Israeli poet-activist Dahlia Ravikovitch's "Hovering at a Low Altitude" presents a disembodied speaker who witnesses the rape-murder of an Arab shepherd girl. Though traditionally read as a metaphor for Israeli disassociation concerning Palestinian dispossession, this essay argues that the poem reflects the collective forgetting of wartime rape-murder crimes committed by Jewish soldiers against Palestinian women during the 1948 war. The essay draws on Ravikovitch's early poems, which centralize biblical and medieval tales of rape, as well as testimonies by Israeli veterans, to overturn the way war rape crimes have been committed, witnessed, and narrated by men. By conveying the events from a female point of view, the poem—despite its potential complicity—offers a decolonial framing of the events of 1948 and creates the possibility for transnational feminist solidarity, whereby speaker, and subsequently reader, challenge collective amnesia. "Hovering at a Low Altitude" ultimately opens new avenues for historical restoration and collective responsibility.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 100-124
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.