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June 12 , 2009

The Ring of Myths

The Israelis, Wagner and the Nazis


In the fall of 1938, following Kristallnacht, the symphonic orchestra in Palestine cancelled the performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. No one could foresee that this would be the beginning of a never-ending boycott. The boycott began in a society struggling for its existence and collective identity; it continues in a well-established culture that maintains close ties with Germany and German culture, when numerous Israeli institutions are involved in commemorating the Holocaust. At present Wagner is known in Israel mainly as a symbol of the Holocaust. From the late twentieth-century Wagner is the only composer who aroused strong opposition when attempts were made to publicly play his music. Analysis of this controversy sheds light on the changes that have taken place in Israel – from a pioneering to a traditional society, and from a socialist to a capitalistic one. In the Wagner Year The Ring of Myths appears in a revised edition, including interpretations from new perspectives on the place of the Holocaust in Israeli society and the processes of change until 2012.

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