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Becoming HebrewThe Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine$
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Arieh B. Saposnik

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331219.001.0001

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 Bounding the Nation

 Bounding the Nation

Ethnic Selves and National Others in Yishuv Culture

(p.169) 8 Bounding the Nation
Becoming Hebrew

Arieh Bruce Saposnik

Oxford University Press

Continuing with the theme of Orient and Occident in Zionist culture, this chapter examines the ways in which competing conceptions helped determine the role of Oriental Jews and Palestinian Arabs in the emerging Hebrew nationhood. Arguing against a historiography that correlates Zionism with an oversimplified version of European Orientalism, the chapter contends that, within Zionist culture, a myth of Sephardic supremacy coexisted with a sense of Ashkenazi superiority to shape the roles envisioned for the nation's Jewish ethnic groups. Similarly, romantic images of Arabs as racial counterparts and as models for the new Hebrews clashed with a view of the Arab as primitive and responsible for the land's desolation in a time of nascent national conflict. Especially in the wake of the Young Turk revolution, these conceptual divisions informed the Yishuv's language, music, celebrations, public spaces, economic and political orientations, immigration policy, and even bodily comportment.

Keywords:   Arabs, Arab‐Zionist conflict, Ashkenazim, Body, Ethnicity, Orientalism, Sephardim, Young Turk revolution

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