ToC: Israel Affairs, 23.2 (2017)

Israel Affairs 23.2 (2017)

Table of Contents

Articles

Book Reviews

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New Article: Wiseman, Eternal Peace, a Satire by S.Y. Agnon

Wiseman, Laura R. “Shelom ‘Olamim—Eternal Peace by S.Y. Agnon: Yishuv-Era Society on the Brink of Statehood .” Modern Judaism 36.2 (2016): 163-85.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mj/kjw007

 

Extract

This 1942 satire is set in the period of Israel’s emergent statehood. Agnon delivers a critique of pre-statehood society and leadership at the nadir of drought, wrapped up in self-importance and internal rifts over inconsequential matters while the very existence of the people is threatened from without. While there is room for historical or theoretical examinations of such a story, this article adopts a literary approach for its methodology. It employs textual analysis to highlight a cluster of literary devices including a leitmotif, reverberations of classical Hebrew texts, and exaggerations. Together they animate the scathing satire in this period piece. To deploy the irony in Shelom ‘Olamim–“Eternal Peace” Agnon installs each rhetorical device and echo in an inverted or perceptibly flawed fashion, and magnifies minutiae to hyperbolic proportions. In so doing he crafts a game of nahafokh-hu a topsy-turvy puzzle, making his medium the message. The puzzle and its pieces carry the storyteller’s caustic criticism of the inverted priorities and unwarranted hubris of the leaders of yishuv-era society on the brink of statehood. In contributing a thesis based on textual analysis, an allegorical translation of the ambiguous Hebrew title, and fresh translations of selected excerpts, this article offers English-readers access to the humor and irony embedded in Agnon’s multivalent Hebrew writing and word play.

 

 

 

New Article: Meiton, Electrifying Jaffa

Meiton, Fredrik. “Electrifying Jaffa: Boundary-Work and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Past & Present (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtw002

 
Extract

In the summer of 1923 the Russian-born Jewish engineer Pinhas Rutenberg threw the switch at Mandate Palestine’s first electrical distribution system, lighting up a portion of Allenby Street in Tel Aviv. It was the first step in an endeavour that, according to Rutenberg, was ‘destined to become the most important instrument for the sound development of the country’. The local British government in Jerusalem agreed, as did Whitehall. Major Hubert Young of the Middle East Department predicted that ‘the successful inauguration of Mr. Rutenberg’s schemes will do more than anything else to pacify Palestine, facilitate immigration, and develop the country’. The excitement was echoed among Tel Aviv’s Jewish residents. To them, the roadside pylons could not multiply fast enough. To the Palestinians in neighbouring Jaffa, however, the grid’s expansion was a mixed blessing. The high-tension cable wound its way into town with promises of modernity and the creature comforts of civilized life, but it also signalled the encroachment of Jewish nationalism on Arab Palestine. A significant portion of the Palestinian Arab community was staunchly opposed to Rutenberg’s electrification, and a few weeks before the lights went on along Allenby Street, an angry crowd made its way through the city chanting ‘The lamp-posts of Rutenberg are the gallows of our nation’.

This article argues that electrification played a part in making Palestine an object of nationalist contention, and that properties of the technology itself had a fundamental and lasting impact on the character and strategies of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. Far from being part of a neutral backdrop, then, the process of electricity generation and distribution was inherently political.

 

 

New Book: Kedar, Chaim Weizmann. Scientist, Statesman and Architect of Science Policy

ב”ז קדר, עורך. חיים ויצמן – המדען, המדינאי ומדינאי-המדע . ירושלים: האקדמיה הלאומית הישראלית למדעים, 2015.
weitzman

 

This collection of essays is based on the lectures delivered at a conference held on 8 January 2013 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the death of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, scientist and statesman.

 

