chapter  5
37 Pages

A Levantine Moledet

WithDavid Ohana

Jacqueline Kahanoff claimed that Zionism had succeeded in its aim of establishing a homeland for the Jews, but she shifted the emphasis from the “negative” definition of it as a refuge from antisemitism to a “positive” Levantine ethos which she reflected in her essays. In this chapter I shall examine Kahanoff’s fascinating model for a reconception of the Zionist idea. The Levantine ethos she proposed was a spatial one: its narrow spatial meaning as the eastern Mediterranean, the meeting-place of east and west, was expanded by her into a model of multi-locality. This ethos included people like the Franco-Algerian writers Albert Camus and Albert Memmi, French poets like Edmond Jabès and Charles Péguy, the Anglo-Indian writer V.S. Napaul and African and Japanese writers. Kahanoff thought that making her Moledet beyond her Levantine identity would broaden the provincial national model into a universal model of multi-locality and meeting of cultures.