This paper demonstrates that in the representations of the Zionist ethos after the First World War – literary descriptions, illustrations, prints, or group photos – there was no room for Jews who immigrated to a remote region in Mandatory Palestine for financial reasons, but only to those who “returned” to their historical homeland – the “Land of Israel.” Tangent lines extend from the specific use of the designated term “Olim” (as opposed to “immigrants”) to the visual portrayal of “the New Jew” by the artists of the time – both rooted in the same national ideology. The works of these artists provided visual expression to the Zionist ideals: Aliyah, Jewish settlement of the country, Hebrew agricultural, and Jewish defense, Spartan life, collectivism, and youth. Like the early Bezalel artists, Jewish photographers in pre-state Israel also wished to reconcile the reality of the Jewish immigrants and the utopian Zionist dream represented by the “Olim.” They selected their subjects and staged the photographs in order to paint the Second Aliyah as an immigration of pioneers, in keeping with the needs of the Zionist movement at the time. Thus, at a certain moment in the history of Zionism, the use of language and terminology (“Olim”) instituted a biased image of the Jewish immigrant to Mandatory Palestine, like the aesthetic codification that artists and photographers used in the field of visual culture. These codes integrated with one another, fortifying the narrative that fused and uniformed all Jewish immigrants into one non-representative monolithic of those who return/“ascend” to the “old/new homeland.”

Dor Guez

Dor Guez is an artist and a scholar. He received his BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, where he currently serves as the Head of the Photography Department. Guez gained his M.A and Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University. His latest research project about archives, Pre-Israeli Orientalism, was published by Resling Academic Press . Guez’s work has been displayed in over thirty solo exhibitions worldwide, most recently at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2016), and the Museum for Islamic Art, Jerusalem (2017).