The War of 1948: Representations of Israeli and Palestinian Memories and Narratives

By Avraham Sela; Alon Kadish | Go to book overview

1
The 1948 Palestine War on the
Small Screen
A Comparative Analysis of Its
Representation in Two Israeli
Television Series

Bosmat Garami


Introduction

Televised history has become the focus of growing academic research, which examines its uniqueness compared to the tradition of written history, and emphasizes its significant role in shaping collective memory. Film and television became central mechanisms of memory construction during the second half of the twentieth century and Western scholarship has long been emphasizing the power of fictional as well as documentary film in the representation of history1 and defending television’s capabilities to “mediate” history successfully against those who doubt it.2 According to Edgerton, televisual characteristics such as immediacy, dramatization, personalization, and intimacy, all shape the medium’s interaction with the past. Sorlin mentions the potential of television’s serials to expose “long durations,” describe mental and social processes, and create meaningful encounters with historical figures.

Wars have been particularly attractive as a central subject of prominent television series, both documentary and fiction. From the 1940s’ Why We Fight, through the 1970s’ The World at War, to Ken Burns’s The Civil War, the drama,

1. Marc Ferro, Cinema and History (Detroit, 1988); Robert Rosenstone, “History in Images/ History in words,” The American Historical Review 93.5 (1988): 1173–85; “Introduction,” in Revisioning History, ed. Robert Rosenstone (Princeton, 1995), 3–13; Shlomo Sand, Film as History: Imagining and Screening the Twentieth Century (Tel-Aviv, 2002) [Hebrew].

2. Gary Edgerton, “Introduction: Television as Historian,” in Television Histories: Shaping Collective Memory in the Media Age, ed. Gary Edgerton and Peter Rollins (Lexington, KY, 2001), 1–16; Pierre Sorlin, “Television and Our Understanding of History: A Distant Conversation,” in Screening the Past, ed. Tony Barta (Westport, CT, 1998), 205–20.

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