Locker-Biletzki
pages 141-158

Olei Hagardom: Between official and popular memory
Amir Goldstein
pages 159-180

Practices of photography on kibbutz: The case of Eliezer Sklarz
Edna Barromi Perlman
pages 181-203

The Shishakli assault on the Syrian Druze and the Israeli response, January–February 1954
Randall S. Geller
pages 205-220

Book Reviews

Editorial Board

New Article: Molad, Zionism: An Unfinished Revolution?

Molad, Yoni. “Zionism: An Unfinished Revolution?” Arena 44 (2015): 178-190.

 

URL: http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=512951196182719;res=IELAPA

 

Abstract

In a recent and fascinating study published in Israel, the history and achievements of Israeli – or Hebrew – modernist art, music, architecture and literature have been documented and discussed under the title ‘How Do You Say Modernism in Hebrew?’ Clearly, the authors and editors of the collection felt that, despite the rich modernist artistic heritage of modern Hebrew culture, the status of modernism in Israeli culture is still underappreciated or misunderstood and its rehabilitation is an important intellectual task. However, the editors did not explicitly raise any political consideration in their book. This essay seeks to address this question and argues that the modernist history of the Zionist movement needs to be re-examined in order to rehabilitate the universalist aspects of the project of Jewish nationalism that lie dormant in its intellectual heritage. This paper is not intended as a definitive statement and does not offer a detailed empirical or historical analysis but rather raises some theoretical and more generally philosophical questions based on what I take to be the ideological heritage of Zionist thought. I am aware that some of the following reflections may fall on deaf ears or even provoke hostile reactions due to the sensitivity of the topic, so I will try to be as clear as possible.

 

 

New Book: Lavie, from HaBurganim to In Treatment (in Hebrew)

Lavie, Noa. From HaBurganim to . Tel Aviv: Resling, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

Lavie

 

 

Against the flood of a global and local television genre considered “inferior” – “reality” TV – there are growing public, official, and scholarly voices who distinguish between purely commercial television and quality, or even artistic, television. The quality discourse, which originated in the United States, revolves mainly around serialized drama shows, which as a television genre is even a competitor to the cinema in its artistic innovation.

Israeli television is heavily influenced by this global quality discourse. Moreover, during the 1990s Israeli television was revolutionized with the privatization of the television market in Israel and the establishment of commercial TV channels and cable and satellite channels. This revolution enabled, in parallel with the institutionalization of the global quality discourse, the production of original Israeli TV drama series immeasurably higher than during the sole reign of the IBA. Accordingly, this book explores how the serialized television drama became a “quality” television genre which is treated as a work of art in every respect.

This book does not deny the possibility that there is such thing as “high art,” or television productions that bears artistic marks; but Noa Lavie’s sociological spotlight seeks to illumine the struggles and the social and organizational causes that defined, beginning in the 1990s and down to the first decade of the 2000s, drama series such as “The Bourgeois” or “In Treatment”, along with other series, as high-quality and artistic television. This is achieved through an analysis of interviews with prominent creators of television drama in Israel, analysis of TV reviews published in major newspapers, and an account of the institutional-organizational field and the technological, regulatory, and other changes it underwent in the early 1990s.

 

Dr. Noa Lavi is the head of the political communication division and a lecturer in the School of Government and Society at Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College.

 

 

 

New Book: Guez, Pre-Israeli Orientalism (in Hebrew)

Guez, Dor. Pre-Israeli Orientalism: A Photographic Portrait. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

15-2653f

 

 

This book explores the complexity of expression of Orientalist perceptions as it formed during the first three decades of the 20th century among the first waves of immigration. Photographs of the period, presenting the Jewish immigrants with oriental clothing and accessories, are impressed by the yearning to assimilate in the East and belong to an authentic native source an aspiration maintained but for a moment, until its collapse in the aftermath of the 1929 riots. Immigrants wanted to experience the east as a “reality” with which they were familiar prior to their arrival. Their experience was thus painted by the initial experience of representation. It was as if they walked into a carefully staged photograph, confined by its frame and its codes of interpretation. The immigrants arrived in the East, after “seeing” it countless times, envisioning it as an ancient homeland with which they that can easily renewed their ties.

