The Return to the Monument

The Looming Absence of the Temple

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Hebrew University havatour@gmail.com
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abstract

This article examines the gradual conversion of the areas surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem and spaces overlooking the Temple Mount into national symbolic landscape. Within this space, ancient Jewish sites function as national monuments, tied together through landscaping. A continuum of space and time is gradually being created in the shadow of Muslim and Christian monuments, in stark contrast to the Palestinian neighborhoods. The visual and textual symbolism and imagery that accompany the space emphasize the memory of the absent Jewish Temple. Thus, the creation of national symbolic landscape is simultaneously the creation of a new ‘Holy Geography’ and the replacement of traditional forms of Jewish memory by tangible and visual memory. The absent Temple serves as a meta-image of this symbolic national landscape and as the missing national monument, thus reflecting and promoting the rise of a symbiosis between religious and national aspirations.

Contributor Notes

hava schwartz is a tour guide and teacher of art history. She received a bachelor of arts in art history and a general degree in humanities at the Hebrew University, as well as a master of arts in theory and policy of the arts at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, with a thesis on “Symbolic National Landscape around the Old City of Jerusalem.” She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University in the program for cultural studies.

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