Israel at 60: Heroes and Anti-Heroes

Hannah Naveh, Shlomo Avineri, Professor Menahem Brinker

23/02/2008 10:00 am

In a unique 15 minute film shot in Israel exclusively for our Jewish Book Week audience, the multitalented writer and film-maker Etgar Keret and internationally acclaimed writer Amos Oz opened Jewish Book Week 2008 with a discussion on Israel at 60.

Models of heroes and anti-heroes are embedded in any national discourse, all the more so in newly formed ones, such as the Israeli. Since the early stages of Zionism, Heroes and anti-heroes were played against each other in order to construct a solid sense of national identity, reflecting the constantly shifting political and cultural realities. Who were, and are, these heroes? What roles do anti-heroes play? How do models rise and fall? Where do they emerge from and how do they shape and mirror Israel’s image and imagination? These issues were discussed and debated by Shlomo Avineri, Menahem Brinker and Hannah Naveh, three of the foremost Israeli intellectuals in the fields of political science, literature and gender studies.

Hannah Naveh

Hannah Naveh is the Dean of the Katz Faculty of the Arts, Tel Aviv. She is the author of several books and articles on literature, Israeli culture and gender studies. She was the winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award.

Shlomo Avineri

Shlomo Avineri, one of Israel's leading public intellectuals, teaches at the Hebrew University and is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He served as Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry, and is the recipient of the Israel Prize. His books on Hegel, Marx and Zionism have been translated into many languages.

Professor Menahem Brinker

Professor Menahem Brinker is the preeminent ideological founder of the Israeli peace movement, a professor of philosophy and literature at the Hebrew University and the University of Chicago, and the author of six books on esthetics, philosophy, and literature. His commitment to peace was born out of his personal experiences serving in the Six Day War, in addition to his service in the IDF from 1953-1955 and during the Yom Kippur War. He became the Founding Editor of the monthly journal Emda, a publication that served as a sounding board for pro-peace ideas and whose contributors and readers crossed party lines. He has lectured throughout the world and taught at the university level in Israel and abroad, while remaining a key member of the Peace Now Jerusalem branch. He has received the Israeli Prize for research in Hebrew and Comparative Literature (2004).