The book focuses in particular photograph of Abraham Soskin, “Tel Aviv’s photographer.” It presents a comparative discussion of orientalist photographs of other Jewish photographers and photographs of local and European photographers of the era. The Pre-Israeli Orientalist gaze, as reflected in these photographs, is characterized by an ambivalent attitude to the East and the indigenous Palestinians. Members of the Zionist movements left Europe that marked them as Orientals and the Semitic race, and sought to adopt here local identity markers. At the same time, by referring to this identity they sought to establish their western superiority through the adoption of colonial and Eurocentric practices – thus gaining a sense of superiority that was deprived of them in Europe.
The photos studied in this book reveal the overt fantasy of Zionism while forming a the “New Jew.” Today they might stir curiosity, surprise, amusement or revulsion and even ethical and ideological rejections. These reactions raise questions concerning contemporary culture as much as they concern the culture of that time. They indicate that this is a particularly suitable platform for a multifaceted discussion on the formation of Zionist consciousness in contemporary contexts.

 

Dr. Dor Guez was born in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem. He is the founder of the Christian Palestinian Archive and serves as the chair of the Department of Photography at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. As a scholar and an artist who displays his work in Israel and abroad, he focuses on the link between cultural discourse and national, political, and social reality in the Middle East, while examining the role of contemporary art in the composition process of historical narratives.

 

 

 

New Article: Neuman, Al Mansfeld and the Interpretation of the Israel Museum

Neuman, Eran. “Al Mansfeld and the Interpretation of the Israel Museum.” Journal of Architecture 20.5 (2015): 803-30.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2015.1092166

 

Abstract

Over the past few decades, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem has been the subject of post-colonial interpretations which likened the organisation of the pavilions that make up the museum to the form of an Arab village. Focusing on the organisational and formal similarities between the museum and the typology of the Arab village, these interpretations propose that Israel, even before the 1967 War and the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, had already begun to appropriate Palestinian symbols. These interpretations often refer to drawings made by Al Mansfeld, the museum’s architect. This essay argues that while the post-colonial interpretations may be correct, they neglect to address yet another big influence on Mansfeld’s thinking when he conceptualised the Israel Museum in the late 1950s. During the early 1930s in Berlin, Mansfeld was a student of two German Expressionist architects, Hans Poelzig and Heinrich Tessenow. During these years, Mansfeld was exposed to expressionist ideas about architecture that later permeated his designs and artwork, including the design of the Israel Museum.

 

 

 

New Article: Levy, Dialectics of Legal Gambling in Israel

Levy, Moshe. “Rationalization and the Re-Enchantment of Play: the Dialectics of Legal Gambling in Israel.” Human Affairs 25.3 (2015): 317-26.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/humaff-2015-0026

 

Abstract

Romantic notions and critical theories of play describe an assault by rationalization processes on the free and spontaneous nature of play. Other theories seek to describe the dialectical nature between rationalization and freedom, between routine, and magic, and between planning and spontaneity. This article seeks to focus on the rationalization processes of play and to examine whether and in what dimensions, these processes shape the characteristics of play and hamper its spontaneity and freedom. Examination of these processes, performed by socio-historical analysis of legal gambling in Israel, shows that rationalization processes were active on both the practical and technological levels, and on the discursive level of the games of chance. Nevertheless, the characteristics of freedom, joy and spontaneity appeared only on the discursive level of the game and were designed to deliberately serve the economic interests of the various agents in the Israeli gambling field.

 

 

Conference: Reinventing Israel. Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century (American U, Washington, Oct 28-29, 2015)

reinventing

For full program [PDF], click here.

Please Join The Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies Program next week for our Reinventing Israel conference!
FREE WITH 
RSVP (by session).


