Struggling to Belong: The Collective Memory of Immigrants from Argentina in Israel

21 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2018

See all articles by Ya'akov M. Bayer

Ya'akov M. Bayer

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Beer Sheva Mental Health Center

Date Written: January 21, 2016


This research article deals with the way in which ‘senior’ immigrants from Argentina, residing in a kibbutz in the south of Israel, constructed their collective memory. This group of Israelis, who emigrated from Argentina to Israel at the start of the 1960s, is a unique group originating from the Jewish agricultural settlements founded in Argentina at the end of the 19th century. Upon arriving in Israel, they encountered a society that rejected their past in the diaspora. This intercultural encounter generated conflict between the wishes of these immigrants to preserve their original identities and cultural heritage, on the one hand, and to integrate into and belong to the host society, on the other — a central element in their Zionist worldview. This research presents the manner in which the politics of the collective memory of the investigated group was constructed, such that it helped the group to reach its goals while allowing for the preservation of the unique past. In this case, the politics and the agents of memory called on the collective memory in order to assign and locate themselves in the kibbutz’s present, and to claim seniority in the kibbutz hierarchy, while appealing the status relegated by the dominant metanarrative.

Keywords: homecoming, collective memory, immigrant narrative

Suggested Citation

Bayer, Ya'akov, Struggling to Belong: The Collective Memory of Immigrants from Argentina in Israel (January 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Ya'akov Bayer (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105

Beer Sheva Mental Health Center ( email )


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