Table of Contents
דברי פתיחה / יהושע יורטנר — מבוא: חיים וייצמן – המדען והמדינאי / ב”ז קדר — הכימיה האורגנית של וייצמן באקדמיה והתעשייה בראשית המאה העשרים / יהושע יורטנר — מדיניות המדע של וייצמן כמסד הביקוש המתמשך למצוינות מדעית במערך המחקר הישראלי / שאול כ”ץ — וייצמן והאוניברסיטה העברית / חדוה בן-ישראל — הון או גאון: המאבק של וייצמן ואיינשטיין על מצוינות אקדמית באוניברסיטה העברית / יששכר אונא — מכון וייצמן למדע – מצבה חיה וראויה למכונן המחקר המדעי בישראל / רות ארנון — תיאור פגישתם הראשונה של וייצמן ובלפור, 1906 – אגדה או מציאות? / ב”ז קדר — וייצמן – צמיחתו של מדינאי / שלמה אבינרי — וייצמן ועמיתיו המדענים בגרמניה – אתגרים ודוגמה אישית / שולמית וולקוב — ‬
‫ וייצמן והערבים / בני מוריס — וייצמן – מדע יישומי ופטנטים / רפאל משולם — תגלית הצלולוזום: בעקבות חזון הדלק הביולוגי של וייצמן / רפאל למד ואד באייר — קטעים גנוזים בענייני מדע וטיוטות האוטוביוגרפיה trail and error — דברי נעילה / יהושע יורטנר.

New Article: Goren, The Jews of Jaffa at the Time of the Arab Revolt

Goren, Tamir. “The Jews of Jaffa at the Time of the Arab Revolt: The Emergence of The Demand for Annexation.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 15.2 (2016): 267-81.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14725886.2015.1090113

 

Abstract

The outbreak of the 1936 riots immediately motivated the Jews of Jaffa to sever their ties with that city in favour of annexation to Tel Aviv. This demand became one of the thorniest and most sensitive problems on the local level, and engaged the British authorities right up to the end of the Mandate. It also became a concern of the highest order for the institutions of the yishuv, bound up with the Zionist struggle as a whole. This article focuses on the origin of the problem and its treatment from 1936 to 1939. The activity of the Jewish side is studied as being in conflict with that of the British and Arab side. From the outset, a solution hardly seemed likely. As long as the authorities preferred a policy of non-involvement, the issue remained a quarrel between the Jews and the Arabs. Although this period ended without any progress towards a settlement, it produced several notable gains for the Jewish side that formed a basis for continued action towards annexation in the years to come.

 

 

 

New Article: Salmon, Akiva Yosef Schlesinger—A Forerunner of Zionism or of Ultra-Orthodoxy

Salmon, Yosef. “Akiva Yosef Schlesinger—A Forerunner of Zionism or a Forerunner of Ultra-Orthodoxy.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 15.2 (2016): 171-87.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14725886.2015.1111549

 

Abstract

Rabbi Akiva Yosef Schlesinger (Pressburg 1838—Jerusalem 1922) is considered by some scholars to be a forerunner of ultra-Orthodoxy, but by others as a forerunner of Zionism. This article unravels this enigmatic personality, demonstrating that he was indeed a forerunner of ultra-Orthodoxy who was motivated by a complete rejection of modernity and promoted religious positions that were more radical than those of the Hatam Sofer. Those who associate Schlesinger with Zionism are misled by the fact that he encountered fierce opposition from his Hungarian colleagues and from the “Yishuv hayashan” in Jerusalem, advocated the use of the Hebrew language and promoted a “settlement” programme in Palestine. The article suggests that Schlesinger’s programme was in reality designed to create a sacred utopian society, and was motivated by his desire to isolate the traditional Jewish community from modernity, rather than by a nationalist ideology. Furthermore, the opposition of the Jerusalem rabbis to Schlesinger’s ideas was based largely on his unusual religious positions and his suggestion that the youth should be engaged in work. In analysing Schlesinger’s legacy, the article also clarifies the distinctions between ultra-Orthodoxy and Zionism, as well as some common elements that they share.

 

 

 

CFP: Jewish horticultural schools in Germany and their impact on Palestine / Israel

Call for Papers: Jewish horticultural and agricultural schools / training centers in Germany and their impact on horticulture, agriculture and landscape architecture in Palestine / Israel 

Place: Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem

Date: September 26, 2016

Deadline: April 30, 2016

In the course of the late 19th and early 20th century, more than 30 Jewish horticultural and agricultural training centers and schools (Hachshara) were established in Germany to train Jews from Germany and other European countries, particularly Eastern Europe. While these institutions aimed to prepare their graduates to emigrate from Germany, they also reflected the lure of the students toward the local land and landscape, a topic which was relative neglected in the emerging research field of ‘everyday history’(Alltagsgeschichte) of Jewish life in Germany. Upon arriving in Palestine, graduates of these centers were involved in establishing new settlements, led agricultural and horticultural activities, pioneered agricultural education, and practiced landscape architecture. Nevertheless, in contrast to the rich documentation of the role of the “Yekkes” in the country’s development, there is surprisingly little research on this group’s contribution to the emergence of the local landscape.

