In Rutu Modan’s graphic short fiction piece Jamilti , which I examined in the previous chapter, the figures of the heroine and bomber are drawn with black hair and olive skin while the fian-cé’s red-haired, freckled, and bloated visage combine with his insensitive and entitled posture to caricature him as a rich, out-of-touch Ashkenazi. Based on the aesthetic of the other drawings, Rama’s illustration is a much more embodied reminder that Jews and Arabs consider themselves ethnic cousins, and she could even pass as Arab. The frame depicting the CPR-kiss between the aesthetically Mizrahi heroine and the dying Arab man graces the cover of Modan’s short story collection. Modan is upending racial norms in Israel, which traditionally have privileged Ashkenazi over Sephardic, Mizrahi, and African Jews, even though she possibly reifies racial commonplaces in the process of doing so. By valorizing the non-Ashkenazi female and locating through her coupling with the enemy the erotic—read “peaceful”—possibilities in the contact zones, Modan’s text shows how available the Jewish mistress’s body has become for imagining political resolution, which, I have argued, simultaneously provokes a necessary conversation about racial and ethnic privilege in Israel and risks further privatizing available spaces for peace in an increasingly unrepresentative public sphere.
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