Shikhmanter, Rima. “History as Politics: Contemporary Israeli Children’s and Young Adults’ Historical Fiction and the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” nternational Research in Children’s Literature 9.1 (2016): 83-97.
Historical fiction serves as a powerful source for the dissemination of historical images and the determination of collective memory. These roles are of particular significance in the context of severe political conflicts. In these cases historical fiction shapes the narrative of the conflict, explains its source and central events, and therefore forms the readers’ political stances towards the conflict and its consequences.
This article examines the role contemporary Jewish Israeli historical fiction for young adults plays in presenting the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to young readers. It discusses two of the political perspectives this fiction addresses: the traditional hegemonic narrative and the left-wing narrative. Associated with the right-wing sector of Israeli politics, the former promotes the Zionist myth and seeks to justify the necessity and morality of its premises while ignoring and/or dismissing the legitimacy of the Palestinian narrative. The lack of a consensual Jewish historical narrative that does not negate the Palestinian narrative on the one hand, and the ongoing public delegitimisation of the left-wing on the other, forces historical-fiction authors to place their plots at a historical remove, locating them in other places and times.