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Friend Or Foe

installation view at the the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and 2002/2004



The helicopter is identified as either saving or threatening, castrating or phallic, a deadly weapon or a rescue aircraft. As such, it represents the duality underlying Israeli society whose moral code continually oscillates between the victim’s position and that of the aggressor. The duality inherent in Israel’s self-image – a strong country/vulnerable country, we are the masters of our own fate/we are victims, we are a normal country/we deserve special treatment – is not new; it has been a part of the state’s unique character since its establishment. Israel’s decisive focus on its isolation and singularity, its claim that it is at once a victim and a hero, were previously part of its charm, like David in his fight against Goliath. But the current state of affair is different. Pre-1967 Israel was indeed tiny and threatened, but almost forty years have passed since, and Israel’s condition has changed. Nevertheless, what Israel has lost in terms of its international image due to the ongoing occupation of Arab territories, it regains by virtue of its identification with the renewing memory of the European Jews who perished in the Holocaust.


Galit Eilat

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