Ma'abarot - Not Just the Name of a Kibbutz: Portrayal of the Ma'abarot in the Israeli Culture, 1950-2015

The Israeli ma’abarot (transition camps) are one of the most ignored chapters in Israeli political, historical and cultural discourse. In 1952 there were 132 ma’abarot in Israel and 250 thousand people lived there. In fact, most of the Jewish immigrants who came to the young State of Israel had to pass through ma’abarot. Many of these immigrants lived in the ma’abarot for a year, while others for up to 20 years in unbearable conditions. The talk will focus on two questions: (1) Why has this phenomenon been ignored in Israeli education textbooks, in the media and in the historians’ work? (2) What are the discursive strategies that used to vanish the Ma’abarot? The absence of the Israeli Ma’abarot is a case study that demonstrates how an immigrant society handles historical scars from its past. Moreover, the talk will shed light upon current wounds in the Israeli society.