Abstract

ABSTRACT:

The article examines the shifting discourse associated with the participation of American volunteers in the nascent Israel Defense Forces. Although the volunteers were officially commended by the IDF for their contributions during the 1948 War of Independence and attempts were made to encourage them to remain indefinitely in Israel, those who returned home were offered few opportunities to commemorate their wartime experiences by the American Jewish community. The concerns of American Jews with their own integration and social acceptance in America during the late 1940s and 1950s complicated the remembrance initiative of Machal (acronym of Mitnadvei Hutz LaAretz, "volunteers from abroad"), all the more so, given the illegality of serving in the armed forces of a foreign country at the time. However, by the late twentieth-century American Jews had attained a greater sense of inclusion which facilitated their public embrace (and criticism) of Israel, and motivated them to explore the Machal narrative. American volunteers wrote memoirs, published correspondence, established museums, and collected questionnaires to document their contributions, demonstrating a unique form of American interest in Israel.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-201x
Print ISSN
1084-9513
Pages
pp. 149-173
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-06
Open Access
No
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