Rape and the “Arab Question” in L.A. Arieli’s Allah Karim! and Aharon Reuveni’s Devastation
Abstract

Abstract:

The image of the New Woman in early Zionist literature is at present an understudied field, though there have been significant advances in recent years. This article brings together the “Woman Question” and the “Arab Question” in Zionist thought prior to the 1929 Arab riots in Palestine. When reading concurrently for race and gender, the import of rape surfaces as a trope in two of the most significant Hebrew literary works relating to the Arab Question: L.A. Arieli’s drama Allah Karim! (1912) and Aharon Reuveni’s novel Devastation (1925).

Arguably, Zionist writers carried to Palestine a deep concern about rape from the east European pogroms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and projected this concern onto the Arab male foe. In their writings, the pioneer Zionist man’s own sexual urges (whether enervated or unruly) are put to the test: Can he properly channel his virility as he prepares to battle the Arab foe? Within this tension, I highlight how Jewish women’s roles are both controversial and pivotal in the narratives.