Toward the Longed-for Shore: The Sea in Hebrew Culture and Modern Hebrew Literature is an important stage in the critical analysis of Zionism. In this book Hannan Hever attempts to transform the usual perspective of the study of national culture: Instead of following the usual engagement with the territory on land, he examines it from the perspective of the sea. Precisely thus, Hever argues, it is possible to develop an alternative analysis of the national culture and to identify in it the mismatches and fractures involved in imagining a national community.
The book’s chapters offer an original look at what is revealed in literary works that represent the sea, for example, those of S.Y. Agnon, David Vogel, and Natan Alterman, in the Israeli poetry of the “generation of the state,” Israeli Mizrahi literature, and the symbolism of Eretz-Israeli poetry. The author also reveals the main foci of the national culture, for example the discourse of the illegal immigration and the representations of the Sea of Galilee that construct the lake as a holy place.