Israeli Independence – May 17th 2017

On our class trip today we traveled into the Israeli city Tel Aviv to learn more about the Israeli nationalist narrative Jews are taught about Israel’s founding.  Today Tel Aviv is a bustling metropolitan city and a financial hub in Israel.

Below is an image of a street in Tel Aviv:

Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, Israel

While Tel Aviv is a large and prosperous city today, in the early twentieth century it was the first jewish settlement Zionists established in the region that is modern Israel.  In addition to the significance Tel Aviv holds as the first jewish town establish in what would become Israel, it is also the place where Israeli independence was first declared.

Below is an Image of independence Hall:

Israel’s Independence Hall; where Israel’s first prime minister, Ben- Gurion, signed the Israeli Declaration of independence in 1948

While we were at the Hall we had a tour guide give us a history of Israel, starting from the first jewish settlements and ending with the second intifada.  What was so noticeable about the history we were given was that our tour guide told us he was giving us the Israeli national narrative and then explained how it was flawed.  For example, the 1948 Israeli declaration of Independence includes a promise to follow it with a constitution that will govern the land.  That promise was never fulfilled and to this day Israel remains without a constitution – blaming the constant wars it fights as the high-stakes distractions that have prevented a constitution from being formed.  And that is not the only crack in the nationalist narrative of Israeli independence – a catch line repeated about the founding of the state goes a follows.  Israel is a land without people for a people without a land.  This positioning Israel as a swath of land that was nothing more that empty desert gifted to the jewish people as a sort of  divine miracle/ reward for the jewish people is the narrative the state propagates – and one that totally erases all the native Palestinians that lived on the land that became Israel for generations and generation before that land formally became Israel.

On the class trip today I learned a lot about the history of the finding of the Jewish state, and that the state building narrative the Israeli government uses is not an accurate or complete portrayal of the history.

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