Featured presentations include
:
“From BG to Bibi: The End of an Era in Israel-Diaspora Relations?” by David Ellenson
 
Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 PM
 
Keynote address to kick off “Reinventing Israel: Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century” conference.  Ellenson is director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University and Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Location: SIS Building Abramson Family Founders Room.  (Free parking in SIS Building garage)   

“Reinventing Israel: Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century” conference featuring international scholars and AU faculty
 
Thursday, October 29, all-day 

Sessions featuring History and Memory, Economy and Hi-Tech, Politics and Law, Religion and Ethnicity.  

Location: Butler Board Room (Floor 6 of Butler Pavilion).
Pre-paid parking by kiosk (on level P-1 by elevator – note parking space number) in Katzen Arts Center or SIS Building Garage (free after 5:00 PM).   

Imagining Israel in 2035 – Different Visions
 
Thursday, October 29 7:30 PM  
 
With Fania Oz-Salzberger (University of Haifa) Mohammed Wattad (Zefat College, UC Irvine) James Loeffler (University of Virginia) Moderator: Michael Brenner (AU). 

Location: Butler Board Room.  Free parking after 5:00 PM in all university parking garages.   

New Book: Eshet, The Interest in UFOs and Extraterrestrials in Israeli Society (in Hebrew)

Eshet, Techia. For Their Eyes Only. The Interest in UFOs and Extraterrestrials in Israeli Society. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

Eshet

 

 

In the last decade of the 20th century, more than fifty years since the first report of a “flying saucer” in the United States, there has been a growing interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials in Western culture in general and in Israel in particular. At times it seems that spacecrafts have landed in Israel en masse and thousands of extraterrestrials have conquered every part of its culture: the TV screens, daily newspapers, websites and billboards. The interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials, which flourished in Israel in various arenas during the 1990s, is discussed in this book in the context of addressing issues of identity and otherness.

This offers a different and fascinating perspective in a an extraordinary and innovative field of study; a “different” world, which is ostensibly distant, but in fact is close in many ways. “Glimpsing” into the world of those dealing with UFOs and extraterrestrials reveals not only this unique and intriguing subculture, but also very sheds light on the local and global culture of which we are all apart. The employment of extraterrestrial otherness reflects in this book the culture at large, including the changes and transformations that have taken place in Israeli society, alongside an observation of existential issues and concepts related to time, space, body and human existence. This gripping journey into the intricacies of the other and the marginal demonstrates that the preoccupation with the other, the cosmic, and the alien enables the strengthening of the relationship to the present and the local. In addition, the book discusses major cultural issues such as religion, politics, internal and external divides and conflicts, and pseudo-science.

To Their Eyes Only is based on anthropological research conducted within the framework of a doctoral thesis written by Techia Eshet. The study, which lasted several years, included Participant observations in conferences of “the Israeli Center for UFO Research” and in clinics offering treatment through extraterrestrials, along with interviews with practitioners in the field, and analysis of reports on evidence about seeing a UFO sightings or extraterrestrial encounters.

Techia (Thea) Eshet is a doctor of anthropology; Lecturer at the University of Haifa.
.

New Article: Kraemer, Waltz with Bashir: Trauma and Representation in the Animated Documentary

Kraemer, Joseph A. “Waltz with Bashir (2008): Trauma and Representation in the Animated Documentary.” Journal of Film and Video 67.3-4 (2015): 57-68.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_film_and_video/v067/67.3-4.kraemer.html

 

Excerpt

Waltz with Bashir, in its final minutes, seems to fall within this trap of showing the modern condition of the world at its worst, the trauma of human suffering, as something that can be contained and distilled down to the most dramatic, visceral document of the massacre possible—the archival video clip—which somehow can satisfactorily sum up the truth of that calamity. In this way, the film betrays the momentum toward a truly authentic representation of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, where the film was headed before its final, non-animated sequence. Folman’s assertion that his remembrance and rediscovered ability to know and take possession of the traumatic event would set him free from the amnesia he suffered, to say nothing of the trauma of those families left behind to mourn their dead, seems inaccurate and misguided.

