The Place of the Mediterranean in Modern Israeli Identity


While early Zionists envisioned the Jewish state as an outpost of Europe in the Middle East, modern Israel is—geographically speaking—located in Asia and incorporates elements from both “Orient and Occident.” This book sheds light on how the Mediterranean region, its history, traditions, climate, and attitudes have shaped Israeli lived experience and consciousness. It offers new perspectives on the evolving phenomenon of Yam Tikhoniut (hebr. Mediterraneanism), which centers around the longing to find a "natural" place in order that Israel be accommodated in the region, both culturally and politically. This book explores Mediterraneanism as reflected in popular music, literature, architecture, and daily life and analyzes the ways in which the notion comprises cultural identity, societal concepts, and political realities.

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EUR €117.00USD $159.00

Biographical Note

Alexandra Nocke, Ph.D. in Jewish Studies (2008), Potsdam University, is an independent curator and researcher in Cultural Studies. Her major fields of interest include contemporary Israeli society, culture, and art, with a special focus on photography.

Review Quotes

"Alexandra Nocke has done an exemplary job in her encounter with the question of Israel’s Mediterranean identity. This profound and wide-reaching research explores the question from every possible angle. Israel’s Mediterranean identity is, to my mind, the key to its future in the region. [...] This excellent book is highly recommended to anyone who is anxious about the fate of Israel." -- A. B. Yehoshua

Table of contents

Prologue: Israel and I
Toward the Sea: An Approach
1. Introduction: Point of Departure
2. Tracing Yam Tikhoniut in Contemporary Israel
3. Mapping Yam Tikhoniut
4. Perceptions of the Mediterranean Region
Mediterraneanism is Taking Shape—An Outlook


A valuable resource for all those interested in Mediterranean Studies as well as contemporary Israeli issues of identity formation, the spatial dimension of Israeli existence, and the specific development of a place-bound identity and culture.


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