Digital Sh'ma - Reflecting on and Evaluating Israel's History

Published: 
May. 25, 2011

Source: Digital Sh'ma

 

This issue of Sh’ma published to mark Israel’s Independence Day—takes a multifaceted look at what it means to reflect on and evaluate history. Israel today, both inside and outside its borders, is more than ever before a contested place. Its polity remains starkly divided over issues of war and peace, religion and politics, and the conflicting risks of reconciliation and occupation. Not surprisingly, the best way to acknowledge Israel’s birth and achievements is in itself a matter of debate. There is so much power in the telling of a story, in the narrative arc, and we hope that this issue will provide a range of views about how to tell Israel’s story — that is, how to situate history between myth and counter-myth.

 

The editor's introduction:

"Most holiday celebrations offer opportunities to reflect on the themes of the day, the passing of time — momentous events and regrets. Observing Yom Ha'atzmaut provides the same opportunities.

 

Our Roundtable—which includes a rabbi, an editor and publisher, a professor, and a communal activist—offers a glimpse into how each personally observes the day and how we might re-envision the holiday for contemporary times.

 

Yisrael Medad and Dan Heller each write about the founding myths of the Herut movement and its role in expelling the British from Mandate Palestine.

 

Through a n exchange of letters, Gregory Khalil & Paul Scham explore the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe"—how Palestinians refer to the historical events surrounding Israel's independence. Leonard Fein reflects on his own personal history with Israel;

 

Dov Waxman explores the formative decisions at Israel's birth; Ilan Troen writes about teaching Israel's history; Lucy Chester draws similarities between the British partition of India and Pakistan, and the role Britain played in Israel/Palestine; Gideon Remez reviews the lead up to the 1967 War; Sam Brody recounts Martin Buber's notion of Bi-Nationalism; Sivan Zakai writes about a dual-narrative Israel/Palestine history book and what it teaches students about understanding the construction of history. And, Deena Aranoff, Marc Margolius and Michael L. Miller reflect on historian Yosef Yerushalmi's book, Zakhor, arguably among the most influential recent books on the intersection between history and memory, the often uneasy relationship between what happened in the past and what is recalled. Jeff Goldman contributes to our ongoing conversation about the ethics of immigration."

Updated: May. 24, 2011
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