The struggle to forge a collective national identity at the expense of competing plural identities has preoccupied Israeli society since the founding of the state of Israel. In this book, Yosefa Loshitzky explores how major Israeli films of the 1980s and 1990s have contributed significantly to the process of identity formation by reflecting, projecting, and constructing debates around Israeli national identity.
Loshitzky focuses on three major foundational sites of the struggle over Israeli identity: the Holocaust, the question of the Orient, and the so-called (in an ironic historical twist of the "Jewish question") Palestinian question. The films she discusses raise fundamental questions about the identity of Jewish Holocaust survivors and their children (the "second generation"), Jewish immigrants from Muslim countries or Mizrahim (particularly the second generation of Israeli Mizrahim), and Palestinians. Recognizing that victimhood marks all the identities represented in the films under discussion, Loshitzky does not treat each identity group as a separate and coherent entity, but rather attempts to see the conflation, interplay, and conflict among them.
Yosefa Loshitzky is Professor in the Department of Communication at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
This book is a very significant contribution, not only to the English-language discussion of Israeli cinema ...but also to understanding the highly contradictory developing dynamics of Israeli culture overall. The two key features of the book are its exceptionally thoughtful and insightful commentaries on the films selected and its refusal to blunt the sharp edges: Palestinians, [Holocaust] survivors, Sabras, and Mizrahim all find a voice.
~John D. H. Downing
Introduction: Hybrid Victims
Chapter 1. Screening the Birth of a Nation: Exodus Revisited
Chapter 2. Surviving the Survivors: The Second Generation
Chapter 3. Postmemory Cinema: Second-Generation Israelis Screen the Holocaust
Chapter 4. Shchur: The Orient Within
Chapter 5. In the Land of Oz: Orientalist Discourse in My Michael
Chapter 6. Forbidden Love in the Holy Land: Transgressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Chapter 7. The Day After: The Sexual Economy of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
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