This article seeks to challenge conventional arguments about Israel’s ‘cultural militarism’ through a comparative analysis of Independence Day parades of the 1950s. Using media reports, newsreels, and archival documentation, it examines the parades and compares them to other cases from around the world. The discussion focuses on three features of the Israeli parades: the widespread civil criticism of the place of the military in Independence Day celebrations; the role of the crowds and their proximity to the marchers; and the partly militaristic character of the parades themselves. While the article does not deny the obvious militaristic connotations of soldiers marching in the streets, it stresses the unique relationship between the armed forces and society in Israel and argues that militarism alone is not a sufficient analytic framework for analyzing Israeli society.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Parts of this article are based on my PhD dissertation, submitted to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. I am grateful to my supervisors, Professors Ofer Shiff and Avi Bareli, and dedicate this article to the memory of my teacher, Dr. Michael Feige, a brilliant and vital scholar, who was murdered in June 2016 during a terror attack in Tel Aviv.
© 2021. Association for Israel Studies
- Baruch Kimmerling
- Independence Day
- civil society
- military parades