Our research explores the scopes, goals, and contribution of these German educational institutions. It documents the history of the schools and training centers, their curricula, and the actual work and life of their students. In parallel we investigate the impact of these graduates, after their arrival in Palestine, on the local landscape. We explore their landscape perceptions, their settlement projects (mainly in the Kibbutzim but not exclusively), and their contributions to the fields of agriculture, horticulture, and landscape architecture.
On September 26, 2016 we will hold a workshop in Jerusalem, organized together with the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem, in order to bring together German and Israeli researchers to discuss these issues and exchange knowledge and ideas. We invite scholars of all disciplines, including but not limited to architecture, horticulture, agriculture, the humanities, and the social sciences, to send proposals for papers addressing the research topics and related issues.

Interested scholars are invited to send an abstract of 300 words and a short bio of 100 words to Sharon Gordon sharon.n.gordon@gmail.com.

We encourage scholars to send full papers or work in progress prior to the workshop, though such exchange will not be obligatory.

Due date is 30/4/2016.

CFP: AJS 2016, “Socio-Political Boundaries in the Yishuv”

I am seeking participants and papers for a panel on social, political, and cultural boundaries and boundary making in the Zionist Yishuv.  This could include work on the analysis, perception, depiction, destruction or creation of boundaries in the areas of political policy, language, labor organization, religion, art, literature, or other areas.  The panel will focus on the basis and strength of boundaries as indicators of socio-political goals, values, and challenges in this period and their ramifications for future periods. The goal of this panel is to foster conversation and connections on the latest research in Israel Studies on the pre-state period.

Please contact me at aemarino@ucdavis.edu if you are interested in presenting a paper or serving as a chair or respondent.  I am open to revising the panel proposal to fit more closely with participants’ interests.  Since I am a graduate student this panel needs at least one presenter who is a faculty, so faculty proposals are especially welcome.  Thanks in advance.

Lecture: Gribetz, Religion, Race, & The Early Zionist-Arab Encounter (Berkeley, March 17, 2016)

Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

Thursday, March 17
PUBLIC LECTURE
DEFINING NEIGHBORS: Religion, Race, & The Early Zionist-Arab Encounter 
Jonathan Gribetz
Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies, Princeton University
5:30 PM Reception, 6 PM Lecture
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley

New Article: Etkin, The Creation of the Tel Aviv Zoological Garden Animal Collection

Etkin, Elia.”The Ingathering of (Non-Human) Exiles: The Creation of the Tel Aviv Zoological Garden Animal Collection, 1938–1948.” Journal of Israeli History (early view; online first).
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13531042.2016.1140904
 
Abstract

This article examines the formation of the animal collection at the Tel Aviv zoological garden. Using Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, the article analyzes the images and practices of animal importation. It shows that in spite of the importance of Zionist enthusiasm in driving the establishment of the Tel Aviv zoo, and the attribution of Zionist vocabulary to animals living in it, its significance cannot be reduced to Zionist ideology and practice. The zoo’s animal collection was the product of the specific historical, colonial-imperial circumstances formed under the British Mandate. The gathering of the animals reflects the indispensable British contribution to the development of cultural endeavors in Palestine, and the coexistence of British and Zionist aspirations.

 

 

 

New Article: Omer & Zafrir-Reuven, The Development of Street Patterns in Israeli Cities

Omer, Itzhak, and Orna Zafrir-Reuven. “The Development of Street Patterns in Israeli Cities.” Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis 7.2 (2015): 113-27.

ְְ 

URL: http://www.jurareview.ro/2015_7_2/a1_72.pdf [PDF]

 

Abstract

Street patterns of Israeli cities were investigated by comparing three time periods of urban development: (I) the late 19th century until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948; (II) 1948 until the 1980s; and (III) the late 1980s until the present. These time periods are related respectively to the pre-modern, modern and late-modern urban planning approach. Representative urban street networks were examined in selected cities by means of morphological analysis of typical street pattern properties: curvature, fragmentation, connectivity, continuity and differentiation. The study results reveal significant differences between the street patterns of the three examined periods in the development of cities in Israel. The results show clearly the gradual trends in the intensification of curvature, fragmentation, complexity and hierarchical organization of street networks as well as the weakening of the network’s internal and external connectivity. The implications of these changes on connectivity and spatial integration are discussed with respect to planning approaches.

