Dancing Arabs and Spaces of Desire

Catherine Rottenberg


This paper proposes that Sayed Kashua’s Dancing Arabs can be read as an attempt to dramatize the many parallels between Israel’s “ethnocracy” and the colonial situation. The novel reveals that the Arab minority in Israel is not one minority among others within a democratic situation, since democracy connotes the possibility and desirability of assimilation. The interactions in Kashua’s novel gesture toward a forceful discouragement of total integration on the part of Israel’s Arab citizens. There is no possibility of assimilation for Arab citizens because the very intelligibility of the ethnic landscape in Israel depends on maintaining the Arab-Jew divide.

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