Israeli Militarism Reconsidered

Reframing the Independence Day Parade

in Israel Studies Review
Author:
Adi Sherzer Fulbright Fellow, Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, University of California Berkeley, USA adi.sherzer@gmail.com

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Abstract

This article seeks to challenge conventional arguments about Israel's ‘cultural militarism’ through a comparative analysis of Independence Day parades of the 1950s. Using media reports, newsreels, and archival documentation, it examines the parades and compares them to other cases from around the world. The discussion focuses on three features of the Israeli parades: the widespread civil criticism of the place of the military in Independence Day celebrations; the role of the crowds and their proximity to the marchers; and the partly militaristic character of the parades themselves. While the article does not deny the obvious militaristic connotations of soldiers marching in the streets, it stresses the unique relationship between the armed forces and society in Israel and argues that militarism alone is not a sufficient analytic framework for analyzing Israeli society.

Contributor Notes

ADI SHERZER is a Fulbright Fellow at the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the relationship between Jewish rituals, texts, and traditions and the Israeli national framework. E-mail: adi.sherzer@gmail.com

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