Close to home: Privatization and personalization of militarized death in Israeli home videos | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 1474-2756
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0578



Since the mid-1990s, Israeli television has broadcast soldiers’ memorial videos made by families commemorating their lost loved one. The videos are broadcast only one day a year during the National Memorial Day as part of an orchestrated, nationwide commemoration and mourning. In Israeli society these video productions are deemed private and personal, therefore existing outside political, economic, institutional and aesthetic discourses. This article argues that the positioning of family-made video productions outside the social sphere obscures the politics and economies of Israeli cultural memory. To evaluate the social impetus of family-made memorial videos, the article traces the history of their emergence in the public view and highlights two parallel processes of privatization: the privatization of commemoration and memorialization in Israel, and the privatization of the Israeli public broadcast system. It also explores the appropriation of such home movies by state institutions (the archives in particular) and official historiography, and proposes three concepts for the discussion: intimacy, fetish and cliché. It concludes by interpreting the videos’ intimate storytelling within the public, digital and broadcast sphere as a cultural and ritualistic speech-convention that projects political viewpoints and understandings.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cultural memory; home movie; Israel; privatization; television
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