Gendering Treason - the Making of a Loyal Israeli Citizen

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Hadas COHEN, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
In this paper I analyze the case of a Jewish-Israeli woman, Tali Fahima, a Jewish Israeli woman who during the Second Intifada publically volunteered to be the human shield of Zacharia Zubeidi, the head of the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades in Jenin who organized suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians. A few months following her public declaration, an Israeli military operation took place in the West Bank, in which a top-secret military document was lost by an Israeli soldier, and reached the hands of Zubeidi when Fahima was with him and his men. As a result, for the first time in Israeli history, Fahima, a Jewish Israeli woman, was placed in administrative detention for an indefinite amount of time, with no charges against her, and with no access to the state’s evidence. Four months later, Fahima was charged with treason and with aiding an enemy agent, and following a plea bargain she initiated, served a three-year jail sentence.

I use Fahima’s case to understand the ways in which the image of a “loyal citizen,” and more specifically, that of a loyal Jewish Israeli woman, is produced and regulated through the discursive circulation of certain notions of citizenship, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality, and the violence that this normalization requires. I demonstrate how the intersectionality of these categories worked to depoliticize political dissent. As such, Fahima’s case serves as a lens in which the national, the intimate and the sexual refract, exposing the multiple loyalties and allegiances a citizen must negotiate, the contradictions that exist within the seemingly monolithic national unit of “Israel,” as well as the dynamics enacted to unify the nation against an internal dissident.