Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television

Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television Book Cover Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television
Yaron Peleg
Performing Arts
University of Texas Press
September 13, 2016
200

As part of its effort to forge a new secular Jewish nation, the nascent Israeli state tried to limit Jewish religiosity. However, with the steady growth of the ultraorthodox community and the expansion of the settler community, Israeli society is becoming increasingly religious. Although the arrival of religious discourse in Israeli politics has long been noticed, its cultural development has rarely been addressed. Directed by God explores how the country’s popular media, principally film and television, reflect this transformation. In doing so, it examines the changing nature of Zionism and the place of Judaism within it. Once the purview of secular culture, Israel’s media initially promoted alternatives to traditional religious expression; however, using films such as Kadosh, Waltz with Bashir, and Eyes Wide Open, Yaron Peleg shows how Israel’s contemporary film and television programs have been shaped by new religious trends and how secular Israeli culture has processed and reflected on its religious heritage. He investigates how shifting cinematic visions of Jewish masculinity and gender track transformations in the nation’s religious discourse. Moving beyond the secular/religious divide, Directed by God explores changing film and television representations of different Jewish religious groups, assessing what these representations may mean for the future of Israeli society.

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