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By Jeroen Gunning

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The memorial day was termed “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day,” and the chosen day (the twenty-seventh of the Hebrew month of Nisan) was the same day on which fighting during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising reached its peak, making the uprising the focal point of commemoration. ” Although the initial attitude of the state and much of Israeli society toward the Holocaust was deeply conflicted—torn between the necessity to construction of israeli national identity / 35 remember and the desire to forget—the Holocaust became a dominant event in Israeli collective memory as it provided strong support for Zionism.

79 The state used its immense influence over the Israeli population in order to accomplish the task of nation-building. It helped 32 / pursuit of peace foster the new Israeli nationalism by establishing national holidays, commemorations, ceremonies, and symbols. It disseminated national myths and values through its dominance of the media and popular culture. The educational system and the military (the “Israel Defense Forces” [IDF], the successor to the pre-state Jewish underground militia, the Haganah) were especially important instruments in the nation-building project.

They were also politically well-positioned to champion this since the governing Labor Alignment (Mapai’s successor and the predecessor of the Labor party) depended upon the NRP’s parliamentary support. Indeed, at the end of 1976 it was the NRP’s refusal to vote with the government on a motion of no-confidence (over the alleged desecration of the Sabbath in connection with a ceremony at an Air Force base) that led to early elections in May 1977. Its subsequent defection from its “historic coalition” with Labor, then allowed for the formation of the first ever Likud-led government under Menachem Begin.

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