Inclusion and exclusion in the jokes of the Yishuv.

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Abstract

The article discusses popular joke cycles about American tourists and comparable "others", published in the first decades of the twentieth century in the satirical press of the Yishuv. This rich corpus of humoristic literature, which has never received adequate scholarly attention, might shed new light on the nascent Israeli view of competing Jewish centers, and expose the difficulties that accompanied the early formation of local Israeli identity. The article focuses on the satirical expression of identity representations and images, and their affinity to different humoristic genres. It shows how parodies on pilgrimages to Israel allowed Yishuv writers to express self-criticism and mark symbolic inner boundaries, while the more universal jokes let them express ideological criticism and apparently mark symbolic external boundaries. However, since the satirical press of the Yishuv was written in Hebrew for local readerships, we can assume that its "boundary work" was aimed in each case at establishing a new social hierarchy, by setting new criteria for inclusion, and deepening readers' solidarity and self-awareness, at the expense of similar Others from competing Jewish centers.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalIsrael Studies
Volume24
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Satire, Hebrew -- Eretz Israel -- History and criticism
  • Newspapers -- Eretz Israel
  • Jews, American -- Eretz Israel -- Humor
  • Jewish diaspora -- Humor
  • Zionism -- Humor
  • Eretz Israel -- Humor
  • Eretz Israel -- History -- 1917-1948, British Mandate period

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