- An Army of Housewives: Women's Wartime Columns in Two Mainstream Israeli Newspapers
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 15, Spring 5769/2008
- pp. 88-107
- View Citation
- Additional Information
At the height of Israel's 1948 war, women's columns in the newspapers Ha'aretz and Ma'ariv offered readers advice, stories, and letters. They focused on domestic practices such as preparing food, sewing clothes, dressing fashionably and providing comfort. At first glance, they completely ignored the war raging around them. However, this essay shows that the columnists portrayed housewives' roles, no less than men's frontline fighting, as an important part of the nation's wartime effort. The columnists and their responding readers took the housewives' domestic practices, which made them seem so unfit for battle and turned them into a battlefield of their own. Through these "feminine" roles, seemingly irrelevant during wartime, they produced their own set of heroines, saviors and victims. Although most of the columnists' advice fell into line with the Zionist nationalist and militarist climate of 1948, this essay shows that the women's columns revealed a few surprising voices of dissention. Finally, the style and content of the columns did not differ greatly from those of women in other wartime settings in the 1930s and 1940s. Rather, their domestic nationalism in wartime followed the pattern of housewives elsewhere in the world.