Israeli National Memory: Formation, Variations, and Objections

Avner Ben-Amos*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Israeli national memory is based on the Zionist conception of history, according to which the old Jewish, theological, and diasporic view of the past should be replaced by a new, secular, and modern vision. The Zionist vision divided the history of the Jewish people into three distinct parts: antiquity, when the people acquired sovereignty in the Land of Israel; Diaspora, a somber period when the people were dispersed among the nations, lacking sovereignty; and the modern, Zionist period, when the people returned to the Land of Israel and reestablished their sovereignty. During the first half of the 20th century the emphasis was placed on the first period, whose military heroes became role models for the members of the Zionist community in Palestine. However, after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, 20th-century heroes, such as the rebels of the Warsaw ghetto and the Israeli soldier, replaced them. The national image of the past was propagated by various agents of memory, the most important of which was the education system, and was manifested in space (monuments and cemeteries) and time (commemorative ceremonies).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural History in France
Subtitle of host publicationLocal Debates, Global Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000021394
ISBN (Print)9780367271879
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


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