 

 

 

New Book: Sasley and Waller, Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society

Sasley, Brent E., and Harold M. Waller. Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

 
9780199335060
 

This is the first textbook on Israel to utilize a historical-sociological approach, telling the story of Israeli politics rather than simply presenting a series of dry facts and figures. The book emphasizes six specific dimensions of the conduct of Israeli politics: the weight of historical processes, the struggle between different groups over how to define the country’s identity, changing understandings of Zionism, a changing political culture, the influence of the external threat environment, and the inclusive nature of the democratic process. These themes offer students a framework to use for understanding contemporary political events within the country. Politics in Israel also includes several chapters on topics not previously addressed in competing texts, including historical conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism in Israel, the politics of the Arab minority, and interest groups and political protest.

 

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION
Chapter 1: Israel in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Studying Israel
Israel in a Comparative Framework
Major Themes of the Book
A Note on Terminology
 
PART I: HISTORICAL PROCESSES
Chronology of Key Events
Chapter 2: Zionism and the Origins of Israel
Jewish History before Zionism
The Jewish Predicament in the 19th Century
The Founding of the Zionist Movement
Implications of Zionism
Herzl’s Path to Zionism
Organizing the Zionist Movement
Zionist Ideologies
The Palestine Mandate
Summary
 
Chapter 3: Yishuv Politics during the Mandate Period
Constructing a Jewish Society
Development of a Party System
Conflict between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine
Deteriorating Zionist-British Relations
The End of the Mandate
The Mandate Period in Perspective
Summary
 
Chapter 4: State Building After 1948
Mamlachtiut
The Political Arena
Defense
Education
Economy
Personal Status Issues
Other State-Building Efforts
Summary
 
PART II: ISRAELI SOCIETY
Chapter 5: Political Culture and Demography

The Pre-State Period
Foundational Values of the State
Changes since 1967
From Collectivism to Individualism
Political Culture in the Arab Community
Demography
Summary
 
Chapter 6: Religion and Politics
Religion and the Idea of a Jewish State
Setting the Parameters of the Religion-State Relationship
Growing Involvement in Politics
Issues in Religion-State Relations after 2000
Religious Parties and Coalition Politics
Summary
 
Chapter 7: The Politics of the Arab Minority
What’s in a Name?
Changing Politics of the Community
Jewish Attitudes toward the Arab Minority
Arab Leaders and the Arab Public
Voter turnout
Sayed Kashua as Barometer?
Summary
 
PART III: THE POLITICAL PROCESS
Chapter 8: The Electoral System

The Development of an Electoral System
Election Laws
Parties and Lists
Electoral Reforms
Summary
 
Chapter 9: Political Parties and the Party System
Party Clusters
Leftist Parties
Rightist Parties
Religious Parties
Arab Parties
Center or “Third” Parties
Ethnic or Special Issues Parties
Party Organization
Summary
 
Chapter 10: Voting Patterns
Four Main Issues
Demographic Factors
Voter Turnout
Electoral Trends
Summary
 
Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Political Protest
Changing Access in the Israeli Political System
Interest Groups
Political Protest
Summary
 
PART IV: INSTITUTIONS
Chapter 12: The Knesset

Structure of the Knesset
Legal Aspects
Knesset Members
Functions and Powers of the Knesset
Relationship to the Government
Summary
 
Chapter 13: The Government
The Government at the Center of the System
Powers of the Government
Forming a Government
Maintaining and Running a Government
Relations with the Knesset
The President of the State
Summary
 
Chapter 14: The Judiciary and the Development of Constitutional Law
The Judicial System
Structure of the Court System
The Religious Court System
The Attorney General
Basic Laws: A Constitution in the Making?
Interpreting the Constitution
Summary
 

PART V: POLITICS AND POLICYMAKING
Chapter 15: Political Economy

Ideas about Economic Development in the Yishuv
A State(ist) Economy
Likud and the Free Market
Structural Weaknesses
Summary
 
Chapter 16: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Three Levels of Threat Perception
Israel’s Threat Environment
Hawks and Doves in the Political System
The Defense Establishment
Public Opinion
Summary
 
PART VI: THE TRANSFORMATiON OF ISRAELI POLITICS
Chapter 17: The Changing Political Arena
A More Complex Society
An Economic Transformation
Transformation of the Security Situation
The Israeli-Palestinian Relationship
Dampening of Ideology
Political Culture and the Party System
The Passing of a Heroic Generation
A More Consequential Arab Sector
The Transformation of the Judiciary
Change versus Continuity
 
Chapter 18: Confronting the Meaning of a Jewish State
The Political Question: What is Jewish and Democratic?
The Social Question: Who Belongs?
The Academic Question: Whose Historiography?
Conclusion
 
Appendices
Glossary
Bibliography

 

BRENT E. SASLEY is Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Texas at Arlington.
HAROLD M. WALLER is Professor of Political Science at McGill University.

