An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature
explores literary challenges to Israel’s national narratives. Many prominent Israeli writers use their fiction to confront the centrality of the army, the mythology of the “new Jew,” the positioning of Tel Aviv as the first Israeli city, and the very process by which a nation’s history is constructed.
Yehudit Katzir, Etgar Keret, Amos Oz, Yaakov Shabtai, Benjamin Tammuz, and A. B. Yehoshua are among the writers who engage with depictions of suicide in a critical and rhetorical process that reconsiders myths at the heart of the Zionist project. In Israeli literature, suicide is linked to a society’s compulsion to create impossible ideals that leave its populace disappointed and deluded. Yet, as Rachel S. Harris shows, even at their harshest these writers also acknowledge the idealism that helped build Israel as a modern nation-state.