Altering Hebrewness: Holocaust-survivor characters in under the domim tree (Etz Ha’domim Tafus)

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In the Oscar award–winning film Son of Saul (László Nemes, Hungary, 2015), Holocaust atrocities are presented directly, using traditional cinematic devices. No Israeli film has ever dared do this. The Holocaust has appeared in Israeli cinema through indirect depictions, represented by the character portrayals of Holocaust survivors. The Holocaust memories of these characters were frequently silenced and, instead, their cinematic construction was exploited to allegorically reflect the Zionist ideology of the time. Under the Domim Tree (Etz Ha’domim Tafus; Eli Cohen, Israel, 1994) is a film that prominently portrays Holocaust-survivor characters in three leading roles. Its release coincided with a period of radical change in Israel. At the time two watershed agreements were signed between Israel and its former Arab enemies. Analyzing the film’s depiction of Holocaust survivors makes it possible to examine the shifts in hegemonic Zionist ideology that took place during those significant years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)143-160
Number of pages18
JournalJewish Film and New Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


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