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