Theses Doctoral

Women, Violence, and the "Arab Question" in Early Zionist Literature

Siegel, Andrea

This dissertation examines the themes of rape and domestic violence in Zionist literature on the "Arab Question" published in Hebrew from the last years of Ottoman rule in Palestine through to the 1929 riots that erupted during the British Mandate. By bringing to light the import of rape and domestic violence in works by authors such as L.A. Arieli, Yehuda Burla, Aharon Reuveni, Yitzhak Shami, and Shoshana Shababo, I demonstrate that Zionist motions of race and gender developed in an intertwined manner as writers imagined the future of Jewish-Arab relations in Palestine.

Moreover, while scholarly treatments of gender in the yishuv have thus far largely concentrated on questions of masculinity, I show how reading for masculinity and femininity together reveals Zionism's horror-stricken sexual underbelly; as authors do away with early fantasies of Jewish-Arab interweaving in an increasingly volatile political climate, they translate pogrom-associated fears of bodily violation from Russian and Eastern European settings into the Palestine arena. In novels, short stories, poetry, medical literature, and propaganda pamphlets Zionist intellectuals also urge reform of Jewish family life, sexual partnering, and hygiene education--this, all the while that they mount a case against turning to the Arabs as a viable folk source and partner for the New Jew.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Miron, Dan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 30, 2013