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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Israel’s Lost Son: Masculinity and Race in the Gilad Shalit’s Affair

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 3.0 license

Ona the day that the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released and returned to Israel, after five years of captivity, posters across the country welcomed home the nation’s “lost son.” This paper will examine how the Shalit’s Affair reconfigured the Zionist a paragon of masculinity, the Israeli soldier. More specifically,I first conduct a historical reading of Israeli embodiment of masculinity, then I explore military codes of discipline, and finally, I investigate the spread of these codes from the army to the civilian social, cultural and political life of Israeli society. Such an approach lays the groundwork for an analysis of the release of the abducted Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in October 2011. I readthe Israeli soldier-civilian body as a contested site that challenges, resists, and advancesexisting concepts of masculinity and nationality.Through an investigation of individual and social agency in the embodiment of ideologies, this project questions the role of nationalism staging the sense of Shalit’s heroism, performing a sense of Israeli national exclusiveness and moral superiority.  

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