ToC: Israel Affairs 22.1 (2016)

Israel Affairs, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2016 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles Sixty-two years of national insurance in Israel
Abraham Doron
Pages: 1-19 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111632

Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz movement
Reuven Shapira
Pages: 20-44 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111640

Making war, thinking history: David Ben-Gurion, analogical reasoning and the Suez Crisis
Ilai Z. Saltzman
Pages: 45-68 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111638

 
Military power and foreign policy inaction: Israel, 1967‒1973
Moshe Gat
Pages: 69-95 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111636
Arab army vs. a Jewish kibbutz: the battle for Mishmar Ha’emek, April 1948
Amiram Ezov
Pages: 96-125 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111633
Lip-service to service: the Knesset debates over civic national service in Israel, 1977–2007
Etta Bick
Pages: 126-149 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111630
State‒diaspora relations and bureaucratic politics: the Lavon and Pollard affairs
Yitzhak Mualem
Pages: 150-171 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111637
Developing Jaffa’s port, 1920‒1936
Tamir Goren
Pages: 172-188 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111634
University, community, identity: Ben-Gurion University and the city of Beersheba – a political cultural analysis
Yitzhak Dahan
Pages: 189-210 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111631
The Palestinian/Arab Strategy to Take Over Campuses in the West – Preliminary Findings
Ron Schleifer
Pages: 211-235 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111639
Identity of immigrants – between majority perceptions and self-definition
Sibylle Heilbrunn, Anastasia Gorodzeisky & Anya Glikman
Pages: 236-247 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111635
Book Reviews
Jabotinsky: a life
David Rodman
Pages: 248-249 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.112095

Ethos clash in Israeli society
David Rodman
Pages: 250-251 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120967

Nazis, Islamists and the making of the modern Middle East
David Rodman
Pages: 252-254 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120968
The new American Zionism
David Rodman
Pages: 255-257 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120969
Rise and decline of civilizations: lessons for the Jewish people
David Rodman
Pages: 258-259 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120970

New Article: Rein & Ofer, Jewish Volunteers from Palestine in the Spanish Civil War

Rein, Raanan, and Inbal Ofer. “Becoming Brigadistas: Jewish Volunteers from Palestine in the Spanish Civil War.” European History Quarterly 46.1 (2016): 92-112.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265691415620956

 

Abstract

Nearly two hundred men and women left Mandatory Palestine between the years 1936–1938 in order to defend the Second Spanish Republic. Despite the expressions of solidarity with the Spanish Republic, most of the political parties in the Jewish Yishuv were against sending youth from Palestine to join the International Brigades. The goal of strengthening the Jewish presence in Palestine was given priority over and above international solidarity or the anti-Fascist struggle. Therefore, most of the volunteers were Jewish members of the Palestine Communist Party.

This article relies on autobiographical writings, individual testimonies and personal correspondence, analysed here for the first time. It is here that the private voices of the Jewish men and women who left Palestine in order to fight against the nationalist rebellion in Spain ring more clearly. The paper examines the history of these Jewish volunteers, their motivations, and the process that they went through from the time they left Palestine until they became active members of the International Brigades.

As Communists, most volunteers who left Palestine to fight in Spain tended to emphasize the international solidarity of the working class and similar universalistic motivations. The idea of affirming their Jewish identity was alien to them. Reading their letters and testimonies, however, it becomes clear that their ethnic identity as Jews was certainly a key factor in their decision to risk their lives in the Spanish fratricide.

 

 

 

New Article: Suwaed, Disputed Land and the Struggle for Ownership

Suwaed, Muhammad. “The Wadi al-Hawarith affair (Emek Hefer): Disputed Land and the Struggle for Ownership: 1929–33.” Middle Eastern Studies 52.1 (2016): 135-52.
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2015.1082471
 
Abstract

The Wadi al-Hawarith (Emek Hefer) affair was considered to be one of the prominent land disputes between Jews and Arabs in Palestine during the British mandate period. The region in which the dispute broke out was found south of Hadera in Emek Hefer.

The purchase of lands of Wadi al-Hawarith, by Jewish bodies, had already started at the end of the nineteenth century and continued for four decades, and during this there were disputes between the Jews and Arabs, which were accompanied by legal hearings.

