Between the backpack and the tent: home, Zionism, and a new generation in Eshkol Nevo's novels Homesick and Neuland.
The relationship between travel and home are given new life in the novels of Eshkol Nevo. Framing the contemporary reality in narratives that explore Zionism, travel, and social activism, Nevo offers a conception of the new generation of Israeli writers torn between an Israeli identity, with its increasingly inclusive and polyethnic state, and a Jewish identity with its diasporic roots.
Eshkol Nevo's summer bestseller Neuland (2011) soared to the top of both the commercial Steimatsky bestseller list and the more elitist independent bestseller list, where it remained for eight months--a feat unequaled in decades. (1) The novel is a romantic travelogue in which Dori, a history teacher, leaves his wife and young son in order to search for his father Manny Peleg, who has disappeared in South America following the death of his beloved wife. With the help of Alfredo, his guide, who specializes in finding missing persons, and Inbar, a fellow traveler traumatized by the death of her brother, Dori undertakes an exploration not only of the landscape, but of his own troubled mind. His psychological transformation opens his heart to his father, to Zionism, and ultimately to Inbar.
The novel was a surprise hit in a summer when Israelis were preoccupied with social justice demonstrations against elevated food prices, an untenable rise in the cost of living, and the exorbitant price of housing. A tent city that sprang up on Rothschild Boulevard focused these disparate protests and served as a rallying cry, ultimately motivating similar responses throughout the country. Many of the country's authors, including Nevo, attended the rallies, offered free readings at their camping grounds, and in different ways supported the demonstrations. The rhetoric employed in the protests highlighted the disparity between the socialist origins of Zionism and the reality of Israel's capitalist economy which has exacerbated the divide between rich and poor. This was addressed during the demonstrations in the pillorying of old nationalist slogans, comically reworked posters, and the satiric renaming of Rothschild Boulevard as "If I were a Rothschild," a play on "If I Were A Rich Man," the signature song of Fiddler on the Roof.
The magnitude of the Israeli Social Justice Protests of summer 2011 came as a surprise to observers and participants alike. For a period of three months, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in a rallying cry to redefine national priorities thus turning in the process Israel's major metropolises into "rebel cities"--festive spaces of struggle and collective effervescence. (2)
The tent cities graphically illustrated the need for affordable housing, and symbolically played on the ideas of Israel as a national home whose responsibility was to house its Jewish citizens. If they could not afford apartments in the urban centers where jobs and education are located, then the public spaces would serve as venues for these new "pioneers" to build shelter. (3) The employment of this Zionist historiocultural narrative was also evident in the tents' visual invocation of the tiyul; camping treks through the national landscape and international backpacking youth culture. (4) Thus the young generation's call for a home, perhaps subconsciously invoking metaphors of travel, deployed the memes of Zionist ideology. Considered "exceptional travelers" in the scholarship on tourism and backpacking subculture, Israelis' experience of backpacking reveals two contradictory impulses: the desire to escape from society's strictures, its many rules, regulations, and authority figures, while at the same time appearing to cling to other countrymen; seeking out compatriots and opportunities to engage in Hebrew, share Israeli culture, and even enjoy aspects of Judaism--the very manifestations of the society they appear to be escaping. (5)
Neuland gently satirizes the Israeli backpackers' journey. The illusion of a unique travel experience is undermined when Dori and Inbar appear to be following a trail already well-trodden by previous Israeli trekkers. Thus the conventions of backpacking are bared, even as backpackers themselves remain unaware of the ironic contradictions in their behavior, a truth in the fiction and, according to sociological and rhetorical studies of Israeli tourists, also of life.
Though the backpackers repeatedly express a desire to distance themselves from fellow Israelis and from state-related organizations, they routinely follow similar itineraries during the trip, find themselves in, or seek, the company of other Israelis, and spend a good deal of their time in Israeli "enclaves." They lodge in accommodation facilities frequented by Israelis; they dine in restaurants that are either run by Israelis or that predominantly cater to Israeli backpackers (where "typical" Israeli food is served); they frequently communicate with their families by visiting Israeli embassies and consulates, where letters, packages, newspapers, etc., await them. (6)
These networks model social experiences characteristic to Israeli society, traceable to the pioneering culture of the early sabras, whose shared havurah (best translated as fellowship) included a particular humor and the celebration of Hebrewism, and represented a culture of physical labor and bravery. (7) Yet, as Chaim Noy has explored in backpackers' narrativization of their experiences, they view these journeys--due to the pressures of Israeli society and traumas of military service they are escaping--as restful and relaxing. "What lies at the core of the backpackers' stories, though often covert, is these youths' selves and identities, rather than the exciting activities and accomplishments." (8) It is the psychological experience, especially the process of separation and independence, that comes with the travel that frames subsequent descriptions of the trip.
Within Israel the representation of backpacking youth has become ubiquitous, a rite of passage following military service that might last from a month to several years, indeed "in Israel it's hard to separate backpacking from the military." (9) The similarities between the two "such as having to carry a big bag and camp out in the open" (10) connect youth experiences of military service and backpacking; an association also re-created in the tent protests that linked the symbols of national military service with the new language of social activism. The youth had a right to protest, because they had earned it in blood. The image of the nomadic youthful wanderer with his or her tent and temporary travel companions was now demonstrably tied to the permanence engendered in the return home after the longjourney. The expectation that after the hiatus of travel, backpackers will rejoin Israeli society, take up jobs, or begin university education is, as Darya Maoz has described, anticipated within the very act of escape: "In general, they are taking a temporary leave from affluence, but with the clear and unwavering intention of returning to 'normal' life." (11) In Homesick, Nevo's earlier bestselling novel, Modi the backpacker writes a letter describing this experience as "trekness" (tayalut) an internal process that involves the silencing of one's inner police. (12) According to Modi, "in 'trekness' mode, through a process that isn't exactly clear to me ... your consciousness, at least in theory, remains open to surprises and amenable to changes." (13) Thus the "chance for personal growth and ... search for meaning" that backpacking offered translated into a desire to reform the social injustices in Israeli society. (14)
Using the language of a youth culture honed by the experience of backpacking: dreadlocks, casual encampments, free-flowing interactions, opposition to the usual social rules--the Rothschild boulevard protesters represented liberal values and social ideals. The demonstrations exhibited a link between youth travel abroad with its transformative impact and local attempts to alter the Israeli social and economic reality. The international element was particularly pronounced in the ways in which the protests were run, employing techniques seen elsewhere, such as in the construction of representative advisory councils and the use of hand-signals. The protestors "did everything to remain in the mainstream.... aligned with the left, the public atmosphere led them and the vast majority of movement participants to avoid at all costs being perceived as 'leftists'--a term which these days in Israel is all but synonymous with 'traitors'--and created deliberate self-censorship which not only silenced any engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also defused confrontation on socio-economic grounds." (15) Though they came in the wake of the Arab Spring and the Spanish anti-austerity movements earlier that year which informed them (and preceded the world Occupy movements), they were unique in their attitude towards the establishment, calling on the government and its institutions to improve society, rather than standing in opposition to them. Employing the language of Zionist social values, they had high public approval ratings and widespread popular support (with tent cities appearing in 60 locations). Much of the country supported the demonstrations, probably because the Rothschild Boulevard protest leadership avoided demands to unseat the government or call for revolution, thereby avoiding divisive politics. Instead, they spoke in terms of improvements within the system. Thus the movement was not antiestablishment, but rather a call on the establishment to improve the situation. Ultimately, it would do nothing to change the status quo, nor even curtail the government's right-wing ideology and its attempt to discredit the protests as the product of anarchists and secret cabals, (16) but they could do little to dent the public's enthusiasm for what did appear to be a grassroots movement. This middle-class youth, arrayed in tents along the boulevard, gathered in enclaves that reflected shared interests, while protest agendas came to symbolize the mood of the country--still holding socialist Zionist values that the public rallied around, but avoiding the contentious issues of identity politics, the treatment of foreign workers, or the Occupation. Thus the protests spoke of the problems of Israel proper and not its periphery. In invoking a nostalgic Zionist discourse they spoke to the heart of the country's identity.
