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Class struggle in the era of identity politics: The revolutionary modernism of doron tzabari

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Peleg, Y 


From the beginning of its history, the Zionist workers’ society in the Land of Israel was plagued with fundamental identity problems. Chief among them was the tension between the socialist vision of Zionist ideologues and their wish to cast that socialism in a national Jewish mold as well. The blurry lines between socialist ideology and national identity became progressively more apparent as the country matured and developed, especially after the neo-liberalization of Israel since the 1990s. One of the most problematic legacies of this tension is the persistent socio-economic differences between two groups of Israelis, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, which are often cast in ethnic terms. This article looks at cinematic articulations of this tension and examines the tendency of Israeli culture, which is reflected in films, to relate to the gaps between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim as folklore rather than as a social and economic problem. In doing so, many filmmakers in Israel fail to use their art for promoting social and political change, as many of them try to do, for instance, with respect to the conflict with the Palestinians. The article describes this phenomenon, examines its nature and focuses on the social cinema of writer, director and social activist, Doron Tzabari, as a notable exception to this dynamic.



dramatic arts, film, Israel, Tzabari, Doron, social change, political change

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Jewish Film and New Media

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Project MUSE