Africa has played a key role in Israeli culture and continues to do so. It has appeared in innumerable incarnations, characters, and images: from the Uganda Plan to Operation Moses; from Lovengulu King of the Zulu to Idi Amin; from Golda Meir dancing the hora in Africa to Shmuel Gorodish mining diamonds there; from the Africans who came to Israel in the 1960s for supplementary education to the migrant workers and refugees of today; from Ehud Barak’s statement that Israel is a “villa in the jungle” to the suspicion that Israel is nothing but a jungle itself.
A Villa in the Jungle: Africa in Israeli Culture focuses on the golden age of Israel–Africa relations (1957–1973) and their reflection in the theater, in literature, and in popular Israeli culture. At the same time, it examines the establishment of the “dark continent” as an emotional and geographic space on which to project, for example, Zionist, territorial, and racial fantasies. By focusing its gaze on Africa, the book provides an original perspective for examining the yearnings and anxieties that have shaped Israeli society since society since the start of that golden age.