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The “Never Again” State of Israel: The Emergence of the Holocaust as a Core Feature of Israeli Identity and Its Four Incongruent Voices

Authors


  • This research was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation to Yechiel Klar, a grant from the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University to Yechel Klar, and by a research prize from the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University to Noa Schori-Eyal. The authors thank Hadas Laor and Tami Sunensein for their help with this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yechiel Klar, School of Psychological Sciences, Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel [e-mail: yklar@post.tau.ac.il].

Abstract

For the vast majority of contemporary Israelis, the Holocaust is an acquired memory. However, over the years its presence has not diminished but rather is on the rise. We describe how perceptions of the Holocaust have changed from “what Israeliness is not” in the 1940s and 1950s to a core element in Israeli identity. Inspired by Bauer, we present four different and sometimes incompatible voices related to the Holocaust that greatly affect the Israeli society. They are: Never be a passive victim; never forsake your brothers; never be passive bystander; and never be a perpetrator. Experimental evidence related to these voices is also described.

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