Simulated Dreams: Israeli Youth and Virtual Zionism

Simulated Dreams: Israeli Youth and Virtual Zionism

Simulated Dreams: Israeli Youth and Virtual Zionism

Simulated Dreams: Israeli Youth and Virtual Zionism

Synopsis

At the core of the author's concern stands the question of cultural transmutation in an era riddled with media channels and all-embracing messages. Fragments of the Israeli experience are pieced together in this provocative essay to provide a socio-anthropological agenda for some of the issues involved in the manufacturing of items of symbolic solidarity and common national imagery in an epoch of social disunification and cultural pastiche. The author argues that even though the aesthetic forms of major cultural idioms have unrecognizably altered and are accommodated to befit the shape and style of post-modern living, the basic programs underlying them have remained immutable. Furthermore, it is the quality of adaptability to changing aesthetic conventions that allow such symbolic corner-stones to be left unturned. The case of the youth culture is chose here as a yardstick for examining the double voice of such process - the global versus the tribal.

Excerpt

The return of the prodigal son to his fatherland has been the generative myth upon which the Zionist claim for and enterprise of homecoming are edified. the motif of the wandering Jew who terminates his travels in the sanctified land of Israel and is thus transformed from a nomad to a settler is the core theme in the master narrative of that passage. the paragon of that pilgrimage, its justification and the bearer of its cross of sacrifice and redemption, is the archetype of the newly born, indigenous Israeli Jew who supposedly emerged from nowhere, drawing his strength and might from the elements of his old-new naturalized homeland.

This image was epitomized in the construction of the fine figure of the young warrior-cum-pioneer whose collective memory did not extend beyond the historical horizons of his land. Born and bred on constitutive myths of nation building and national exceptionalism, the youthful protagonist of the Zionist project had to deal with the dilemma of assuming responsibility for life and death without the corresponding authority of political and ideological leadership. This was previously reserved for and maintained by the oligarchy of Zionist elders who held the reigns of both cultural hegemony and organizational dominance. in time, the young cohort of yesterday have become the elders of today, and their own offspring are exposed to the continuous endeavor of engineering collective selves.

However, history is ambushing myth, and changes in the spirit of the times spell transformations in identity, priorities, and world-view. Thus, the question of the dynamic relationship between the living experience of the young and the mythical framework and formulae imposed on . . .

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