The book deals with the formative years of Israel’s evolving symbolic landscape (1904–1967). It covers the stories of a few dozen Jews who passed away in the Diaspora and later their remains were taken to be buried for the second time (and sometimes for the third) in Israel. These were Zionists and politicians, writers and poets, heroes and public activists whose common denominator was that they all passed away in the Diaspora, far and detached from the national homeland that they fought for before their tragic death. Only later, in an act of repair, their coffins were sent to be buried in the “sacred” Zionist soil, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Dgania. These graves became pilgrimage sites and contributed to the design of Israel’s landscape. The book examines how and why such great effort was made to bring their remains to Israel for reinterment, and how the funerals and graves of the public figures became state symbols and national instruments for establishing Israeli sovereignty over the land.
Doron Bar, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel.