Gunnar Lehmann – Past and Politics in the Archaeology of Israel

Event Date: 5 November 2015
German Historical Institute
17 Bloomsbury Square,
London WC1A 2NJ

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2015-16

The Politics of Land. Archaeology, Architecture and City Planning in Israel

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London,  in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season’s theme intends to approach its broad subject via a spectrum of political, legal and cultural perspectives. We will examine more closely how the realities of ‘land’ or ‘territory’ impact on the daily lives of Israeli and foreign citizens living in the State of Israel, be they Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

Lecture Series Launch:

Professor Gunnar Lehmann (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel) – Past and Politics in the Archaeology of Israel

The different concepts of the past are an integral part of Israeli politics today. Jewish politics in Israel often seek legitimation through a connection with the physicalremains of the past. As stones do not speak, their presence and their past meanings are explained within the present political discourse of the Israeli society. In some sense, every generation creates its own past. While the national religious and right wing secular sections of the Jewish society have a deep interest in connecting their identities with assumed past collective meanings, other sectors of the society express less interest in this discourse.The Arab sector feels that archaeology leads to a delegitimization of their interests. The secular Jewish sector on the other hand does not feel a need to refer to the past. They consider their Israeli identity as an established fact that does not require legitimation through the past.

Gunnar Lehmann is Professor of Archaeology working today in various projects in Israel and Turkey.


Welcome by Professor Andreas Gestrich (Director, German Historical Institute, London):


Introduction by Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, Leo Baeck Institute):




Audience Questions:


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