The Israeli army is called the people’s army and part of the myth around its glory is the idea of solidarity between the army and the citizens – We are all army. This very basic militarism is unprecedented in a state that defines itself as a western democracy. The fact is that there is very little separation in Israel between civil society, the state, and its army.
Screening with an introduction by Galit Eilat, including works by Avi Mograbi, Ruti Sela and Ma’ayan Amir, Yossi Atia and Itamar Rose, Doron Solomons and Yael Bartana
Venue: Israeli Center for Digital Art
Even though the IDF is still lauded on past glories, especially on the victory of the 1967 War, it is today much more common to criticize it and question its capabilities. This doesn’t suggest a new direction of Israeli society, from a highly militarized society to a more balanced civil society. Israel is still a nationalistic-patriotic society with a military-minded collective identity. The role of the army in the construction of Jewish-Israeli identity and nationality is still highly important. It is manifested in belligerent ritualism, and the appropriation of nature and religion into national iconography, highlighting these symbols in the public domain and transforming them into elements that consolidate collective identity and culture.
This almost fascist presence of the military crosses between all levels of state government and acts as the most common symbol of Israeli identity and nationality. The enormous influence of Israeli militarism is the main focus of the works presented in this program. Artists question the place and role of the army and the ways in which it is maintained and manifested in Israeli national identity.