Guiding Settler Jerusalem

Voice and the Transpositions of History in Religious Zionist Pilgrimage

in Religion and Society
Restricted access

This article examines how Elad, a religious Zionist settler group, attempts to reanimate biblical tales by transposing biblical text as part of tours for Jewish visitors to the City of David archaeological site in East Jerusalem. Since the early 1990s, Elad has created controversy by settling in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, provoking criticism from Israeli archaeologists and peace activists. In an effort to avoid 'politics' during tours, the group emphasizes a now globalized historicist reading of the Bible, an interpretation popularized by archaeology over the last century and a half. The article considers how transposition from this historicist reading into the here and now is a rhetorical device used to create a biblical realism that does not yet exist in the contested landscape. However, rather than producing an erasure of the Palestinian presence, and in contradiction to the professed desire to refrain from politics, I show that the very communicative situation and multiple framings for producing this biblical realism inevitably remind visitors of the contemporary context.

Religion and Society

Advances in Research