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Becoming Israeli

National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s

Anat Helman

With a light touch and many wonderful illustrations, historian Anat Helman investigates “life on the ground” in Israel during the first years of statehood. She looks at how citizens–natives of the land, longtime immigrants, and newcomers–coped with the state’s efforts to turn an incredibly diverse group of people into a homogenous whole. She investigates the efforts to make Hebrew the lingua franca of Israel, the uses of humor, and the effects of a constant military presence, along with such familiar aspects of daily life as communal dining on the kibbutz, the nightmare of trying to board a bus, and moviegoing as a form of escapism. In the process Helman shows how ordinary people adapted to the standards and rules of the political and cultural elites and negotiated the chaos of early statehood.

Paper: $35 | E-book: $34.99
ISBN-13: 9781611685572
Pages: 296 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: July 15, 2014
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“With a careful hand and a sensitive ear, she recreates for us the daily practices of Israel’s inhabitants, reconstructing both the large events and small details of everyday experiences with equal focus.”

Jewish Book World

Reviews

  • In this very engaging book, Anat Helman shows us how the public culture created in Israel during the very vibrant, proteans grew out of all these factors, but particularly through the encounters and sensibilities of the people during the young country's first years of statehood. With a careful hand and a sensitive ear, she recreates for us the daily practices of Israel's inhabitants, reconstructing both the large events and small details of everyday experiences with equal focus

    Jewish Book World
  • Helman's work has achieved an important balance, combining knowledge of critical historiography and its contribution, while greatly mitigating the judgmental position of the historian. She does this by attempting to understand the period from the perspective of the everyday experience of both its better-known and anonymous actors alike.

    Journal of Israeli History

About the Author

Anat Helman

Anat Helman is a senior lecturer in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her most recent book is Becoming Israeli: National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s.

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