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1948 and Beyond: Carving an Israeli identity

Tue, December 18, 2:30 to 4:00pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Waterfront 3 Ballroom

Session Submission Type: Panel Session

Abstract

This panel examines varying aspects of Israeli identity and focuses especially on the processes and forces shaping the unique features of Israeli national polity and culture in 1948 and beyond. The vast nation building process encompassing many aspects of political, social and material life during the Mandate era, accelerated after the State was established. While fighting a long and bitter war and absorbing mass immigration, Israelis built an army, constructed the state's bureaucracy, formed a legal system, and forged a civil identity. All these endeavors shaped and imbued Israelis with a novel Israeli identity that supplemented their former ethnic, cultural, and religious identities.
The panel traces both the foreign and the original or "authentic" components of Israeli polity and society. It focuses on the conscious effort to form a new identity, one that constructs and expresses the distinct nature of Israeli mentality. The panel combines aspects of state building with society building – the formal with the cultural and the emotional. It examines three arenas: Israeli law, the Israeli army and Israeli Mentality. Delving into the hearts and minds of Israelis, the panelists aim at identifying the lived experiences of sovereignty.

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