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Israeli Identity in Transition

The last 15 years have witnessed deep changes in Israeli society. The naive solidarity of the early years of statehood has given way to more sophisticated approaches, and the atmosphere of the 1990s was conducive towards critique and open discussion. It was the age of the Oslo Accords, of the large wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, economic growth and prosperity, and a concurrent feeling of security and well-being. Israel was fast becoming a fully-fledged capitalist society, a junior member of the global village. This newly acquired self-assurance led to openness towards unorthodox views on basic questions of Israeli identity. The new mood found expression in the cultural climate and in the public debates. The Zionist narrative in relation to the Palestinians; the early troubled absorption of immigrants from Islamic countries; the discrimination against the Arab Israeli minority; the delay in the 1950s in incorporating the memory of the Holocaust into collective memory; the Zionist attitude towards the Jewish Diaspora, all these were issues on the cultural and intellectual agenda, subjects of heated controversy. This book attempts to come to grips with these themes. The complex texture of Israeli society is drawn here by a number of experts, presenting up-to-date approaches.
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Presents the major issues of the Israeli culture wars: cleavages between religious and secular, veterans and newcomers, Zionists and non-Zionists, Jews and Arabs.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Anita Shapira New Historiography and National Identity: Reflections on Changes in the Self-Perception of Israelis and Recent Israeli Revisionist Historiography by Mordechai Bar-On Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel as a Deeply Divided Society by Sammy Smooha Whatever Became of "Negative Exile"? by Anita Shapira The Diaspora Factor in Israeli Life by Eli Lederhendler Fifty Years of Israeli Discourse on the Holocaust: Characteristics and Dilemmas by Dalia Ofer Israeli Indentity: The Jewish Component by Charles Liebman and Yaacov Yadgar Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU): Their Influence and Identity by Theodore Friedgut From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism or The Privatization of Israeli Identity by Daniel Gutwein The Globalization of Israel: Transformations by Nine Oz Almog About the Editor and Contributors Index

About the Author

Anita Shapira is Professor at Tel Aviv University. She specializes in modern and contemporary Jewish history, especially social and cultural history and questions of identity.


?Every article is insightful, well reasoned, and supported. Many are innovative or at least offer a perspective not often expounded. The topics themselves suggest the richness of ideas about social identity: the new historiography, Arab-Jewish relations, "negating exile," the diaspora factor, the Holocaust, Judaism, new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, from "melting pot to multiculturalism," and globalization....Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.?-Choice

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