The privatization of war memory in recent Israeli cinema

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


The memory of war has been etched in the consciousness of Israel since its bloody birth in 1948. Expressions such as "war of survival" and "War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness" became central to the way Israelis perceived themselves. Yet military struggle in modern Hebrew culture became important prior to the state's independence as part of the notion of the New Jew, who, in contrast to passive ancestors in exile, had to fight for the right to live in the old-new land. Israeli cinema did not overlook these perceptions and turned the various expressions of the war narrative into the foundation stone of its first feature films. As part of the pre-state cinematic narratives or in the national ones at the beginning of the state's existence (They Were Ten, Baruch Dienar, 1960; He Walked through the Fields, Yosef Millo, 1967),1 war images were to play a central role in Israeli cinema's iconography. In the second half of the 1960s this theme was exhausted in Every Bastard a King (Uri Zohar, 1968), dedicated to the glorification of the Israeli soldiers' bravery during the Six Day War. Financed by the IDF, Zohar's film demonstrated that under certain circumstances the patriotic ideal of defending one's country could provide a shallow sense of meaning to those threatened by an existential anxiety of meaninglessness.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsraeli Cinema
Subtitle of host publicationIdentities in Motion
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780292735606
ISBN (Print)9780292725607
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2011 by the University of Texas Press.

RAMBI publications

  • Gitai, Amos -- 1950- -- Kippur (film)
  • Cedar, Joseph -- 1968- -- Beaufort (film)
  • Motion pictures -- Israel
  • War films -- Israel


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