These two pillars--travel abroad and the role of home--also engage a larger paradox within contemporary Israeli society and identity. The ideological history of Israel as a state for the Jews has given way in the twenty-first century, at least amongst Israel's liberal and activist younger generation, to the recognition of Israel as a home of all its citizens. (17) Simultaneously, the negation of Diaspora that characterized the creation of Israeli society in its formative years has been superseded, as this generation increasingly traces its roots to multiple Jewish histories and geographies which were erased or marginalized in the Zionist nation-building discourse. In the reclamation of this Jewish past, and concomitantly the renegotiation of the Israeli present, young Jewish Israelis now identify themselves through multiple overlapping identities.
Nevo's novel Neuland considers several forms of travel, from the affluent organized European vacation and yeridali (emigration from Israel) of middle-class Israelis to the roving backpacker. In traveling to Europe, and particularly Germany, characters within the novel evoke the Holocaust, but also gesture to those Jews who returned to Europe after the Second World War, rebuilding a Jewish life in the shadow of a troubled past. Inbar's father's move to Australia and his establishment of a new family also offers another model of Jewish migration. Like Doris search for his father missing in South America, these new world locations present alternatives to Zionism. Dori finds Manny at Neuland, once one of the Argentinian agricultural colonies originally established by Baron Hirsch as a haven for Jews fleeing pogroms in the Russian Pale of Settlement. (18) Renamed and repurposed, it now operates as a commune for mostly Israelis (serving Israeli food) and offering respite for stressed and traumatized soldiers. Here, in the character of Jaime, Inbar finally solves the mystery of "the wandering Jew"--a moniker attached to messages that she has seen at many of the locations in the course of her travels with Dori. Scarred by the trauma of his military service in the second Intifada, Jamie has retreated from reality. After searching for meaning in the backpacking trails, where he identified as the wandering Jew, he has found respite at Neuland.
In his employment of the image of the diasporic wandering Jew, Nevo situates the reader at a vantage point that offers an alternative trajectory Of jewish history distanced from Zionism and Israel's contemporary reality. The novel is a meditation on alternative paths (and ideological choices) that Jews have opted for in place of Zionism. It also explores the ideological paths of Zionism, considers alternative choices and narratives, and ultimately attempts to reformulate Zionism to give it a contemporary relevance, as the protests had done. If Neuland is a travel novel, Homesick, which is set almost entirely around a house outside of Jerusalem, is a meditation on home and belonging. The novel depicts the interwoven stories of four separate homes. The first belongs to a young secular couple who move in together while completing their undergraduate degrees: Amir is studying psychology at the University in Tel Aviv and Noa at Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. Symbolic of the traditional hegemonic elite characterized by youth and leftist leanings and balanced between the conflicted hearts of the country, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, this couple moves into the rented section of a house in Maoz Zion, a space that symbolically lies between the two cities. This working-class suburb just west of Jerusalem and just south of the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway lies across the road from the upper middle-class suburb Mevasseret Zion. It continues to be known by its pre-1948 name, Castel. Once an Arab village, its previous inhabitants fled the IDF during the 1948 war and were subsequently replaced by Jewish immigrants from Kurdistan. Sima and Moshe Zakian, the young couple's landlords, share the rest of the house along with their small children and the constant presence of Moshe's parents Avram and Gina, who live upstairs.
While the history of Jewish identity has been conditioned by the process of exile, "the advent of Jewish nationalism was interwoven for most of its proponents with the notion of Jewish normalization." (19) As Karen Grumberg shows, "today Zionism is associated first and foremost with territory and statism." (20) Thus home is not only a private and personal space, but it is also an allegory for Israel as a national home. But in contemporary Israel society that meaning has expanded to include not only Jews, but includes those who identify as citizens within it as well. Viewed in light of Gaston Bachelard's claims about the nature of poetics within familiar spaces, conceptualizing home raises existential questions about being and nonbeing. (21) By observing the place and personalizing it, a form of personal consciousness is being expressed. (22) As J. Nicholas Entrikin and Yi Fu Tuan have argued separately, in examining the poetics of locals place itself is merely space that has become familiar, imbued with experiences, memories and feelings, through which the random infinite nature of space is contained and understood when it is described as place. (23)
"Home" indicates a unique and imbued place of belonging, as opposed to the empty, affectless space of the house, itself merely an architectural shell waiting to be filled with the signs of actual and/ or metaphorical belonging. On the other hand, home may equally be understood as a more abstract, symbolic category, something malleable, adaptable, even portable, a feeling or a sensation that may be created, and either magnified or decreased, by the effects of human agency, as opposed to "house," which is the physical, material object, calling to mind the tangible specifics of kitchen, basement, roof. (24)
Barbara Mann elucidates the conceptual particularity of Israel that dissolves the distinctions between "space" and "place" that normally demarcate the difference in meaning Entrikin and Tuan theorized. While in English, house and home indicate a conceptual divide between the physical structure of a domicile and the affective condition created through its extended inhabitation, the Hebrew word bayit encompasses both meanings. (25) Home also constructs a private and personal dimension, offering not only a base, or location of longing, but a way of "describing relations with other people and [is] thus one indication of how difference is negotiated in the public sphere." (26) In Homesick the construction of home in the Israeli context simultaneously offers a reading of personal experiences and an allegory of the national homeland.
