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A Visual Genealogy of a Sacred Landscape

Noa Hazan and Avital Barak

Keywords: 1967 Arab-Israeli War; early Zionism; orientalism; photography; Temple Mount; visual analysis; visual culture; visual documents

This article explores the role of the Temple Mount in the Israeli visual sphere before and after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, whose fiftieth anniversary will be commemorated this June. Each of the four sections examines the dominant patterns of representation at key moments of Zionism, from the emergence of photography in the Middle East in the nineteenth century, to current representations of the Temple Mount. Analysis of the four periods demonstrates that the visual characteristics used to depict the Temple Mount were neither natural nor neutral, but rather charged with political agendas. The photographs expose the deep-seated conflict inherent in Israel’s self-definition as a modern secular state that is based on a religious, biblical, and messianic ethos.

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