In the face of violence: a political reading of IDF women soldiers in two Israeli films of the 2000s

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This article examines the changing roles and perceptions of female soldiers in Israeli cinema, from the traditional stereotypes of the early years to the response of young Israeli women filmmakers in the 2000s to the gender inequality and violence that is an integral part of any military systems. After a survey of the traditional representations of women soldiers and the minor roles they played in early Israeli cinema, we discuss two films by Israeli women filmmakers—Vardit Bilu and Dalia Hager’s fiction film Close to Home (2005) and Tamar Yaron’s documentary To See if I’m Smiling (2007)—which depict the challenges faced by young women who join the IDF aspiring to equal military service. Both films explore the inherent gender bias they encounter and the inevitable moral decline of women soldiers as they are plunged into the violent reality of military occupation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1158
Number of pages15
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Open University of Israel?s Research Fund [Grant number 37124]. I wish to thank the reviewers of this article for their valuable comments and suggestions. Thanks are also due to my research assistant, Ms Sigal Yona.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Israeli Palestinian conflict
  • Violence
  • military
  • occupation
  • women soldiers


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