Unraveling the Wars of 1948

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This article is a literary investigation of the 1948 war and the cultures of Zionist military formation. In this study, literature is understood as the record of war from the human perspective. Employing a conceptual distinction between the militia and the regular army, I trace the tension between the concurring cultures of war, allowing a conceptualization of the war of 1948 as three separate wars. The war begins with the cultural domination of the militia in 1947, which defines the culture and literature of 1948. As military power becomes more organized, the militias become a regular army, executing territorial expansion and the dispossession of the Palestinians. The figural character of revenge dominates the literature and is examined as underlying the dynamic of violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-135
Number of pages16
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Israeli literature
  • 1900-1999
  • fiction
  • Israel-Arab War (1948-1949)
  • expulsion
  • Palestinians


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