All of Nevo's novels consider the question of identity through the establishment of a home and juxtapose this image with travel, thereby reimagining the traditional image of the wandering Jew as a modern traveler, backpacking through the world. (27) While this affect is usually created through opposing characters, one chained to home, the other peripatetic, these topics are treated comprehensively in Neuland and Homesick, each representing an all-encompassing exploration of one side of this binary (even while maintaining minor characters who hold the alternate position). The mainstream popularity of Nevo's novels highlights the extent to which he has articulated the contemporary Israeli experience--and by extension the changes that have taken place in Israeli identity in the twenty-first century. Deeply intertwined, these reconceptualizations of Diaspora and home depend upon one another. As Sidra Ezrahi has claimed in her exploration of Jewish literature, the act of return only exists by virtue of exile. It "captures the intensified longing for a place of origin as [the] ultimate reference or antecedent--the presumption of a paradise whose loss or absence preserves it in a kind of negative space." (28) For in the Jewish imagination home is always a return to the land of Israel, a religious and spiritual homeland that casts any place outside of it as "exile." Yet with the realization of the State of Israel and the transformation of the Zionist dream into a reality, Jewish understandings of home shifted radically. No longer a metaphorical space, the land of Israel lost its role as a site of projection, a place that promised spiritual salvation; instead, as a reality, it engaged the problematical manifestations of daily life.
This disillusionment creates a chasm in which Israel's diverse and complicated national drama threatens the very heart of Zionism and inspires writers to turn to abroad, which in their imagination (and fiction) offers a return to a diasporic, prenationalist Jewry. Within these two poles the Israeli--that is, the traditional hegemonic white Ashkenazi male hero--is forced to negotiate his own identity and his relationship to others; in Israel he represents the mainstream and his encounter with the periphery (Mizrachi, foreign worker, Palestinian) forces a reconceptualization of Israeli nationalism. This is further refined through the encounter with other nationalities abroad, an insecurity that is characterized in the Israeli backpacker's constant need to seek reassurance in the company of other Israelis. Moreover, the journey abroad also brings Israelis into contact with a non-Israeli Jewish diasporic community, with which they learn to identify. Where once the Israeli hero had symbolized the rejection of Diaspora, today those connections with a transnational and religious past resurface as Israelis attempt to reconfigure their identity as part of a global society. They do so both as citizens of a multi-ethnic (and not purely Jewish) Israel, and also as Jews, rooted in a long Jewish history.
The thematization of home and abroad began to evolve in Israeli literature during the 1970s. Risa Domb's landmark study Home Thoughts from Abroad (1995) explores the work of several Israeli writers, including Binyamin Tammuz (Minotaur; 1980), A. B. Yehoshua (FiveSeasons, [Molkho, 1987]) and Yaakov Shabtai (Past Perfect [Sof Davar, 1984]), who use travel overseas as a way to come to terms with Israeli reality and disillusionment with that reality. She argued that being outside of Israel made it possible to see the "inside" more clearly; (29) for Domb, abroad meant Europe, as it did for her writers. This reflected the historical origins of the Ashkenazi Jewish community, the forefathers of the writers, and implied that culture and civilization lay within Western Europe--though later with MrMani (Mar Mani, 1989) A. B. Yehoshua would identify with a Sephardi past and would broaden his interpretation of Europe to include Spain and the Ottoman Empire. The nomadic wandering of the diasporajew, an iconic trope in both Jewish and non-Jewish literary and cultural history, was supposed to be in abeyance, purportedly satiated in his return from exile to homeland, at least according to Zionist rhetoric. Yet this trope remained like a pulsing undercurrent, unsettling even those who believed in the new-old Israeli home. Even while these tensions between home and homelessness persist in Nevo's writing, the conception of abroad has since expanded beyond the borders of the Mediterranean, as Domb first explored it, to include anywhere an Israeli might travel. In her analysis, Domb relied on Gaston Bachelard's conceptions of inside/outside and Robert Alters specific interpretation of home/horizon in a Jewish context. (30) Domb attributed the development of this literary trope to an increasingly mobile traveling protagonist (and writer) and to a change in Israeli consciousness. The Israeli of the 1970s sought to know himself (the central protagonists were invariably male) not as others had demanded according to a nationalistic rhetoric, but as he really was. Accepting the pattern, Susan Willis identified in travel literature through which "flight is the way of coming to know oneself" (31) Domb demonstrates that Israeli writers saw travel as an opportunity for freedom of mind and spirit, and as an escape from convention. The "journey" aspect of travel literature served to liberate the mind from the restrictions that home imposed, but also complicated the imaginary and the actual. Real-life encounters with abroad proved different, disappointing, or filled with new horrors. Though travel had become a form of escapism from a brutal Israeli reality, particularly following the Yom Kippur War, (32) and though its promise of new opportunity was a reaction to perceptions of Israel as a dead end, it nevertheless was limited in what it could offer in return. Contemporary Israeli travel culture, including backpacking, has preserved these connections.
These self-same writers who meticulously constructed their escape had also written major novels about the experience of life within Israel. The reality they were attempting to flee in their travel fiction was a world they had already crafted in detail, in, for example, Binyamin Tammuz's Requiem for Naaman (Requiem Le-Na'aman, 1978), A. B. Yehoshua's The Lover (HaMeahev, 1977), and Yaakov Shabtai's Past Continuous (Zikhron Devarim, 1977). In many ways, these writers were creating pairs of novels (overtly or otherwise) that offered distinct critiques of the nation-state. If abroad offered a place for escape from oppressive social environs, home was a place of restless discontent. (33) Furthermore, home was no less foreign than abroad. For example, both Tammuz and Yehoshua sought to represent the Arab presence that was evident in Israeli daily life, but excluded in high culture. Yehoshua's novel, in particular, became a landmark volume in Israeli literary history for its (mis)representation of the Arab voice.
