chapter  3
18 Pages

The new Hebrews

WithDavid Ohana

This chapter will examine the influence the Canaanite intellectuals held over the Israeli discourse regarding the question of the Israeli homeland. The Canaanite intellectuals were known to have a marginal status, and their radical leader even prided himself on his marginality. But their sociological marginality was out of all proportion to their influence on the literary and intellectual elite or on the discourse they gave rise to on the option of a Hebrew homeland. The tree that grew in the land of Canaan had many ideological and interpretive branches. In the discourse on the Israeli identity there were many Canaanite possibilities: nativistic and metaphorical Canaanism, Zionist and post-Zionist Canaanism, left-wing and right-wing Canaanism, utopian and biblical Canaanism, ideological and aesthetic Canaanism, and many others. In the following chapter, we will examine the political and social thinking of Boaz Evron, who called for a “civil Canaanism.” This was not a mythological and archaic Canaanism like that of Yonatan Ratosh, but a national territorial Canaanism in which belonging and citizenship of the Moledet was not determined by one’s historical allegiance, religious faith or ethnic origin, but solely by locality and language.