Short Paper on Chapter 8 “No More Sabras”
Chapter 8, entitled “No More Sabras,” delved deeper into the fascinating study and history of Zionism. If the first chapters focused on the roles of persuasive politics and the religious contexts of Zionism, author Amnon Rubinstein discussed in chapter 8 the role of the Sabras in the Zionist history. Accordingly, the Sabras are the natives of Israeli that has played a critical role in the upbringing of the Zionist consciousness. The chapter started by discussing the eminent roles of the Sabras during Israeli’s formative years of national identity construction. After the State of Israel was established in 1948, the formation of Jewish identity became more apparent. Before the formation of the new Israeli nation, it was already predicted by the Jewish people that there will indeed emerge a new Jewish identity that is distinct from the outside world, but carries a rich cultural heritage of the Zionist history and consciousness. Among these many representatives of the established Israeli national identity are the Sabras. Chapter 8 discussed how the Sabras came into existence; these are the Israeli people who were born between 1930 and 1960, which were considered as the main formative years of Israel as a country with strong yet branched identities. The members of the Sabras are very limited in numbers, but they eventually became the cultural archetype of reference group of the subsequent generations of Israeli Jews.
Because of the roles that the Sabras have played in the topic of Zionist consciousness, they were considered as the harbingers of the then newly established Israeli identities. Their classical taste for the use of cultural symbols, practices and styles are some of their most important expressions of Zionism; these later helped established a deeper meaning into their identity as “Israelis” of the new generation. Author Amnon Rubinstein already said in this chapter that the Sabras are well-known for their pragmatism, courage and idealism, willing to sacrifice for their devotion to the Zionist enterprise and their native homeland. These are all displayed through their acts of physical labor and participation in the battlefield during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war (a war that immediately broke out after Israel was proclaimed as a sovereign state). More than their culture and religious ideals, the Sabras became a well-known embodiment of the Israeli identity during the 1948 war – it helped immortalized the Sabras’ image within the Israeli culture and identity formation.
This chapter could be considered as the most thoughtful chapter, because the Sabras are an important part of changing face of Zionism, which is what the entire book is all about. This chapter was entitled “No More Sabras,” because it discussed how these culturally-rich Israeli natives became an important part of the Zionist enterprise, but in the end, they were gradually reduced in numbers because of the changing context of the Israeli society. They were acknowledged for their sociability, strong camaraderie, solidarity, and a strong sense of self-expression and reinforcement. They engage in a wide range of cultural and religious practices to empower their moral, especially during the war. Some of their well-known traditions include the Hora dance, campfire meetings and public singing, and all of these became an important part of the changing face of the Israeli nation. They were indeed bearers of the formative Jewish identity years and they starkly embody the traditional and historical ideals of Israeli Zionism. But in the end, the success of the Zionist project as supported by the Sabras had been affected by the changing political and social context of the Israeli nation. It was in the last parts of the chapter where the author discussed how changes in Israeli’s social, cultural and political atmosphere became a factor in the individualization of the former brotherly and strong-tied groups and cultures of the Sabras. The only thing that is left in the minds and hearts of the Israeli identity are the contributions of the Sabras for the formative years of the country.
Rubinstein, Amnon. From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism. NY: Holms & Meier. Print.