The Image of the Fragile Ashkenazi Jew

Miri Freilich


The article examines the various presentations of Ashkenazi Jews in Israeli fiction. Ashkenazi identity in Israel is controversial both in everyday life and in fiction. However, the literary and artistic manifestations of Ashkenazi Jews are quite different from their political and social image. Ashkenazi Jews are usually portrayed as the intellectual, economic, and professional elite, and also as those who were responsible for the inequality between Jews who immigrated to Israel from Europe and Jews from Arabic countries. They are depicted by the Israeli media as those who forced the oriental Jews to settle in remote towns in Israel, thus denying them the ability to move up the social ladder.

The arrogant, upper-middle-class Ashkenazi is often absent from Israeli literature. Israeli artists of Ashkenazi origin present themselves in autobiographical literature as “weak” or “problematic” and they add a “fragile” aspect to the Ashkenazi identity. The Ashkenazi Jew is depicted as an insecure figure who agonizes over fears and childhood traumas. The image of the “fragile Ashkenazi,” appears in some of the most prominent Israeli writing: Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, David Grossman’s A Horse Walks into a Bar, and Gila Almagor’s book and film Avia’s Summer.

Słowa kluczowe: Alona Frankel, Amos Oz, Ashkenazi Jews, David Grossman, diaspora Jews, Gila Almagor, Holocaust survivors, immigrants, Israel, Mapai, Midrasha Gallery, Mizrachi Jews, second generation, “Sabra, ” Yechazkel Rahamim, Zionism

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