Elvis in Jerusalem: Post-Zionism and the Americanization of Israel / Edition 1by Tom Segev
Pub. Date: 04/02/2003
In his many works of history, Tom Segev has challenged the entrenched understanding of crucial moments in Israel's past. Now, in a short, sharp, polemical book, Segev has turned/i>
As the Middle East conflict enters its most violent phase, Tom Segev offers a lively, contentious polemic against cherished and rigid notions of Israel's national unity and culture.
In his many works of history, Tom Segev has challenged the entrenched understanding of crucial moments in Israel's past. Now, in a short, sharp, polemical book, Segev has turned his sights from Israeli history to confront some revered assumptions about the country today.
Drawing on personal experience as well as all kinds of artifacts from Israeli popular culture shopping malls, fast food, public art, television, religious kitsch Segev offers a controversial point of view: the sweeping Americanization of the country, rued by most, has had an extraordinarily beneficial influence, bringing not only McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts but the virtues of pragmatism, tolerance, and individualism. And, in the fierce battle over the future of Zionism, Segev welcomes the diffusion of national identity and ideology that has taken place in the last decade as a harbinger of a new spirit of compromise and openness.
At a time of crisis, as Israelis and Palestinians retreat to their most embattled positions, Segev's colorful, provocative book is sure to spark heated debate.]]>
Author Biography: Tom Segev is a columnist for Ha'aretz, Israel's leading newspaper. He is the author of three now-classic works on the history of Israel, among them One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, which received the National Jewish Book Award and was one of The New York Times's nine best books of 2000. He lives in Jerusalem.
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Table of Contents
FACING - HERZL'S STATUE "All That Stuff Was Zionism",
FACING - ELVIS'S STATUE "When They Start Shooting I Start Missing New York",
FACING - OVADIA'S STATUE "The Real Zionists Are Us",
FACING - GADI MANELLA'S STATUE "There Is No Honor",
ALSO BY TOM SEGEV,
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I read the Jer. Post and Haaretz regularly, but they don't capture this trend as well as this book does. Is VAPID Americanization bad for Israel? Is national unity a pejorative? According to Segev, social collectivism is dead, Americanism is thriving in Israel. Private parties now supplant group celebrations. If Paul Newman were to reprise his role as Ari Ben Canaan from the 1961 film, 'Exodus,' he might portray a capitalist in Ramat Aviv Gimmel, and not a committed Kibbutznik. Segev feels that more Israeli's pay homage to the Elvis statue at an Elvis Diner on the road to Jerusalem, than to a Herzl statue that stands outside of Herzliya, that beachside bastion of prosperous capitalism. Personally, aside from this post-Zionist's thesis, the book is worth reading if only for the bounty of tidbits of Israeli social history and the voices of Israel's scholars that are included. Segev smartly uses a recurring theme of statues, and the reader is left with a fresh look at the future of Israeli society.
My Hebrew teachersays that McDonald's is also called McDavid's in Yisrael :)