Zohar Elmakias

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Columbia U.

Grant number

Gr. 9814

Approve Date

April 29, 2019

Project Title

Elmakias, Zohar (Columbia U.) "Between a Minefield and the Temple: National, Theological, and Military Powers and Site-Making in Israel"

Israel/Palestine is an arena of repeated spatial transformations, overflowing with sites of collision, emergence, and transience. This project focuses on a select group of sites where militarily, nationally and theologically charged events have unfolded: a pre-1948 Military Court in Jaffa; a Customs House recently transformed into a hotel in the Golan Heights; an (until-recently) undisclosed security jail; and an imagined Third Temple in Jerusalem. I explore their material and ideological transformations in order to analyze iterations of the Zionist imaginary and Israeli state power. Multiple visions of the past and for the future, articulated by both state and non-state actors, materialize in each site and its attendant practices: from messianic and mythic national visions, through a settler-colonial history, to a neoliberal merger of security, war, and capital. This project asks, how do such projects accumulate and execute power of and for the Israeli state? I address this question through an ethnographic exploration of these sites and of the practices of key actors—in the military and security industry, in the fields of tourism and architecture, and in religious NGOs. What insights might these structures and actors, and the imaginaries they enfold and realize, reveal about the operation of state power?