Dotan Greenvald is pursuing his PhD in the joint program of History & Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His dissertation examines the complex and often unsettling relationship between Zionism and the city of Jerusalem from the foundational years of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century until the beginning of the British Mandate period in Palestine in the 1920s. On one hand, Jerusalem’s established Jewish community exemplified the unbroken continuity of Jewish life in Palestine. On the other hand, the pronounced piety of Jerusalem starkly contrasted with the Zionist program of secularization and modernization. His research traces the geographic, demographic, political and cultural recasting of Jerusalem from a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional ‘Old City’, relegated to the margins of Zionist hopes, into the most important political and ideological touchstone of Israeli state-building during the formative era of the Zionist movement. Greenvald argues that the “Zionization” of Jerusalem provides an important corrective to the common image of modern Israel as a Jewish utopia, heroically created by a “people without a land in a land without a people.” Dotan’s research interests include Jewish nationalism, Modern Jewish Thought, Israeli politics, Ottoman Palestine, and Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewry.
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