In this article we examine the representation of combat soldiers in Israel through their media image. Using two major national Israeli newspapers, we follow the presentation of the Israeli combat soldier over three decades. Our findings indicate that the combat soldier begins as a hegemonic masculine figure in the 1980s, shifts to a more vulnerable, frightened child in the 1990s, and attains a more complex framing in the 2000s. While this most recent representation returns to a hegemonic masculine one, it includes additional, 'softer' components. We find that the transformation in the image of the Israeli soldier reflects changes within Israeli society in general during the period covered and is also indicative of global changes in masculinity to a certain extent. We conclude by analyzing two possible explanations: the perception of the threat and changes in the perception of masculine identity.
Representations of Israeli Combat Soldiers in the Media
Zipi Israeli and Elisheva Rosman-Stollman
Changes in Israeli politics, diplomacy, and the Israeli-Arab conflict, changes in Israeli cultural texts dealing with the conflict, and changes in Israeli writing of fiction—all led to significant changes in how the Israeli-Arab conflict is portrayed in Israeli fiction written in the 1980s. Comprising fictional texts about the conflict, the novels and films examined in this article actually deal with the inability to tell the story. The conflict is portrayed as too deep-rooted and complicated, to the extent that it is impossible to recount it and construct a dialogue or to find common grounds for comprehending it. The texts almost always end up in death, no Jewish-Arab personal relation prevails, and most of the interactions are through the military. According to the texts examined here, these two societies appear to need the conflict in order to overcome bitter conflicts within themselves; and Arab-Palestinian Israeli citizens feel that they cannot live in Israel.
Israel has absorbed considerable numbers of non-olim immigrants since the 1990s. This phenomenon has posed new challenges to the state’s highly restrictive and ethnic citizenship policy, resulting in the emergence of a new phase in its politics of citizenship, which this article seeks to describe and analyze. By employing the methodology of political claims analysis—based on newspaper articles reporting attempts to expand immigrants’ access to Israeli citizenship between 1994 and 2013—and an in-depth study of one specific struggle over immigrants’ status, spanning the years 2003–2006, it shows that Israel provides a much narrower, although by no means closed, ‘opportunity structure’ for enabling immigrants to access citizenship when compared to developed liberal democracies.
Yoram Peri, Tamar Hermann, Shlomo Fischer, Asher Cohen, Bernard Susser, Nissim Leon and Yaacov Yadgar
Introduction Yoram Peri
More Jewish than Israeli (and Democratic)? Tamar Hermann
Yes, Israel Is Becoming More Religious Shlomo Fischer
Religious Pressure Will Increase in the Future Asher Cohen and Bernard Susser
Secular Jews: From Proactive Agents to Defensive Players Nissim Leon
The Need for an Epistemological Turn Yaacov Yadgar
Sergio DellaPergola and Ian S. Lustick
When Scholarship Disturbs Narrative: Ian Lustick on Israel’s Migration Balance Comment by Sergio DellaPergola
Leaving the Villa and Touching a Raw Nerve Response by Ian S. Lustick
The influence of the pro-Israel lobby in US foreign policymaking toward the Middle East has been a subject of great interest and fierce controversy in recent years. Yet, despite being the object of a massive amount of critical scrutiny, the pro-Israel lobby remains poorly understood. All too often it is depicted as a highly organized, cohesive political actor pursuing an agenda in line with, and even determined by, Israel's right-wing Likud party. By undertaking a detailed empirical survey of the pro-Israel community in the United States, this article shows that such a view is grossly inaccurate. The pro-Israel community is neither monolithic nor a unitary actor. It is fragmented into a number of different groups, many of which disagree sharply over their understanding of Israel's real interests. In lobbying the US government for what they believe is in Israel's interests, therefore, the pro-Israel community rarely, if ever, speaks with a single voice.
The failure to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict for many years has often been attributed in significant part to the absence of trust in the sincerity of the other side and, more specifically, to the recalcitrant nature of the opponent. Analyses of past proposals and actual negotiations have pointed out missed opportunities, possibly the result of misperceptions or misunderstandings. Recent archival research, publications, and interviews regarding the Israeli protagonists reveal that actual deception, as distinct from ‘misperception’, may have been at play. The article examines this phenomenon as it has appeared since 1967 in six instances of Israeli government dealings with its own public and with the US or the international community, even in recent months, due primarily to an unwillingness to withdraw from the Occupied Territories or agree to enter serious negotiations for ending the conflict with the Palestinians.
Ian S. Lustick
As a state founded on Jewish immigration and the absorption of immigration, what are the ideological and political implications for Israel of a zero or negative migration balance? By closely examining data on immigration and emigration, trends with regard to the migration balance are established. This article pays particular attention to the ways in which Israelis from different political perspectives have portrayed the question of the migration balance and to the relationship between a declining migration balance and the re-emergence of the “demographic problem“ as a political, cultural, and psychological reality of enormous resonance for Jewish Israelis. Conclusions are drawn about the relationship between Israel's anxious re-engagement with the demographic problem and its responses to Iran's nuclear program, the unintended consequences of encouraging programs of “flexible aliyah,“ and the intense debate over the conversion of non-Jewish non-Arab Israelis.
The Myth of a Long ‘Special Relationship’
Kilic Bugra Kanat
Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been mixed since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Although Turkey was one of the first Muslim countries to recognize and initiate diplomatic relations with Israel soon after, improving bilateral relations never became a priority. During the Cold War years, the two main determinants of Turkish-Israeli relations were their status as pro-Western countries in the region and the Arab-Israel conflict, which directly and indirectly influenced Turkish foreign policy toward Israel. Efforts to improve relations during the Cold War were constantly interrupted by the Arab-Israel conflict and by Turkish public opinion regarding Israel’s regional policies. Until the restoration of full diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level following the 1992 Madrid Conference, secret diplomacy between the two countries was the norm. Attempts at forming a Turkish-Israeli alignment were short-lived during these years.
Anat First and Eli Avraham
American values, symbols, landscapes, and lifestyles have been widely used in Israeli advertisements to market a vast array of consumer goods. An analysis of advertisements that appeared in Israeli newspapers during the 1990s reveals that American symbols were invoked to promote products produced in the United States, Israel, or even a third country. By examining the relationship between advertising and culture, along with the changes that have occurred in Israeli society during this period, this analysis focuses on two interlocking spheres: capitalist-economic (labor and production, consumption, and technology) and cultural (cultural heroes and symbols, language, and lifestyle). Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it is the authors' goal to show how social values have changed over time, losing their Israeliness and taking on an American flavor. This article seeks to present the manifestation of the American image in Israeli advertisements and thereby fuel a discussion on the Americanization of Israeli society.