restricted access Epilogue (Three Years Later)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Epilogue (Three Years Later) YORAM BILU AND EYAL BEN-ARI This short epilogue was written almost three years after the other contributions to the volume had been collected. The space of time attesting to the odyssey of this compilation on its way to publication has made us more aware of the extent to which Israeli public discourses on land and territory are historically situated. Along these lines it may be suitable to more generally situate the present collection within the major historical vicissitudes in the narratives and discourses about space and place in Israel. Clearly, the overarching reference to most Israeli public discourses on place should be the sweeping success of the Zionist movement in realizing its territorial aspirations. No more than five decades after its emergence on the world scene, with some of its first adherents still alive to witness their dream come true, it was able to transform its evocative motto, "a land without people to a people without land," into a political reality. Of course, the gross distortions brought about by the realization of this maxim have become the major sources for the struggles and belligerence that accompanied the actualization of the Zionist dream. This point holds for the periods before and particularly after the establishment of the state of Israel. But beyond the naked political conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab countries, the salience of the territorial prescription in Zionism and the imminent danger that it become a superordinate worldview to the exclusion of other values, have imbued the construction and maintenance of the Jewish Israeli identity with paradoxes and tensions (the reverberations of which are subtly but recurrently represented in this volume, especially in the contributions of Gurevitch and Boyarin). The Zionist glorification of territory and boundaries should be assessed in the historic context of the rise of the modern nation-state. In this broader 231 Epilogue (Three Years Later) YORAM BILU AND EYAL BEN-ARI This short epilogue was written almost three years after the other contributions to the volume had been collected. The space of time attesting to the odyssey of this compilation on its way to publication has made us more aware of the extent to which Israeli public discourses on land and territory are historically situated. Along these lines it may be suitable to more generally situate the present collection within the major historical vicissitudes in the narratives and discourses about space and place in Israel. Clearly, the overarching reference to most Israeli public discourses on place should be the sweeping success of the Zionist movement in realizing its territorial aspirations. No more than five decades after its emergence on the world scene, with some of its first adherents still alive to witness their dream come true, it was able to transform its evocative motto, "a land without people to a people without land," into a political reality. Of course, the gross distortions brought about by the realization of this maxim have become the major sources for the struggles and belligerence that accompanied the actualization of the Zionist dream. This point holds for the periods before and particularly after the establishment of the state of Israel. But beyond the naked political conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab countries, the salience of the territorial prescription in Zionism and the imminent danger that it become a superordinate worldview to the exclusion of other values, have imbued the construction and maintenance of the Jewish Israeli identity with paradoxes and tensions (the reverberations of which are subtly but recurrently represented in this volume, especially in the contributions of Gurevitch and Boyarin). The Zionist glorification of territory and boundaries should be assessed in the historic context of the rise of the modern nation-state. In this broader 231 232 Yoram Bilu and Eyal Ben-Ari context, the secularization of political sentiments and the shift from personal to territorial allegiances gave rise to the sacralization of territory (Schama 1989). In the Zionist "civil religion" of Israel (Bellah 1967; Liebman and Don-Yehiye 1983) this sacralization, cultivated already in the first years of the Jewish pre-state society (Yishuv), has been a basic tenet permeating the lives of Israeli Jews in a myriad of forms and participating in constructing their social reality. Thus the mystification of the landscape in artistic creation and through the archeological and historical reconstruction of ancient Jewish geography, and the apotheosis of "working the land" have been the twin pillars on which the territorial ethos of Zionism has rested since the movement...


pdf