 

 

New Article: Burstein, Israeli Mothers in Film

Burstein, Janet H. “Israeli Mothers in Film: ‘Re-visioning’ Culture, Engendering Autonomy.” Shofar 34.1 (2015): 57-80.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v034/34.1.burstein.html

 

Abstract

In many Israeli films, mothers play conventional supporting roles. But several critically important films made between the 1970s and the first decade of the new century become culturally reflexive as they feature mothers who become the interface between family and culture. In part, these films clarify the difference between satisfying cultural expectations, and living satisfactory personal lives. In part these films perform what Adrienne Rich called a “re-visioning” of cultural assumptions through their effects on mothers. The first section of this paper examines gendered cultural assumptions common to the state’s early decades. In the second section, seven films set in those decades mark maternal vulnerability to cultural imperatives apparently nourished by gendered assumptions. In the third section, four films by one filmmaker look back at a family’s past and move beyond it. Having “re-visioned” the cultural intersection in which one mother suffered and broke down, this filmmaker’s protagonists struggle through the first three films with the residue of the maternal ordeal; the repetitions and differences that figure in their memory of the personal past suggest the affective burden carried by recollective narrative. The protagonist of the fourth film in this series moves past personal remembering toward a more general understanding of mental distress that will engender her autonomy.

 

 

Events: Jewish Review of Books, Conversations on Jewish Future (Oct 18, 2015)

Image

JRB-future

New Article: Monterescu & Schickler, Jews, Palestinians and the Alternative Cultural Scene in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Monterescu, Daniel, and Miriam Schickler. “Creative Marginality. Jews, Palestinians and the Alternative Cultural Scene in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.” Ethnologie française 45.2 (2015): 293-308.

 

URL: http://www.cairn-int.info/article-E_ETHN_152_0293–creative-marginality-jews.htm    [click here for PDF]

 

Abstract

Traditionally viewed as the “back yard” of Israel’s urban landscape, ethnically mixed towns have been predominantly studied in light of the marginality paradigm, which neglects to recognize these spaces as social places, namely as life worlds in and of themselves. Drawing on archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Jaffa, we propose a relational anthropological approach to the problématique of marginality and pluralism in Jewish-Arab cities. These are seen not as unidimensional sites of hyper-segregation but rather as spaces of creative marginality, which paradoxically challenge the nationalist spatial hegemony (both Palestinian and Zionist). Examining the everyday enactment of alterity we show how marginality and exclusion become precisely the driving force behind one of Israel’s most creative back stages.

 

Published in English and French, with abstracts in English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic.

 

New Article: Bar-Yosef, Heart of Darkness in Israeli Culture

Bar-Yosef, Eitan. “‘The Horror’ in Hebrew. Heart of Darkness in Israeli Culture.” Interventions (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2015.1079499

 

Abstract

Tracing the intricate presence of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in Israeli culture, this essay explores how elements of the novella (the journey to Africa, the iconic Kurtz, and the nature of ‘darkness’) have been repeatedly evoked, both implicitly and explicitly, in various cultural contexts. Focusing on three major episodes – the emergence of political Zionism in the 1890s; young Israel’s intensive involvement in Black Africa in the 1960s; and the pessimism that engulfed Israeli society after the 1973 war – the essay suggests that the novella’s relevance to Israeli culture is rooted in the work’s fluid allegorical mode, which parallels tensions and contradictions that have characterized the Zionist project from its inception. This mirroring reached a climax in the journalistic work of Adam Baruch, who offered a highly stylized postcolonial reworking of Heart of Darkness in his influential account of a journey undertaken to find a disgraced Israeli general, self-exiled in Africa. The search for the Israeli ‘Kurtz’ thus continues to function as a powerful emblem of Israel’s colonial violence.

 

 

New Article: Lavie & Dhoest, Quality Television in the Making

Lavie, Noa, and Alexander Dhoest. “‘Quality Television’ in the Making: The Cases of Flanders and Israel.” Poetics (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2015.08.006

 

Abstract

This article discusses the properties of ‘quality television’ as constructed within the field of television production. It does so by analyzing the discourse of television creators and critics in two countries, Israel and Flanders, taking a theoretical approach based in part on Bourdieusian theory. Most academic work about ‘quality television’ concentrates on Anglo-American television drama series. In this paper we offer a different perspective by focusing on two small but prosperous television markets outside of the Anglo-American world. Our findings suggest that the quality discourse in both countries contains autonomous-artistic alongside heteronomous-capitalist ideological elements, apparently under the influence of the Anglo-American discourse of quality. Our findings also suggest that both ideological elements contribute to the cultural legitimation of the television drama series in both countries, though the capitalist discourse plays a more evident role among creators than among critics. Finally, we also discuss the differences between the Flemish and the Israeli discourses of ‘quality television.’

