The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew

The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew

The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew

The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew


"Fascinating in both its materials and its conclusions. [Almog's] arguments are forceful, yet very well grounded in empirical and theoretical works. The integrative and analytic power of this scholarly yet highly interesting work is extremely rich and sophisticated; its theoretical understanding and linkage to other works of sociology are truly remarkable." --Amia Lieblich, author of "Conversations with Dvora: An Experimental Biography of the First Modern Hebrew Woman Writer

"The Sabra encompasses the entire spectrum of its subject and is quite unique in its breadth and its depth. In his pursuit of Sabra culture Almog excels in the gathering and analysis not only of published documents, literature, and Hebrew textbooks, but equally of a great variety of expressions of everyday life. In this respect this book is an unprecedented tour de force."--Shabtai Teveth, author of "Ben-Gurion's Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal That Shaped Modern Israel

"The Sabra is singularly important given the centrality of the Sabra in Israeli life both symbolically--as a guiding myth or 'key scenario' for young Israelis--and in terms of the leadership positions that the first Sabras occupied until recently in the political and military affairs of Israel."--Yoram Bilu, author of "Grasping Land: Space and Place in Contemporary Israeli Discourse and Experience


When blond, handsome, fearless Yaron Zehavi, commander of the Hasamba gang, defied the evil British policeman Jack Smith, who threatened to throw him and his valiant comrades in jail, how different he seemed from the cowed and pious Diaspora yeshiva boy in Europe! Here was the new Jew, born and bred on his own land, free of the inhibitions and superstitions of earlier ages; even his physique was superior to that of his cousins in the old country. Zehavi, the hero of the most popular series of children's books produced by the new State of Israel, was the classic Sabra, a native-born Israeli modeled on the ideal that the books' author, Yigal Mosinzon, himself exemplified. Zehavi represented what has been described as a sudden and nearly total sociocultural revolution that, in a historical instant, produced a new society and culture with its own customs and codes and a new language and literature. Yet in important ways, many of which they would have vehemently denied, the Sabras were embedded in the Jewish culture that preceded them and can be understood only in its context.

This book is about the second generation of Zionist Israelis, the first generation to be educated and socialized within the Yishuv—the Jewish community in Palestine. It portrays them and tries to understand them and their influence on the society around them largely through an analysis of the writings they produced.

The Sabras were a product of what historians call the Hebrew revolution. That revolution's first generation has generally been called the . . .

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