Samson, Unchained: Biblical Undercurrents in the Political Sentiments of Israeli Jews.

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Author: Uriel Abulof
Date: Summer 2022
From: Israel Studies(Vol. 27, Issue 2)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,865 words
Lexile Measure: 1500L

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Abstract :

Biblical tales resonate powerfully with Israeli Jews who live with, in and through their religious past, occasionally re-experiencing it, even as they resist it. The article considers the political sentiments of Israeli Jews through the life and death of the biblical Samson in order to revisit the emotional and moral drivers of their public beliefs, behaviors, and identities. I identify the biblical story's main facets and show how they resonate with Israel's political sentiments: the fantasy of a sacred supremacy; the mistrust of adversaries from within and without; a fear of humiliation and isolation; and recourse to sacrificial revenge. I suggest that while the Bible has become a bone of contention between secular and religious Zionists, Israel's "Samsonian" qualities exist in a dialectical process of divergence and convergence over meaning-making. If Israel is Samson in chains, it may be time for liberation in life rather than death after bringing down the Philistine temple. Keywords: Israel, Zionism, Israel Religion, Nationalism, State, Bible, Samson, Collective Memory, Myths, Political Sentiments, Religious Experience, Phenomenological Sociology, Reanimated Communities, Deja Vecu, Mythic Contemporaries.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A700800227