Born in 1971, Nevo is only a few years younger than Keret, who shook up the Israeli literary scene in the 1990s along with Gadi Taub, Yehudit Katzir, and others of the "thin language generation." Nevertheless, his style of writing marks a clear break with this generation's depiction of individualism, and instead returns to a realist mode of writing and the allegorical treatment of Israel characteristic of an earlier generation of Hebrew writers. The grandson of Levi Eshkol, the third Israeli prime minister, and son of psychologists, Nevo was raised in affluence and privilege. Trained as a copy-writer, he worked in advertising a symbol in Israel of a decadent bourgeois lifestyle. (34) By virtue of his birth, his former profession, and his style of fiction, he is representative of the Ashkenazi, white, Jewish, male elect. Despite challenges to the patrilineal model of Hebrew literary history, Nevo demonstrates its continuation in his novels, which remain deeply attached to a male-centered literary tradition of nationalism, masculinity, and militarism. (35) In this respect he is heir and successor to a well-established legacy of Hebrew novelists. Nevertheless, he belongs to a new generation whose experiences of both Israel and Jewish identity challenge those of previous generations, while producing novels "tempered by the sobering times and more directly informed by the Israeli literary traditions [than his immediate predecessors]." (36) Though novelists like Nevo returned to familiar national themes, they gave them new shape, informed by transformations within Israel. As mainstream hits, Nevo's novels capture Israel's contemporary spirit and are indicative of the changes that have been taking place within Israeli society, in the Israeli literary establishment, and among the reading public. (37)
In Homesick, along with his portrayal of Noa and Amir--white, Ashkenazi, liberal students, archetypal in the history of Israeli letters--he also offers a diverse cast of social others in the Palestinian laborer and the Kurdish homeowners. As symbols of the marginalized Mizrachi Jew, Nevo not only captures the Zakians poverty and ethnic marginalization, but also, through Moshe's increasing religiosity, the hold that the religious establishment's rhetoric took within Israel in the mid-1990s. Like Emuna Elon's If You Awaken Love (Simha Gdola Bashamayim, 2004), Moshe Sakai's Yolanda (2011) and Ronit Matalon's Bliss (Sara, Sara, 2000), Nevo's novel portrays the period leading up to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin and the particularly heated rhetoric that seemed to divide the country between the peace camp and the religious establishment. The price of this left-right debate is explored through the presence of the Zakian's neighbors, whose son Gidi was killed while serving in Lebanon. The family's overwhelming grief, and their neglect of their living son Yotam, also offers an examination of the cost of war in Israeli society and its toll on the living and the dead, a theme he returns to in Neuland. The depiction of Saddiq, a Palestinian working at a construction site nearby, completes this diverse cast. Slowly Saddiq comes to realize that the Zakian house is his own childhood home. In a complex interweaving of the Palestinian in the Israeli narrative, Avram, in a state of delirium, mistakes the Arab for his own dead son Nissan, who died when he was two years old, shortly after they moved into the house--and ignoring the presence of his living sons is consumed by this loss.
Barbara Mann has claimed that despite the illusion of home, each unit in this novel is burdened by longing and nostalgia, captured rhetorically in the "ga'agua" of the novel's Hebrew title. (38) This disruption to home is expressed most clearly in Saddiq's desire to return to his family's home, brandishing the key and deed, to find the object his mother had buried within the very walls of the house. Avram welcomes him in, but his enthusiastic confusion alienates Saddiq. By paralleling the Arab's experience to that of the other characters, "the novel absorbs the Palestinian narrative into its own, effectively neutralizing it, making the house the remote object of nostalgia comparable to other longings, and defusing the Palestinian right of return." (39) For as with all the characters, home is already an exile from somewhere else, and a conceptual vision that cannot be realized through a physical reality. Mann claims that "in Homesick, as in other recent fictional treatments of the conflict, the story of Palestinian dispossession is absorbed into Hebrew literature, thus becoming a part of the Israeli Jew's moral journey." (40) Home becomes an imaginary space for the projection of desire, serving to root the past and become a symbol of identity. But it also becomes a transformative experience which ultimately shapes the Israeli's moral conscience. In this very negotiation, the relationship between the individual and the nation comes to be explored. As a national home and homeland, the problems of spatial identity in Israel, what Mann, Gruntberg, Vered Weiss, and others have seen as the question of "place," remains contested, thereby positioning home as disrupted and disputed territory. (41)
Israeli society in Nevo's literature is a polyphonic circus constantly searching for a home, thereby constituting the search for home as the home itself. Despite the multigenerational house at Castel, the Zakians' other children have moved to Bnei Barak and Tiberias to find a religious community more in keeping with their beliefs. Amir (and Noa) and the other inhabitants of the house, "kept on moving compulsively." Amir continues, "I've lived in seven different apartments since the army, ... the bittersweet truth is--and it took me a while to admit it--that there's something addictive about frequent changes, the anticipation, the adrenalin that surges." (42) This stands in contrast with his happiness at moving in to the new apartment with Noa: "The first few days, after all those communal dumps we'd lived in, fighting about bills and waiting in line for the shower, we felt as if we were in a palace." (43) But eventually Amir rejects his life with Noa and leaves. Only at the end does he return because, as Sima observes, "they're better off together than apart. Apart, each one gets lost." (44) It is not the place that ultimately constitutes home but the experience of it, and the human relationships within the walls of the house. Thus, for Nevo, home is found within people and not within place. Modi's final letter concludes the novel. "I'm tired of making great decisions on my trips and then when I'm home, feeling them slip through my fingers," he writes, presenting travel as a way to crystallize his thoughts for life on his return, but disaffected by his constant wandering he closes the novel with the statement that defines the entire text: "I want to go home." (45) The fluctuating formation of the characters' identities becomes a metaphor for the ways in which Israeli society is shaped by competing notions of home. At the heart of Nevo's homes lie identity questions, which are evident not only in the housing arrangements and plot development, but also in the stylistic construction of the novel. As one review described it:
This may seem like a cavalcade of characters that could be overwhelming but it is tempered by Nevo's short, incisive entries in each character's voice. What's even more impressive is that Nevo alternates these voices between first and third person to help the reader immediately identify the character. Focusing mostly on the interiority of the characters allows us to oscillate between voices and viewpoints while we learn the subtleties of each character's psyche. (46)
Each character narrates his own story, thereby undermining the role of the omniscient narrator. This device further highlights the novel's plurality and the sense that only the individual can represent his or her own experience. Yet it is only when they are brought together that they form the collective core of the novel, and by extension, Israeli society.
