The Collective Memory of a Civil War as Reflected in Edutainment and its Impact on Israeli Youth: A Critical Reading of Consensual Myths

Summer, 2012

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 78, Issue 3, pages 254-280


Following the political assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in 1998, Israel's national theater, Habimah, produced the play “Civil War". The play addressed the religious/hawkish-secular/dovish rift in Israel through a critical reading of events from Jewish history and raises the potential of civil war and political violence in Israel over Israeli-Palestinian peace. An empirical study of 107 Israeli students from the 11th grade who viewed the play presents the potential of “Civil War” to influence students and lead them to a critical reading of consensual myths of the Jewish historical/cultural texts and current events.


From the Editor's Notes:

Anat Gesser-Edelsburg's article on “edutainment” offers an excellent example of new challenges confronting Jewish education as it endeavors to critically engage the communal myths of Israel's history, both ancient and modern. The author analyzes the play “Civil War” as a means to encouraging Jewish teenagers in Israel to think critically about the internal religious conflict in Israel from the time of the Second temple to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Gesser-Edelsburg suggests that one task for the future will be to provide educational methods, such as “edutainmment,” to undermine the taken-for-granted national and religious myths that have been promoted by Israeli state education and to confront the internal tensions between cultural liberalism and cosmopolitanism, on the one hand, and religious extremism and fanaticism, on the other.

Updated: Sep. 27, 2012