Saturday, August 3, 2019
The State of Israel is one of the youngest countries in the West Asian region. Since the late 19th centuries Jews from different parts of the world emigrated to the land of their forefathers towards creating a homeland, in an area that was predominantly inhabited by Arab Palestinians for centuries. Since its inception, the Jewish immigration or aliya has been in the process of developing its own identity and this effort is reflected in its constant search for common roots or to seek a unified Jewish identity for a people after two millenniums of Diaspora. Because of historical reasons and circumstances, Zionism had never accepted the Diaspora as a valid place for the Jews to be their home. The role of the past in the construction and legitimation of various ethnic and national movements raises importance of archaeology. This is valid for Zionism and its profound interests in historical sites and artefacts grew out of its search for Jewish national identity. Archaeology has been used by different nations as a political tool for the construction of their national identities. There are numerous examples from all over the world such as Soviet Union, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania, Georgia, Belgian, Portugal, Norway, Albania, Germany, England and Japan etc. where archaeology was used in process of nation building. Archaeology in West Asian and North Africa region has been politicized successively through the efforts of colonialists and during the process of nation state building. Iraq, Israel and Egypt has been used archaeology in the process of nation-building. Archaeological evidences have been used in Israel to create a unified idea of the state through the presentation of the past, its connection to the present, and its... ...60s. The relationship that politicians and generals forged with archaeology was perhaps too intimate. During 1963 to 1965 Yigael Yadin ( first as Chief of Staff and then as a professor of archaeology) conducted excavations at Masada, which received personnel, funding and equipment support from a vast number of national and international Jewish organizations, as well as the Israeli army. The phrase "Masada shall not fall again" became a slogan for protecting the State of Israel that has become popular even outside the country. Furthermore the place and story became part of the socialization process and rituals of youth organizations and the Israeli army. Later it became the revealed site for the swearing in ceremony for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). After prolonged efforts, the peace process facilitated Masada being declared a UNESCO World heritage Site in 2001.