Homonational desires: Masculinity, sexuality, and trauma in the cinema of Eytan Fox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Zionism's political project of liberating the Jewish people and creating a nation like all other nations was intertwined with a longing for the sexual redemption and normalization of the Jewish male body. In fin-de-siècle anti-Semitic scientific-medical discourse, the male Jewish body was associated with disease, madness, degeneracy, sexual perversity, and femininity as well as with homosexuality. This pathologization of Jewish male sexuality had also entered the writings of Jewish scientists and medical doctors, including Sigmund Freud.1 Zionist thinkers such as Theodor Herzl and Max Nordau were convinced that the invention of a stronger, healthier heterosexual "Jewry of Muscles" not only would overcome the stereotype of the Jewish male as a homosexual but also would solve the economic, political, and national problems of the Jewish people. This notion of a new Jewish masculinity became the model for the militarized masculine Sabra (nativeborn Israeli). Unlike the passive, ugly, "feminine," diasporic Jewish male, the new Zionist Sabra man would engage in manual labor, athletics, and war, becoming the colonialist explorer in touch with the land and with his body. Israeli films expressed this national desire through various visual and narrative tropes, enforcing the image of the hypermasculine nation-builder-an image dependent on the repudiation of the "feminine" within men.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsraeli Cinema
Subtitle of host publicationIdentities in Motion
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
Pages181-198
Number of pages18
Volume9780292735606
ISBN (Electronic)9780292735606
ISBN (Print)9780292725607
StatePublished - 2011

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