Nevo's novels acknowledge the failure of the melting-pot ideal, which aspires to make a polyethnic identity disappear in favor of a universalized concept of Israelihood, but also rejects the individualism and isolation of the previous literary generation's protagonists. Functioning within Israeli society in all their multiplicity, Nevo's characters represent diversity in its social, economic, religious, and ethnic perspectives while experiencing the weighty effects of both Jewish and Israeli history. Home, in Nevo's novels, becomes a place of sanctuary from the overwhelming commotion that informs a pluralistic society. While it is a place of longing, it remains haunted by the ghosts of a traumatic personal and national past.
By contrast, Neuland, a travel novel, explores Zionist ideas for a national homeland but remains preoccupied by the idea of the roads not taken, rather than the place of settlement and home that characterized Homesick and World Cup Wishes. The novel's title echoes Theodore Herzl's iconic Altneuland (Old-New Land), a story of the ideal Jewish city, a Vienna on the Mediterranean, that later became a major inspiration for the construction of Tel Aviv. (47) Just as Herzl's dream of a German-speaking idyll never materialized, though the Zionist ideal of a self-governing state in Palestine did come into being, Baron Hirsch's plans for a utopian, self-governing region built on the Argentinian plantations he funded to helpjews escaping the pogroms and persecutions of Europe also failed to withstand the pressures of time. In contrast to Homesick and its continual sense of home, Neuland is the place without home. Though the novel seems to be interested in the idea of alternative homelands, ones less affected by the profound scars of war that characterize Nevo's Israel, the search for a new homeland reintroduces the old model of the wanderingjew. (48) In World Cup Wishes, Nevo focuses on the Occupation and the impact of the Intifada, the oppression of Palestinians and of modern military service on the Israeli male (themes he will repeatedly return to), whose experiences no longer enjoy the heroic glow acquired through protecting the nation that characterized service for previous generations. Here too he offers a character on a spiritual search for meaning in Asia, escaping from an oppressive Israeli reality. Extending and developing this trope of the battle-fatigued soldier and the wounds war has left on individuals and on the nation, in Neuland we not only witness Manny's PTSD from the Yom Kippur War, but also soldiers affected by the Intifadas, Lebanon, and serving in the occupied territories. Neuland offers a landscape free of war memories, but it cannot replace them with a meaningful experience that transcends the recovery period.
Nevo's abroad is different from that of previous writers because it does not always serve as a point of return. Domb identified conventions in the writing of the 1970s and 1980s, through which travel offered a way to re evaluate notions of home, and for Israeli writers to view themselves within a pan-Mediterranean identity that situates Israelis within a larger Jewish community. By contrast, Yehoshua's Open Heart (HaShiva MeHodu, 1994), which features a main protagonist who is sent to India, and Nevo's novels World Cup Wishes and Neuland are part of a literary trend whereby the foreignness of the new landscape focuses the protagonist on Israel's particularity--and its role as home. The space of alienation forces the Israeli protagonist to maintain his Israeliness. He does not merge into the local scene, nor identify with the new locality as the source of higher culture, as had previous literary protagonists; instead he creates new islands of Israeliness abroad. Though Neuland appears to offer a conventional narrative with its main protagonist (Dori) seeking his father on a journey fraught with danger and temptation, by recasting the model of the wandering Jew, it returns to the Jewish idea of home as the act of wandering. The Israeli is always at home, because he is in himself and finds the relationships that construct home-independent of a territorial frame. However, Dori's father's attempt to create a new homeland cannot succeed, because he cannot even convince his own son to leave Israel, either metaphorically or in actuality, and take up residence with him at the commune. Moreover, the transient nature of the commune's inhabitants prevents the relationships developing that would construct it as home. The members of Neuland who are predominantly Israeli, flocking there to be with other Israelis, remain circumspect about the long-term viability of the project.
When asked by Inbar about his relationship to wandering and to home, Jamie argues that Neuland as a place for dislocated shadows serves an important rehabilitative purpose but as a settled state it cannot compete with the existence of Israel:
I already have a country. It's true, that after what happened in Shechem, I don't see myself living there any time soon. But, as I always say: A home is not a place that you live in. It's a place that you know that you can always return to if you want. You don't need more than one place like that. (49)
For the individual, home exists as a psychological space in Nevo's imagination. For the nation, it is embodied in Israel as a national homeland, where it remains the only viable statist option, and in the narrative of the wandering Jew it retains its role in the Jewish psyche as the spiritual homeland Zion. Though Neuland presents the unchartered possibilities of alternate solutions to the question of ajewish national homeland, questioning Zion ism and its failure to evolve (as seen in the breakdown of the kibbutz and the failure of old socialist values as well as a return to the Jewish conception of home as transience), in his vision nothing replaces Israel even in its flawed existence.
Nevo reveals a conflict that is becoming deeply embedded in the Israeli literary imagination--the tension between Israel as home, which must be defended and maintained at all costs, even with the attendant price that it's citizens must pay, and the decline of a Zionist ethos with its inherent cohesion, which is slowly giving way to a Jewish narrative with a universalism that predates Zionism. Within this model a duality exists; on the one hand it becomes possible to represent the ethnic diversity of contemporary Israeli society in narratives that can include Israeli Arabs, Bedouins, Druze, Christians, Russians, tourists, and every type of Jew, from left-wing secular urbanite to religious settler, including Haredi society and its complicated relationship with Israel. On the other hand, in narrative terms, this model allows Jews to be divorced from the polyethnic state and experience a particular Jewish narrative which is inclusive of Jews with different backgrounds within a world Diaspora, but not of other ethnic, national, or religious communities. In this narrative, trauma becomes a significant trope, particular to The Jewish-Israeli experience. This extends both backwards to the Holocaust, displacement, and even at times the pogroms, and forwards through Israel's wars and experiences of terror in their actual time, into the endlessness of a recurring and uncontainable PTSD--both for the individual and for society itself. Yet in the final account, for Jews these identities will overlap.
The three generations of Inbar's family traced through Neuland begin with Lily, who arrived illegally from Warsaw in the late 1930s, and the four generations of Doris family, whose grandfather Pima arrived on the same ship with Lily. Though offering less variety than Homesick in its presentation of Israeli ethnic diversity, the novel describes generations of Israeli society from European refugees through the heroic generation of the Yom Kippur War to Doris own generation. Set almost entirely outside of Israel, it becomes a narrative of Jewish history in which Israel features, rather than a novel of the national homeland.