 

 

Reviews: Helman, Becoming Israeli

Helman, Anat. Becoming Israeli. National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s, Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2014.

9781611685572
Reviews

    • Burghardt, Linda F.”Review.” Jewish Book Council, n.d.
    • Bernstein, Deborah. “Review.” Journal of Israeli History (early view; online first).
    • Hirsch, Dafna. “Review.” Israel Studies Review 30.2 (2015).

 

 

New Book: Yacobi, Israel and Africa

Yacobi, Haim. Israel and Africa. A Genealogy of Moral Geography, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Geography. New York: Routledge, 2015.

 

9781138902374

 

Through a genealogical investigation of the relationships between Israel and Africa, this book sheds light on the processes of nationalism, development and modernization, exploring Africa’s role as an instrument in the constant re-shaping of Zionism. Through looking at “Israel in Africa” as well as “Africa in Israel”, it provides insightful analysis on the demarcation of Israel’s ethnic boundaries and identity formation as well as proposing the different practices, from architectural influences to the arms trade, that have formed the geopolitical concept of “Africa”. It is through these practices that Israel reproduces its internal racial and ethnic boundaries and spaces, contributing to its geographical imagination as detached not solely from the Middle East but also from its African connections.

This book would be of interest to students and scholars of Middle East and Jewish Studies, as well as Post-colonial Studies, Geography and Architectural History.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Family Album

Part One: Israel in Africa
Chapter 1: Africa’s Decade
Chapter 2: The Architecture of Foreign Policy

Part Two: Africa in Israel
Chapter 3: Consuming, Reading, Imagining
Chapter 4: North Africa in Israel
Chapter 5: The Racialization of Space

Part Three: Israel in Africa II
Chapter 6: Back to Africa

Conclusion

Haim Yacobi is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

 

 

Reviews: Ben-Porat, Between State and Synagogue

Ben-Porat, Guy. Between State and Synagogue: The Secularization of Contemporary Israel. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

 

BenPoratSecularization

Reviews

    • Lassen, Amos. “The Times They Are A-Changing.” Reviews by Amos Lassen, April 7, 2013.
    • Tabory, Ephraim. “Review.” Middle East Journal 67.4 (2013): 646-7.
    • Omer, Atalia. “Review.” American Journal of Sociology 119.5 (2014): 1518-1520.
    • Sorek, Tamir. “Review.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46.2 (2015): 421-2.
    • Weiss, Shayna. “Review.” Journal of Church and State 57.3 (2015): 565-7.
    • Hollander, Philip. “Judaism in Israel.” VCU Menorah Review 82 (Winter/Spring 2015).

 

 

 

New Book: Raviv, Falafel Nation

Raviv, Yael. Falafel Nation. Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel, Studies of Jews in Society. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

falafel-nation

 

When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Raviv’s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the “Jewish State” and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region. How do we interpret the recent upsurge in the Israeli culinary scene—the transition from ideological asceticism to the current deluge of fine restaurants, gourmet stores, and related publications and media?

Focusing on the period between the 1905 immigration wave and the Six-Day War in 1967, Raviv explores foodways from the field, factory, market, and kitchen to the table. She incorporates the role of women, ethnic groups, and different generations into the story of Zionism and offers new assertions from a secular-foodie perspective on the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. A study of the changes in food practices and in attitudes toward food and cooking, Falafel Nation explains how the change in the relationship between Israelis and their food mirrors the search for a definition of modern Jewish nationalism.

Yael Raviv is the director of the Umami food and art festival in New York City. She has a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. Her work has appeared in Women and Performance, Gastronomica, and elsewhere.