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Myths in Service of the Struggle: "Ha-Tzofe"'s Coverage of the Disengagement from Gaza / מיתוסים בשירות המאבק: סיקור ההתנתקות בעיתון הצופה

אורלי צרפתי and Orly Tsarfaty
Kesher / קשר
No. 36 (סתיו 2007), pp. 156-166
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23921459
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Myths in Service of the Struggle: "Ha-Tzofe"'s Coverage of the Disengagement from Gaza / מיתוסים בשירות המאבק: סיקור ההתנתקות בעיתון הצופה
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Abstract

In June 2004, the Israeli government approved a disengagement plan that declared that Israel would unilaterally evacuate all Jewish settlements from the Gaza strip (the Gush Katif settlements) as well as four settlements in Samaria. The primary body representing the settlers and leading the public protest was the Yesha Council, whose dominant position represents the attitude of the Gush Emunim movement. A narrative textual analysis of the disengagement coverage in the Orthodox newspaper Ha-Tzofe sheds some light on the newspaper's usage of historical myths and their role in strengthening both the component of Jewish identity (as it was represented in the newspaper) and in strengthening the settlers' intra-communal solidarity during the struggle. A narrative analysis of the media texts assumes that an inter-textual dialog between the newspaper story and other texts in the cultural field- does exist indeed. Exposing this dialog could contribute to an understanding of the cultural processes taking place in society. The settlers' personal and collective identity is based on an understanding that enforces the continuity of Jewish history and regards the history of the State of Israel as an additional link in an ancient chain. This understanding sustains the Orthodox Jewish timeline, which is fundamentally ritual time synchronized to historical continuity. To the settlers, the separation of secular society, and especially of the Left, from Jewish values and from Zionism's founding myths demonstrates that they have lose their way with regards to values — with dangerous political implications — and enforces the secular Israeli understanding of time. We can examine how central this topic was in Ha-Tzofe from the intensity of its coverage and from the way in which the newspaper's agenda was established. The research corpus includes a sampling of 639 items in the newspaper relating to the disengagement plan from Gush Katif and northern Samaria during the months of July and August 2005. A narrative textual analysis of the newspaper's coverage of the settlers' protests during this period shows that it was set in the framework of four narratives — four sets of stories that are present in Israeli Jewish consciousness. The link to these is rich with meaning and associations. The first is the myth of "few against many"; the second is the memory of the Holocaust; and the third, the destruction of The power of historical analogy stems from familiarity with these myths. They are present in the reader's consciousness and shape the collective memory of the community. The encounter with the text — the newspaper text, in this case — invokes shared historical associations among the readers which hold a lesson relevant to the present. This article examines the media's construction, through myths, of the story of the protest of Gush Katif's evacuation. In other words, it searches for the story that the settlers tell themselves about their struggle and through which, among other things, they construct their identity and deal with the trauma of the disengagement. The process of the newspaper's construction of the protest story is a diffuse process whose representation of the present is informed by the past. It is fed by, and at the same time shapes, the moods of the people it covers.

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