As with Homesick, the characters narrate their own stories in first person: Grandma Lily's escape from Europe is told through a series of flashbacks as she sits in her "memory" chair, following the death of her husband Natan. Inbar's mother and father each expound upon their divorce following the death of their son in the military five years earlier, explaining their relationships with this trauma, with one another, and with their daughter, Inbar. Hannah, Inbar's mother, has moved to Berlin where she is living with her lover Bruno, occasionally visited by his alcoholic son Hans. Inbar's father has moved to Australia where he has remarried and started a new family. This model in which the first generation migrates to Israel and remains committed to its ideals even at great personal cost and sacrifice stands in sharp contrast with the second generation who, having paid an even greater price in the death of their son, abandon Israel (and each other), forming new lives outside of Israel which cast off the principles of the state and the founding generation. Inevitably Lily, the grandmother, rejects her daughter and son-in-law's choices, considering them to have abandoned Israel and her only granddaughter. It is this battle that must be resolved by the third generation, who are torn between the Zionism of their grandparents and the trauma and rejection of Israel that characterizes their parents' lives both inside and outside of Israel.
Inbar, a radio producer for a psychologist talk show, feels adrift, unable to process her brother's death, her sense of abandonment by her father, and constant conflict with her mother. Hannah's rejection of her mother both in leaving Israel and in going to Berlin, the very city Lily had escaped, provides an unbearable tension for Inbar. While Lily represents the Holocaust and Hannah the effects of Israel's wars, Inbar finds that she cannot remain in Europe, which she finds stifling in contrast with the generations of Israeli writers whose protagonists had found it a place of clarity. After visiting her mother in Berlin, where she refuses to stay, she finds that psychologically she can no longer return to Israel. Instead she flees to Peru, signifying her deep need to escape the layers of Holocaust and war that represent Israeli trauma.
Inbar's grandmother-daughter-granddaughter paradigm is juxtaposed with Dori's father-son-grandson lineage. Bereft since his mother's death, trapped in a problematic relationship with his wife, and unable to connect to his father, he becomes increasingly isolated. His suffocating bond with his son can be seen as a reaction to his own psychological and later physical abandonment by his father. Like Inbar, his family situation appears to be breaking down. He lacks the sense of certainty and dependability that home offers, since he neither finds it within his family nor within his country. As a history teacher, his incapacity to view his father's experience of the Yom Kippur War points to the unknowable and fragmented trajectory of the historical and national narrative. Ultimately, their inability to communicate with one another suggests that he is neither rooted in Israel nor within his relationships. The collective experience in this novel poses a central question about the tension between Zionism and homeland as symbolized by the State of Israel, the Hebrew language, and Israeli popular music (which serves as a constant refrain in the novel), versus a Jewish identity with its mythology of the "wandering Jew" and the role of Jewish history. When Dori finally finds his father, having learned that his PTSD breakdown came under the influence of narcotics, and at last learning of his father's Yom Kippur military experience, partly as a result of discovering personal revelations in a diary his father left at a hostel, he comes to understand his father's trauma and subsequent disconnection from Israel following his mother's death. This truth explains Manny's readoption of the role of wandering Jew that previously characterized Jewish history and exile following the destruction of the Second Temple.
Though many rootless and traumatized Israelis find their way to Manny Peleg's realm, Dori entirely rejects the escapism that his father offers. Dori's constancy and refusal to be distracted by the false charms of an alternative lifestyle are evident throughout his journey. He never loses his focus on his quest for his father though he is offered numerous distractions, at first by his guide Alfredo, including prostitutes, food, hotels and local landmarks, and later by Inbar, who also offers him the prospect of what appears at first glance to be a holiday romance. Facing his mission determinedly, it is only upon its resolution and his return to Israel that he can imagine a new life. Like Modi in Homesick and Ofir who goes to India (and Shachar who travels the world), in World Cup Wishes the experience of travel will prove transformative. Unlike Alfredo, who argues that travel heightens the memory and the appetite, it is actually in Israel that Dori allows himself to be open to love and passion. After he lands at the airport in Israel Dori is free to kiss Inbar. In his return he also asserts his commitment to Israel--the Gaza war is starting and he refuses to shirk his call-up papers, and reports for duty. Inbar's transformation is depicted in her emotional awakening. She is able to free herself from her obsessive longing for her dead brother, allowing the past, and her own grief, a measure of containment. In kind, Dori is able to abandon his psychological commitment to an unhappy marriage, despite previously believing "that he belongs to the group of men who only have one love in their lives," a refrain that he frequently repeats as a mantra of his identity. The change both experience enables them to consider a future relationship together.
Dori and Inbar's love story runs parallel to that of Lily and Pima, their grandparents. When Pima finally comes to Lily six years after the voyage on which they first met, she tells him that he has come too late. She will not leave Israel or her daughter Hannah. Lily views her daughter and Israel as a fixed home bound by location that cannot be abandoned, and sacrifices her true love in their name. Lily is the counterpoint to Jaime the wandering Jew, refusing to leave Israel, refusing to accept her daughter's move to Berlin, and constantly calling Inbar home from South America. Symbolic of the Zionist founding fathers (and mothers), she can critique Israeli society from within (she eventually refuses to live on the kibbutz) but cannot abandon it. By contrast, Dori and Inbar neither give up their love nor their country. They find a meeting point between Zionism (in whatever form it may come to take) and their relationship. Inbar, who at first returns to her boyfriend, realizes that like her Grandmother Lily, she is being asked to choose her future path. In a coffee shop, suffering from worsening dementia, Lily gives a speech to Inbar, which serves as the climax of the book, positing life's meaning as a competing tension between fantasy and reality. Her argument that one cannot have the ideal, which may remain a fantasy that sustains us in the face of the reality, forces Inbar to examine her own expectations of reality.
What is this country of ours, what? Jews on top of Jews living in one place, but imagining another place, somewhere they came from and another place where they want to flee to tomorrow. It's lucky that they have this place in their imagination, Tzifke Foyer, because only this way, through the thoughts and dreams of wanderers, is it possible to give up on real wandering and stay. But it's so hard ... to stay, to give up, Inbar sighed a grandmother's sigh. To stay is the true courage. And you aren't really giving up, Inbari, that's what I'm explaining to you. (50)
Despite Lily's compelling argument, her solution never seems a truly viable option for Inbar, or for the novel. It is the conjunction of wandering and home that enables the characters to find a satisfying existence in the present.
