The struggle over boundary and memory: Nation, borders, and gender in jewish Israel

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Abstract

The attachment of a nation to its ancestral homeland is indisputable. Yet, when the nation does not have a clear idea of the geographical parameters of its territory, the boundaries often get defined by others and through war. In the case of Israel, however, especially since 1967, the Jewish homeland has been defined and shaped not simply by war but by government policies that support the Settlement Project in the occupied territories of the West Bank. While Jewish men and women historically have had different roles in defining Israel's boundaries-men as defenders of borders and women as enablers and reproducers of the nation - it is Jewish men who have been perceived as central to the Zionist Project, not women. But as this article suggests, such perspective is simplistic, for women, especially settlers, as leaders and always as willing practitioners in the Settlement Projects, have helped shape the geographical and, more importantly, the psychological parameters of the homeland. With each attempt to settle all parts of the West Bank, even in the most remote outposts, and refusing to compromise over what the homeland includes, these settlers have challenged the memory of a "Smaller Israel" in favor of a "Greater Israel." In their actions therefore, they have been at the forefront of the struggle over the memory of boundary and, thus, are challenging the boundary of memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-50
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of International Women's Studies
Volume13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Boundaries
  • Gender
  • Memory
  • New zionists
  • Settlers

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