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  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  • Avraham Sela and Alon Kadish

This special issue consists of studies of Israeli representations, both Jewish and Palestinian, of memory and historical narratives of the 1948 War. The eight articles map and explain the ongoing evolution of Israeli-Jewish and Israeli-Palestinian perspectives of the 1948 War as represented in literature, museums, art, visual media, and landscape, as well as in competing official and societal narratives.

Most essays included in this issue were originally presented and discussed in periodic meetings during 2009–2010, by a research group on “Myth, Memory and Historiography: The Case of the 1948 War,” comprised of Israeli Jewish and Palestinian scholars, sponsored by the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Notwithstanding the tensions stemming from different national and disciplinary approaches, the presentations, including those by outside guest speakers, and discussions that followed, the group developed into a vibrant and educative forum for exchanging views and insights based on fresh original studies of distinct aspects of memory and historiography of the War. The research group’s work culminated in an international symposium that was held in Jerusalem in December 2010, co-sponsored by the Van Leer Institute and the Harry S. Truman Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We are especially grateful to the Van Leer Institute for its generous funding and congenial accommodation of the research group throughout its meetings, and to the Truman Institute for sharing the financial cost of the international symposium.

We wish to thank all those who were involved in the earlier stages in the development of this project: Members of the research group: Efrat Ben-Ze’ev, Tal Ben-Zvi, Ofer Bord, Hillel Cohen, Ami Elad-Buskila, Bosmat Garami, Dror Greenblum, Aziz Haidar, Mustafa Kabha, Noga Kadman, Yechiel Klar, Ziva Kolodny, and Adel Manna; Guest speakers Hadas Baram, Sinai Peter, Boaz Gaon, Rafi Nets-Zehngut, and Rona Sela; and participants in the international symposium: Larry Abramson, Meron Benvenisti, [End Page V] Neil Caplan, Alon Confino, Yifat Gutman, the late Yoram Kanyuk, Eman Nahhas, Sarah Ozacky-Lazar, Anita Shapira, Muhammad ‘Ali Taha, Dan Tzahor, and Jay Winter. All contributed valuable insights and helped to clarify and hone our views. Last but not least, we are especially thankful for the interest shown in our project by the editors of Israel Studies, Ilan Troen and Natan Aridan. [End Page VI]



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