The Holocaust in the Israel Museum Jerusalem: A prism of the Jewish-Israeli identity discourse

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In this article I look at the presentation of the Holocaust in the Israel Museum Jerusalem (IMJ) from its inception with special regard to the permanent exhibition after its refurbishment in 2010. It provides us with a “text” on Jewish identity of importance commensurate with the respect that the Israel Museum commands within the Jewish-Israeli cultural scene. I will do so by closely reading the presentation of the Holocaust within Israeli wider discourse on the Holocaust and its changing place in the formation of the Jewish Israeli civil religion; the IMJ both reflecting and aiming to influence toward a secular humanistic version of the state’s civil religion. Before the 2010 refurbishment, the Holocaust was presented by very few temporary exhibitions that presented the Holocaust within a framework of a universalist version of Zionism. After 2010 the Holocaust was represented at the IMJ as Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Day), in a central position that ties it to both traditional and secular holy days as a vital link within Israel’s civil religion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-236
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Haim Maor
  • Holocaust commemoration
  • Israel Museum Jerusalem
  • Ram Katzir
  • Roee Rosen
  • civil religion


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