Yaron Peleg

 

On his book Israeli Culture between the Two Intifadas: A Brief Romance

Cover Interview of April 21, 2009

In a nutshell

The book examines Israeli culture in the 1990s between the two popular Palestinian uprisings, the intifadas, in 1987 and 2000, respectively.  By looking at popular media and literature, I highlight the fundamental changes Israel has undergone from a socialistic and ideologically mobilized society until the 1980s, to a more open, international and capitalistic society in the 1990s and beyond.  The book’s main thesis is that, beginning in the late 1980s, Israel experienced an “identity crisis” that included a reexamination of its creation story and a reevaluation of some of its foundational myths.  Consequently, Israel transitioned into a post-Zionist or post-national stage that was marked by a genuine but ineffectual search for a new meaning.  That soul searching, undertaken by young journalists and writers, was marked by a disengagement from direct political involvement and the adoption of a more passive resistance that was expressed by the cultivation of romantic escapism, especially as a cultural stance.

Israeli Culture between the Two Intifadas tries to chart the latest development in Israeli cultural history.  Set within the larger context of the country’s history, the book examines Israeli culture at a critical crossroads.  It looks at the challenges of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993,which marked the first opportunity of real peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors.  Both the allure of a near peace and the gradual dissipation of that dream toward the end of 1990s elicited complex cultural responses which the book examines and illuminates.