This dichotomy between fantasy and reality provides a complicated meditation on the trauma experienced by each generation of Jews. Doris father lives entirely in a world of fantasy that he has constructed in material form at Neuland. Lily lives in one world while existing in another. Roni, Doris wife, lives entirely in reality, but this is a world without affection, or love--an impossible option for a romantically minded novelist! Dori and Inbar must find a way to restart their lives upon their return in a way that breaks the cycles of the past. The final and deeply symbolic scene, in which Dori and Inbar stand together at the Kotel, represents the wandering Jew's contention that discontent and homelessness are the result of the destruction of the Second Temple and the Jewish banishment into exile. By returning from their self-imposed exile and meeting at the last remaining wall of the temple, they restart history. In setting out from the Kotel and from historic Jerusalem, they can face a new kind of future--together. By this act, they conjoin the multiple meanings of home explored in Nevo's novels: the personal search for home in a mate, the Jewish spiritual focus of Zion, and the Zionist settlement in a national homeland.
Readers embraced Nevo's novel for his presentation of an Israeli protagonist, not an individual but a symbol of the nation, as central and iconic as Moshe Shamir's Elik. While Elik had come "from the sea," representing the annihilation of Diaspora in the name of the new Jew, Dori speaks to a generation who recognizes the departure from the new Jew ideology, who sees instead a hero weighted by the forces of Israeli and Jewish history. Yet just as Elik spoke to a generation, Dori too possesses the qualities that serve to reflect the ideas of an Israeli reading public. As Omri Herzog argued in his review, the novel's journey "[comes] out of a fantasy of freedom and independence, [which] is only a stage in the path of the educational process that the Israeli hero overcomes, on his way to realising his national identity which is stable and fixed. Thus, he who reads stories of Israelis' journeys learns little about what may be found beyond the borders--and a lot about the Israeliness that may be found within them." (51) Indeed, Nevo seems to have captured the contemporary Israeli Zeitgeist within his writings while providing a new literary language for doing so. As Herzog observes, "Neuland offers us a new perspective, which is national and literary together. It examines Israeliness within its psychological and cultural frames, and the sense of identity that it establishes, from a distance" (52) Nevo asks questions that are essential to current Israeli reality, but he does not solve them; rather, he presents the complexity of the situation, offering a concerned but open consideration of contemporary Israeli society.
In his most recent novel, Three Floors, an elderly widow and former county courtjudge is moved to attend the protests in Rothschild Boulevard:
The whole country is filled with tents, Michael. A young woman put up a tent on the boulevard in protest at the high price of apartments and in her wake others followed, because they were in the same situation they erected their own tents. Every pair of tents birthed a new one, and now in every village and city there are columns of tents along the main street, and every Saturday night young people hatch from the tents and go into the squares to protest in the name of social justice, calling for a new country. The protests are broadcast live on television and I watch them, and am sorry that you aren't with me to share the wonder. They're confused, those youth, their signs aren't articulate, their speeches are disorganized, but even so, there is something about them, some kind of fire that reminds me of us when we used to believe and you and I thought we could change the world. (53)
After fainting in the crowded throng, she is brought to the psychologists' enclave, where she recovers her consciousness only to find herself becoming a legal advisor to the protestors. Finding herself useful for the first time in a long while, she teaches them about their rights, helping them structure their requests to the authorities within the boundaries of the law so that they will be harder to deny. Her engagement with the protestors and the two nights she sleeps at the camp serve as an awakening for her--her own mini backpacking experience.
I wanted to go around and wake up all the citizens of Bourgeoisistan ... [because] the time I spent on the boulevard was just the straw that broke Deborah's back.... The changes that have taken place in my life in the past few weeks are so powerful, that sometimes it's even hard for me to believe them. And only when I leave you messages like this on your voicemail, am I persuaded by their reality. (54)
The tent demonstrations created an iconic representation of a new generation, one well-traveled, well-educated, committed to Israel and surprisingly idealistic. It is precisely in this respect that Nevo not only proves central to the current Israeli literary canon, but also speaks the words that lie at the heart of Israeli society today. The Israelis who do not reject Israeli reality and do not wish to exist in an isolated bubble of individualism and Americanization are calling for a change to the material conditions of Israeli society. Neuland's appearance--in a summer filled with protests about the need to make the reality for those who live within Israel more tenable, a protest that was filled with innovative redeployments of old Zionist rhetoric--reveals that this new generation has something to say about participating in the nation. Despite the trauma of Israel's wars and the price of remaining in the country, the cost of maintaining a national home seems to Nevo an ongoing and worthwhile enterprise, an idea that resonates for the demonstrators as much as it does for the current reading public.
With many thanks to Adriana Jacobs for her extensive comments on earlier drafts of this article.
(1.) By the end of the year Nevo had been awarded the annual Steimatsky prize for a best-selling novel. He had in fact beaten the record for the greatest number of copies of any book that Steimatsky had ever sold.
(2.) Daniel Monterescu and Noa Shaindlinger, "Situational Radicalism: The Israeli "Arab Spring" and the (Un) Making of the Rebel City," Constellations 20, no. 2 (2013): 1. It should be noted that the protests were viewed as middle class and were critiqued for focusing on housing needs and not addressing Mizrachi social issues or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Thus it was viewed in light of Zionism, as a protest of the Jewish citizen with his state.
(3.) Ultimately the leaders of the movement would be accused of bourgeois navel gazing, as Mizrachi and Palestinian activists accused them of wanting affordable housing rather than advocating for "public" bousing, and doing nothing to alleviate the plight of the very poor, or oppose the Occupation. Rather the protest, which ultimately did little other than to amaze the country by its very existence, was viewed as a middle-class expression for the center of the country--again ignoring and marginalizing the periphery.
(4.) Zionism encouraged the tiyul (excursion) as a way of instilling love and knowledge of the Land of Israel, but "it looked askance at any quest for personal or spiritual fulfillment outside its domain." Erik Cohen and Chaim Noy, "Conclusion: The Backpackers and Israeli Society," in Israeli Backpackers from Tourism to Rite of Passage, ed. Erik Cohen and Chaim Noy (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 253. The phenomenon of backpacking is specific to affluent, usually middle-class, Ashkenazi, nonreligious youths, after military service. By its nature it excludes a large percentage of the country who do not serve in the military, are religious, or do not have the financial resources to be able to travel or to avoid work for an extended period.
(5.) Darya Maoz, "Backpackers' Motivations: The Role of Culture and Nationality," Annals of Tourism Research 34, no. 1 (2007): 122-40.
