Gaza: Toward the Landscape of an Israeli Heterotopia

Years of Activity: 2016

Research Status:

Not Active
Participants: 

Fatina Abrik-Zbeidat, Reuven Amitai, Amny Athamny, Sari Bashi, Yuval Ben-Attia, Naomi Ben-Bassat, Ofer Cassif, Sarit Cofman-Simhon, Noga Gilad, Omri Grinberg, Dotan Halevy, Amira Hass, Ariel Hendel, Adriana Jacobs, Tami Levy, Sharon Rothschild, Omri Shefer Raviv, Elizabeth Tsurkov, Ayelet Zohar, Hana Zouabi

The Gaza Strip is one of the key foci of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This situation has many ramifications, including the formulation, among many Jews in Israel, of a fixed idea about Gaza. Thus, for example, Gaza has become fixed as the heterotopia of the condemned and its name has become a curse: For many Israelis, the expression “Go to Gaza” is a substitute for the curse “Go to Hell.”

In a paraphrase of Israel’s withdrawal plan from Gaza (or the “expulsion,” as the Jews who were removed from the area understood it), the purpose of this research group is to get to know Gaza both as an Israeli heterotopia and as an excluded place. The group’s members aim to examine a long list of issues: the meaning of Gaza in Jewish and Arab history, culture, and literature; the meaning of Gaza for those who are outside it and do not come into contact with it; Gaza and architecture; the abandoning and neglect of Gaza by the State of Israel and the comparison between the Mizrahi periphery, the Arab periphery, and what lies beyond the periphery; the question of infrastructure (water, electricity) and the linkage to the State of Israel; Gaza as a Palestinian heterotopia—how is Gaza seen from within the West Bank? How do Palestinians in Israel and in the Palestinian Diaspora view it? And, from the other side, how is Israel viewed from within Gaza? Also, Gaza as opposed to other heterotopias in Israel (including the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and the nuclear reactor in Dimona).

 

The discussion group’s participants are researchers within academe who come from diverse fields of knowledge that deal with similar questions. The group’s monthly meetings take place at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and in the offices of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Israel, in Tel Aviv.