Towards a visualisation of the Zionist Sabra 1930-1967

  • John Torday

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study examines ideas about and photographs of the Sabra, a small yet influential grouping within Zionism that emerged in Jewish Palestine circa 1930 to play a heroic role in the creation of Israel. Drawing inspiration from labour Zionism, at its height the movement is claimed to have numbered twenty thousand people. The Sabra had its own ideals and values that were emulated throughout Jewish society in Palestine. The Sabra became one of the appealing myths in Zionism because of the sacrifice in combat, role in military leadership, and (subsequently) in government. Zionist agencies promoted the Sabra as the fulfilment of the Utopian new Jew, lauded in the press and in fiction. However, a group of intellectuals in the 1960s, assaulted and soon eroded, the mythical status of the Sabra, arguing that their devotion and sacrifice to the state at the expense of individual needs and aspirations was both unhealthy and encouraged a view of the chosen few whose commitment to the state was of a higher order than that of ordinary men and women serving their country, a view that many rejected.
Date of AwardFeb 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton

Cite this