Shooting, Not Crying: Reckoning with Violence in Prisoners of War, Homeland and Fauda
Israeli television series have received remarkable international acclaim in recent years. In this article, I examine the political implications of this success in terms of the West’s suspicious and hostile imagining of Islam, and the way in which the Jew – and the Israeli as the embodiment of a new Jew – performs the role of a liminal figure of mediation. I seek to unravel these tensions while arguing that during the last decade – a period defined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule – Israeli cultural representation experienced a significant paradigmatic shift exemplified in its unflinching confrontation with the violent reality of Jewish sovereign existence in the Middle East. In relinquishing the conventions of psychological-drama in its representations of the crises of conscience and moral dilemmas plaguing the warrior, Israeli culture rejected one of the symbols of its self-perception, that of “shooting and crying,” in favor of a blunter confrontation with its own violence. In this article I suggest an approach to reading classic literary texts (by S. Yizhar and Yehuda Amichai) and current televisual representations of political conflict and warfare that focuses particularly on the way these texts justify violence: either by portraying the warrior as a victim, or as an outcast possessing special sensitivities, or lastly, as the one who finally acts out the traumatic violence between Arabs and Jews by shooting, and this time, by shooting and killing.