Hurled into the heart of darkness: Moral luck and the Hebrew literature of the Intifada

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This paper proposes an ethical reading of literary works that describe the Israeli soldier in the Intifada. It examines the experiences of Israeli soldiers, the nature of the situation, and the protagonist's choices and identity, in the light of the philosophical concept of moral luck (following Nagel's categories), which is generally defined as a state where a moral agent is assigned moral blame or praise for an action even though a significant part of what he does depends on factors beyond his control. Reading representative works, I show that the Israeli soldiers in many literary works find themselves in a state of bad moral luck that is both circumstantial (stemming from the Occupation) and constitutive (stemming from the military socialization process). By covering moral and immoral protagonists, realistic and non-realistic prose, the paper examines the reflection of the complexity of the conflict and the place of the individual in a situation of national and political dispute.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-339
Number of pages25
JournalHebrew Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

RAMBI publications

  • Israel -- Tseva haganah le-Yiśraʼel
  • Intifada, 1987-1993
  • Al-Aqsa Intifada, 2000-
  • Hebrew literature -- Israel -- History and criticism


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