Hidden in Plain Sight: The Nakba and the Heritage Legacy of the Israeli Historians’ Debate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


›1948‹ is a key concept in Israeli identity discourse. A signifier of the violent clashes that took place at the end of the British Mandate in Palestine (between the fall of 1947 and the spring of 1949), it encompasses both the foundation of a democratic Jewish nation-state and the destruction of numerous Palestinian communities during the Israeli ›War of Independence‹ and thereafter. The Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe, could not be overlooked by Israel’s ›generation of 1948‹ and those that succeeded it: it was present in the deserted fields and houses now occupied by Israelis, in the names of the streams, hills and roads Israelis now visited during military drills or school field trips, and in the frequent encounters with Arab ›infiltrators‹ who sought to return to their abandoned homes and lands.1 The mass expulsion and the killings of Arab civilians by Jewish forces were regularly discussed and debated by Israeli politicians, intellectuals, journalists and artists in the ensuing decades.2 Yet with few exceptions, Israeli historians and politicians have seemingly effortlessly merged these atrocities with a commonly accepted ›narrative‹ by, for example, attributing them to rogue, marginal, right-wing militias; depicting cases of expulsion as sporadic and spontaneous events; or justifying them as ad hoc measures taken against the initiators of the violence during the war.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalZeithistorische Forschungen – Studies in Contemporary History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Hidden in Plain Sight: The Nakba and the Heritage Legacy of the Israeli Historians’ Debate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this