This paper stems from a visit at the Israel Museum, where in 2009 I visited a small exhibition of Israeli toys from the 1950s and 1960s on display in the “Youth and Art Education Wing”. This paper investigates toys and illustrations in some children books as instruments of a broader educational strategy that favoured national pride among children and youth, and identification with the institutions and values of the newly established State in two crucial decades: the 1950s and 1960s. The paper is divided in two parts. In the first part I consider toys connected to war, from the doll of Moshe Dayan to the strategic board-games Our Wars (Milhamotenu), from some illustrations in children books, to childish military decorations on drums and other instruments. In the second part, I look at the so-called “ingathering of the exiles”, focusing on the representation of Israel (vis-à-vis the Diaspora) on children board-games, starting from an analysis of the spatial organization of the game and of the steps towards victory (i.e. immigration to Israel). By looking at how the major political and national themes of the times are reflected in many toys for children, this paper would like to fill a gap in the existing historiography (Grossman 2004) discussing the role of toys and games in support of war- or peace-making. To this effect the conclusions of this paper will mention the activities with children of Abie Nathan, well-known Israeli pacifist, starting from the collective gatherings he organized, where children destroyed war toys.

Playing with History. Toys in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s

Marcella Simoni
2018-01-01

Abstract

This paper stems from a visit at the Israel Museum, where in 2009 I visited a small exhibition of Israeli toys from the 1950s and 1960s on display in the “Youth and Art Education Wing”. This paper investigates toys and illustrations in some children books as instruments of a broader educational strategy that favoured national pride among children and youth, and identification with the institutions and values of the newly established State in two crucial decades: the 1950s and 1960s. The paper is divided in two parts. In the first part I consider toys connected to war, from the doll of Moshe Dayan to the strategic board-games Our Wars (Milhamotenu), from some illustrations in children books, to childish military decorations on drums and other instruments. In the second part, I look at the so-called “ingathering of the exiles”, focusing on the representation of Israel (vis-à-vis the Diaspora) on children board-games, starting from an analysis of the spatial organization of the game and of the steps towards victory (i.e. immigration to Israel). By looking at how the major political and national themes of the times are reflected in many toys for children, this paper would like to fill a gap in the existing historiography (Grossman 2004) discussing the role of toys and games in support of war- or peace-making. To this effect the conclusions of this paper will mention the activities with children of Abie Nathan, well-known Israeli pacifist, starting from the collective gatherings he organized, where children destroyed war toys.
Homelands and Diasporas. Perspectives on Jewish Culture in the Mediterranean and Beyond
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3700434
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