(6.) Chaim Noy, "This Trip Really Changed Me: Backpackers' Narratives of Self-Change," Annals of Tourism Research 31, no. 1, (2004): 78-102.
(7.) Immortalized in the film Havurah Shekazot (1963).
(8.) Noy, "This Trip Really Changed Me," 79.
(9.) David Yin, quoting Chaim Noy, "Out of Israel, Into the World," Forbes, December 19, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidyin/2013/12/19/out-of-israel-i n to-the-world/.
(10.) Yin, quoting Amir Sagron "Out of Israel."
(11.) Maoz, "Backpackers' Motivations," 123.
(12.) Eshkol Nevo, Homesick, trans. Sondra Silverston (Urbana-Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 2010), 16. All page references are to the US English translation.
(13.) Nevo, Homesick, 17.
(14.) Maoz, "Backpackers' Motivations," 124.
(15.) Uri Gordon, "Israel's 'Tent Protests': The Chilling Effect of Nationalism," Social Movement Studies 11, nos. 3-4 (2012): 349-55, 352.
(16.) Gordon, "Israel's 'Tent Protests,"' 352.
(17.) Though originally an attack by post-Zionists, it has been reclaimed as part of the debate about the conflict between Israel as a Jewish state and Israel as a democratic state.
(18.) Morton D. Winsberg, "Jewish Agricultural Colonization in Argentina," Geographical Review 54, no. 4 (1964): 487-501.
(19.) Karen Grumberg, Place and Ideology in Contemporary Hebrew Literature (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2011), 14.
(20.) Grumberg, Place and Ideology, 15.
(21.) Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), 212. Written in French as Lapoetique de Pespace (1958).
(22.) Henri Bergson, "Concerning the Nature of Time," in Henri Bergson: Key Writings (London: Continuum, 2002), 205-22.
(23.) J. Nicholas Entrikin, The Betweenness of Place: Towards a Geography of Modernity (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991); Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (1977; Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2001).
(24.) Barbara E. Mann, Space and Place in Jewish Studies (Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 82.
(25.) Barbara Mann, "House, Interrupted," Michigan Quarterly Review 54, no. 1 (2015): 94.
(26.) Mann, Space and Place, 81.
(27.) Nevo first began publishing in 2001 with a collection of short stories titled Bed and Breakfast (Tzimmer be-giv'ataim). Since then he has published Homesick (Araba'a batim ve-ga'aguah, 2004), which stayed on the commercial bestseller list for 60 weeks, World Cup Wishes (Mishala achat yaminah, 2007), The Last Bath in Siberia (Ha-mikveh ha'acharon be-sibir, 2013), Three Floors (Shalosh komot, 2015), the screenplay for Is That You?, a film by Dani Menkin (2014), a children's book (2010), and The Breakup Manual (Nifradnu track, 2002), a work of nonfiction.
(28.) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Booking Passage: Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Imagination (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 9.
(29.) Risa Domb, Home Thoughts from Abroad (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1995), 6.
(30.) Robert Alter, "Afterword: A Problem of Horizons," in E. Anderson, ed., Contemporary Israeli Literature (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1977). Bachelard, The Poetics of Space.
(31.) Susan Willis paraphrased by Domb, Home Thoughts from Abroad (London: Vallentine Mitchel, 1995), 3.
(32.) Yin, "Out of Israel."
(33.) The trope of Tel Aviv as a nihilistic urban nightmare and a symbol of the declining mydts of Zionist culture is discussed in Rachel S. Harris, "Death and Decay: Urban Topoi in Literary Depictions of Tel Aviv," Israel Studies 14, no. 3 (2009): 75-93.
(34.) The films Dizengoff 99 (1979), Tel Aviv Stories (1992) and Shirat Hasirena (1994) all employ this image of the Tel Aviv advertising profession as a way of commenting on the superficiality, licentiousness, and Americanization of the city.
(35.) Israeli literature has been rethinking and redefining these themes since its beginning, and articulating the spirit of the age, but they have done so from a male perspective
(36.) Yaron Peleg, Israeli Culture between the Two Intifadas: A Brief Romance (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008), 123.
(37.) With the poet Orit Gidali, he also runs important creative writing workshops, "the largest private network of its kind," where he frequently hosts Israel's literary elite as visiting guests. Many of his students have gone on to publish and receive awards for their writing. Thus he exists at the center of Israeli literature both metaphorically and literally. Akin Ajay, "Writing from Experience: Is Repression a Normal Response to Reality?" The Jerusalem Post, April 30, 2010.
(38.) Mann, Space and Place, 73.
(39.) Ibid., 73.
(40.) Mann, "House, Interrupted," 94.
(41.) Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesoata Press, 2001); Grumberg, Place and Ideology, Mann, Space and Place, Vered Weiss, "A Spatial Identity Crisis: Space and Identities in Nir Baram's Novels," Shofar 33, no. 4 (2015).
(42.) Nevo, Homesick, 26.
(43.) Ibid., 7.
(44.) Ibid., 372.
(45.) Ibid., 373, 374.
(46.) Monica Carter, "Homesick," Three Percent Review, n.d., http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?id=2910.
(47.) This has been well-documented and can be seen in the name of the city, drawn from the Hebrew title of Nordau's translation, the name of the Gymansium "Herzeliya," and other iconic urban symbols in the early development of the citysuburb. See Barbara E. Mann, A Place in History: Modernism, Tel Aviv and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Maoz Azaryahu, Tel Aviv: Mylhography of a City (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press); S. Ilan Troen, Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs, and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). Nevo will return to this theme again in Three Floors (Shalosh Komol) in Dvorah's description of her late husband's ideal country "when the whole country looks like this, clean, orderly, law abiding, poised, we will know that Herzl's vision has become a reality and Zionism has won--you always said." Hebrew translation my own.
(48.) Adam Rovner considers the question of territorialism, other attempts to create viable locations for Jews to settle. See In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands before Israel (New York: New York University Press, 2014).
(49.) Eshkol Nevo, Neuland (Kinneret: Zmora Bitan, 2011), 493; Hebrew translations my own.
(50.) Nevo, Neuland, 531. Tvifke Foyer is Lily's pet name for Inbar.
(51.) Omri Herzog. "Neuland: Coming to the Promised Land," Ha aretojune 15, 2011, Hebrew translation my own, http://www.haaretz.co.il/literature/L1177186.
(53.) Nevo, Shalosh Komot, 169.
(54.) Ibid., 191-92.
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|Author:||Harris, Rachel S.|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2015|
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