“Israel was born a Jewish state, that was the decision of the people, and the question is not what is the identity of the state — it was born this way and it will remain this way.” This little sentence was said on December 22, 2021 by Mansour Abbas, an Arab member of parliament of an Islamist party and Minister Delegate in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Noémie Issan-Benchimol and Elie Beressi give us the context and analyze it as a watershed moment in the history of Israeli political life.
Published a year ago, The Memory Monster (Restless Books) is Yishai Sarid’s fourth book, after two crime novels and a novel set in a futuristic dystopia. This penultimate novel, The Third, imagined the destruction of Tel Aviv and Haifa, an endeavor to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and Israel’s transformation into a theocratic kingdom. The Memory Monster is an equally provocative and disturbing story that questions the relationship of Israelis to Europe and the memory of the Holocaust.
In 2008, Ronen Eidelman, an Israeli artist living in Germany, founded the movement for the creation of a Jewish state in Thuringia: Medinat Weimar. The artistic project questions, seduces some and horrifies others, makes people react. More than 15 years later, he tells us, from Jerusalem, where he lives today, what led him to imagine such a project, oscillating between eccentric provocation and incitement to debate. An interview in which he talks about German guilt, Herzl as a plastic artist, and a second Jewish state conceived as a plan B…
“I have no other country,” writes the Israeli Ehud Manor in a poem quoted by Nancy Pelosi before the U.S. Congress. “There is no Israel for me” says the narrator of Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. Danny Trom proposes, from a combined analysis of these two statements, a distinction between several experiences of the political relationship to one’s own country: that of having only one country, that of having no other, and that of having an alternative, even if it is impractical. The question arises here: is not every citizen of his state in Europe now in a position to feel a Jewish experience?
Following the Euro 2020 final, K. opens its columns to SoFoot, republishing an article which has just received the Franco-German Journalism Prize in the Young Talents category. Adrien Candau and Julien Duez tell the story of Emmanuel Schaffer, born in Ukraine but raised in Germany, a survivor of the Holocaust who became the mythical coach of the Israeli team. After making Aliyah, Schaffer returned to the country of his childhood in the late 1950s to learn their methods of play. Criticized for this choice, he gave the Jewish state a winning team and led the country’s soccer team to its one and only World Cup appearance.
The series Unorthodox and Shtisel have been worldwide successes, familiarizing audiences with Haredi life. Noémie Issan-Benchimol discusses another Israeli series for K., Autonomies, which imagines the nation riven in two: on one side, the autonomous territory of Jerusalem, a theocracy led by the ultra-Orthodox; on the other side, the secular and Zionist state of Israel, its capital Tel Aviv.
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