Intertwined Landscape

The Integration of Arabo-Islamic Culture in Pre-state Palestine

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 University of Southern California mostafah@usc.edu
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Abstract

This article examines the ways in which Zionist intellectuals interacted with Arabo-Islamic culture in the Yishuv by looking into the cultivation of Islamicate knowledge pertinent to land and nature and its impact on the construction of the Jewish cultural landscape. I argue that in establishing a connection between Jews and the natural landscape of Palestine/Israel, Jewish intellectuals relied on Arabo Islamic culture and its centuries of knowledge about the flora and the land itself. In their search to comprehend the flora and place names of the land of the Bible, Jewish individuals consulted Arabo-Islamic sources, finding them instrumental to their national enterprise. The culmination of these endeavors is that, in addition to Jewish and Western sources, Islamicate culture was one of the wellsprings from which Jewish intellectuals drew in shaping the emergent culture in the Yishuv and the early decades of the State of Israel.

Contributor Notes

MOSTAFA HUSSEIN is a Postdoctoral Scholar and member of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, affiliated with the School of Religion at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on the intellectual encounter between Jews and Islam in the modern Middle East. His project “Islam and the Construction of a Jewish Culture in Palestine” offers a reading of Jewish intellectuals’ engagement with Arabo-Islamic texts in pre-state Palestine and provides a lens through which we can revisit the place of Arabo-Islamic culture in the evolution of the Jewish nationalist movement. E-mail: mostafah@usc.edu

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