By Ranen Omer-Sherman
Israel in Exile is a daring exploration of ways the traditional wilderness of Exodusand Numbers, as archetypal web site of human liberation, varieties a templatefor glossy political identities, radical scepticism, and wondering ofofficial narratives of the country that seem within the works of contemporaryIsraeli authors together with David Grossman, Shulamith Hareven, andAmos oz., in addition to diasporic writers equivalent to Edmund Jabes andSimone Zelitch. unlike different ethnic and nationwide representations, Jewish writers in view that antiquity haven't developed a neat antithesisbetween the wilderness and town or country; particularly, the barren region turns into asymbol opposed to which the values of town or state should be demonstrated, measured, and occasionally came across wantin
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Israel in Exile is a daring exploration of the way the traditional wilderness of Exodusand Numbers, as archetypal website of human liberation, varieties a templatefor sleek political identities, radical scepticism, and wondering ofofficial narratives of the kingdom that seem within the works of contemporaryIsraeli authors together with David Grossman, Shulamith Hareven, andAmos ounces, in addition to diasporic writers similar to Edmund Jabes andSimone Zelitch.
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Extra info for Israel in Exile: Jewish Writing and the Desert
Rather than the great civilizations of the day (Mesopotamia and Egypt) functioned as the chosen place for training the nascent chosen people” (340). But besides playing the essential determining role in the destiny of the collective, the desert is often regarded as a compassionate space providing succor for the beleaguered and oppressed individual, as in the ﬂight of Hagar from Sarai (Gen. 16:7), Moses from pharaoh (Exod. 2:15–3:31), David from Saul (1 Sam. 23–26) and later from Absalom (2 Sam.
Films such as The Great Promise [Dir. Joseph Leits, 1948] and End of Evil [Dirs. Helmar Larsky and Joseph Krungold, 1949] show the Arabs in the exposition. End of Evil opens with shots of a desert and Arab convoys with camels; the narrator introduces the Arabs as part of the old Palestinian landscape that the settlers have come to remake. They are “the thieves and the desert,” he says. . They are part of “these dead hills”, which the settlers have come to revive. (“From Jew to Hebrew” 188) I am intrigued by the fact that early Israeli ﬁlms often feature a protagonist who is a Holocaust survivor or immigrant who is transformed: “the ﬁlms use space to remake [the protagonist] into a Hebrew” (“From Jew to Hebrew” 182).
These are some of the crucial paradigms that challenge and stimulate retellings of Exodus and the ancient desert sojourn by the Israeli as well as Diaspora-based writers we will explore. The contemporary desert narratives that I have chosen for this study possess certain critical features that make of them a distinctive subgroup within Jewish literature. indd 16 12/8/05 3:04:13 PM Representing Desert Wilderness 17 a solitary protagonist whose interaction with desert space causes him to depart from the practices or ideological beliefs of the community.
Israel in Exile: Jewish Writing and the Desert by Ranen Omer-Sherman