The Jewish National Fund tried to reach an arrangement by means of compensation for the Bedouin tenants who dwelled on the lands of the valley, in exchange for their willingness to leave the territory. From time to time, the Bedouins agreed to this, but they went back on their agreement.

Despite the effort to reach compensation arrangements with the Bedouins, the Palestinian political leadership was interested in inflaming the opposition of the Bedouins to leaving the land. This is what caused a long string of trials, which continued for many years.

 

 

 

New Article: Gallas, Restoration of Looted Cultural Property in Early Postwar Europe

Gallas, Elisabeth. “Locating the Jewish Future: The Restoration of Looted Cultural Property in Early Postwar Europe”. Naharaim 9.1-2 (2015): 25-47.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/naha-2015-0001

Abstract

At the end of World War II Allied soldiers found an unexpected amount of looted cultural property on German territory, property that had originally belonged to Jewish institutions and private owners from all over Europe. To take care of this precious booty the American Military Government for Germany organized an unprecedented initiative in cultural restitution. However, since most of the Jewish treasures found were heirless, traditional legislation based on bilateral intergovernmental regulations was insufficient for the task of finding just restitution solutions and meeting Jewish collective interests. In 1949, after complex legal negotiations, the New York based corporation Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (JCR) was officially installed to act as trustee for heirless Jewish cultural property found in the American Zone of Occupation. Not only was it extraordinary that the major Jewish organizations of the time – representing Palestine/Israel as well as the Diaspora – worked together via JCR, this was also the first time that international law recognized a legal representative of the Jewish collective. This paper explores the history of JCR, focusing, in particular, on the manifold and conflicting perceptions of the future of Jewish existence post-1945 that informed its work. On the one hand, the reestablished Jewish communities of Europe, especially the one in Germany, strongly contested JCR’s goal of distributing the rescued material to Jewish centers outside of Europe. Unlike JCR, they believed in a new Jewish beginning on the war-torn continent. On the other hand, Zionist- versus Diaspora-centered views also led to internal conflicts within JCR regarding the rightful ownership and appropriate relocation of European Jewish cultural heritage. JCR’s history reveals significant facets of Jewish agency and future planning in the early postwar years while reflecting the new topography of Jewish existence after the Holocaust.

 

 

 

New Article: Zakai, Literature, Ideology and Sexual Violence in the Writing of Rivka Alper

Zakai, Orian. “A Uniform of a Writer: Literature, Ideology and Sexual Violence in the Writing of Rivka Alper.” Prooftexts 34.2 (2015): 232-70.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/prooftexts/v034/34.2.zakai.html

 

Abstract

This essay explores the politics of women’s writing in the Zionist yishuv by examining the literary career of Rivka Alper, whose work features a difficult clash between a “feminine” narrative of sexual trauma and Zionist ideology. I discuss Alper’s literary trajectory from her first novel, Pirpurey mahapekha, a coming-of-age story of a young woman, which foregrounds themes of sexual trauma and gendered violence, to her second project, Ha-mitnaḥalim ba-har, a biography of a Zionist role model, one of the women founders of the colony of Motza. Alper’s transition from “personal” fiction to ideological literature is part of a process of an arduous self-fashioning toward carving a place for herself, albeit marginal, in the Zionist republic of letters. Her process demonstrates the predicament of writing as a woman in a Zionist cultural space that marks writing as an emasculating practice, but exclusively assigns male writers the role of national subjects. In such a space, I argue, transitioning to marginal genres in order to write for the collective emerges as a privileged alternative for an aspiring woman writer. And yet, as contents from Alper’s fictional writing infiltrate her biographic writing, the literariness of her “less literary” text exposes the exclusions that lie at the heart of the Zionist ideological project, and, in turn, reinscribes “the feminine” as a composite marker of these exclusions back into the Zionist text.

 

 

Conference: AJS Program Book now online (Boston, Dec 13-15, 2015)

The 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies will take place in Boston, December 13-15, 2015.

The full program is now available on the AJS website: http://www.ajsnet.org/conference-menu.htm

You may also download the program here: PDF

 

 

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.

 

 

ToC: Israel Studies 20.3 (2015) | Special Issue: Moshe Sharett: A Retrospective

Israel Studies 20.3 (2015)

Special Issue—Moshe Sharett: A Retrospective

 

 

  1. Introduction (pp. v-vii)
    Natan Aridan and Gabriel (Gabi) Sheffer
  2. Gabriel Sheffer
  3. Yaakov Sharett