Book Information

Becoming Israeli: National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 19505

Anat Helman

312 pp. 62 illus. 6x9"
Paperback, 978-1-61168-557-2
Hardcover, 978-1-61168-556-5
E-book, 978-1-61168-558-9


Journal of Israeli History reviews "Becoming Israeli" calling it a nuanced social history (2015).

Jewish Book Council reviews "Becoming Israeli" (2015)

Becoming Israeli: National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s

Anat HelmanBecoming Israeli

A fresh and lively assessment of the pleasures and hardships of daily life in Israel during the 1950s

With a light touch and many wonderful illustrations, historian Anat Helman investigates "life on the ground" in Israel during the first years of statehood. She looks a how citizens—natives of the land, longtime immigrants, and newcomers—coped with the state's efforts to turn an incredibly diverse group of people into a homogenous whole. She investigates the efforts to make Hebrew the lingua franca of Israel, the uses of humor, and the effects of a constant military presence, along with such familiar aspects of daily life as communal dining on the kibbutz, the nightmare of trying to board a bus, and moviegoing as a form of escapism. In the process Helman shows how ordinary people adapted to the standards and rules of the political and cultural elites and negotiated the chaos of early statehood.

ANAT HELMAN is a lecturer in the Department of Jewish History and in the Contemporary Jewry & Cultural Studies Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

This book was published by Brandeis University Press as part of the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies.