Forgetting The Forgotten Ones: The case of Haim Gouri’s “Hanishkahim”

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Haim Gouri’s poem “Hanishkahim” (The Forgotten Ones) has appeared in several versions and in a number of collections. Suggesting the noble heroism of soldiers dying in battle, this poem has become an example of the symbolic repertoire employed to enforce national myths. As part of the “Palmah generation” of poets, Gouri’s own life, as well as the imagery of the poetry, articulates the ideals of the sabras who fought and died in the Israeli War of Independence. However, this poem also challenges these myths. “Hanishkahim” questions the State’s memorialization of military heroism while ignoring those soldiers, particularly the disabled, who destabilize the authority of national narratives. In shorter editions of this poem, Gouri’s critique of war commemoration is obliterated. This article examines Gouri’s poem in light of the role editing plays in shaping ideological discourse.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-214
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

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