Zionism and Jewish tourism in Israel

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Israel, Kinneret

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This thesis considers tourism in terms of the disparate dynamics of self and Other that are residual of, as well as different from, previous colonial discourses through connections between histories of Zionist travel and tourism in early twentieth century Palestine and a specific case of contemporary ethno-national tourism - the Birthright tour, which is designed exclusively for Jewish youth to visit Israel. In Chapter 1, I will introduce a history of modern tourist development in Palestine and its relationship to Zionist state building and Israeli statehood after 1948. In Chapter 2, I will analyze the rhetoric of the Birthright tour. My discussion of the Birthright tour will lead me to address questions of ethnicity and citizenship in relation to language, landscape, and monuments. In Chapter 3, I will perform a semiotic reading of the two most emblematic national sites in Israel that are visited by the Birthright tourist - Masada and the Kotel (Wailing Wall or Western Wall).



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