Israeli Culture and Emergency Routine: Normalizing Stress exposes the ways Israeli “emergency routine” leads to perpetual stress and trauma and explores how these conditions are overwhelmingly present in the cultural production of Israeli art and literature. The nine chapters engage with a variety of Israeli cultural artifacts, including poetry, prose, film, and graphic novels, and cast a wide temporal net, reaching from as early as the 1960s to 2019. In doing so, this collection sheds light upon the ramifications of the constant stress of the Israeli emergency routine on academic and cultural discourses and alerts readers to the effects of the physical world on the formulation of world views within social and political realities.
Vered Weiss is the Serling Israeli Visiting Scholar and Israel Institute Teaching Fellow at The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at Michigan State University.
Avner Dinur is lecturer of Jewish studies at Sapir College.
Irit Ronen is PhD candidate at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and a teaching fellow at the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies at Sapir Academic College.
Introduction: Introduction: Israeli Culture and Emergency Routine
Irit Ronen, Avner Dinur, Vered Weiss
Chapter 1. The State of Emergency and the Ethos: The Poetry of Aharon Shabtai
Chapter 2. Monstrous Memory: Memory and Marginality in To the End of the Land by David
Grossman and Jorge Luis Borges’ “Funes el Memorioso”
Chapter 3. Stress, Repression, and Humor in Israeli Comics: The Cases of Rutu Modan and
Chapter 4. Rockets, Turtles, and the Political Abyss: Hebrew Literature from the Gaza Envelope
Chapter 5. Facing the Chaos: Contemporary Israeli Literature (Re)Acting to Uncertain Times
Omri Herzog and Nurith Gertz
Chapter 6. “I’ve never seen the world be so cruel” Performances of Mizrahi masculinity under a
state of emergency in Sderot: A sociological-gender analysis of the film Hula and Natan
Moti Gigi and Haim (Hai) Bitton
Chapter 7. The State of Israel Is Disintegrating. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Conclusion of the
Film On the Hilltop Youth, Religious Zionism, and Israeli Literature
Chapter 8. A Stressful Identity: Jews, Other Nations, and Other Religions
Conclusion: Essays from Sapir, a College under Attack
Avner Dinur, Irit Ronen, Vered Weiss
About the Contributors
The essays in this volume provide for the first time a glimpse into the cultural representations of and about the emergency routine that informs life in the Israeli Gaza Envelope. Nuanced, insightful, and politically aware, they provide a nuanced and illuminative perspective into the ongoing what civilian life looks like during a protracted ‘low-intensity’ war. This is a crucial reading not only for those who are interested in contemporary Israeli culture and society, but also to anyone who studies civilian life in war zones in general.
‘Emergency routine’ merges two seemingly incompatible terms into an analytical tool to describe the situation of Israelis living along the Gazan border—and, by extension, in Israel. A group of scholars teaching at a college near the Gaza strip combine personal experiences with the critical skills of their profession to illuminate in compelling chapters how enduring stress and trauma are refracted and reflected in contemporary Israeli literature, film, theology, poetry, and comics. Aware of missing voices of Palestinian Gazans, the contributors bring to light the contestations of multiple cultural responses to an intractable conflict.