Meat in Tel Aviv and Jaffa under the British Mandate. Cultures, Commerce, Consumption and Politics in a Historical Perspective

Promoted as the land of milk and honey, meat is rarely associated with the history of the Yishuv in Palestine. Deemed unfit climatically, nutritionally, and nationally, Zionist organizations and social-medical experts were determined to convince Jews in the Yishuv to consume (and desire) less meat. For the experts, meat was not an ideal food for the new Jew; it was expensive, had to be imported, shipped across the country, and raised heated debates regarding kosher slaughter. From the consumers' perspective however, primary sources illustrate a great demand for meat, greater than its supply. Culminating in butchers' strikes and labor disputes during the 1930s, it seems as the taste for meat was not forsaken in the move from Berlin or Budapest to Tel Aviv. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the potential of a research project which focuses on the motivations, as well as the obstacles, of providing a constant supply of meat for Tel Aviv's inhabitants. It also suggests shifting the focus from a strict Zionist perspective articulated by experts, to include the ambitions of importers, butchers, municipalities, and consumers. As such, this paper highlights the potential of this topic as an intersectional and interconnected approach to cultural, social, economic and political histories of Palestine. Based on a preliminary reading of sources, I also suggest that the topic of meat in the Yishuv is inherently and simultaneously local, regional and transnational. Divided into three sections, in the introduction I first explore some of the analytical opportunities unlocked when focusing on the politics of meat in Tel Aviv and Jaffa under the British Mandate. Then, through the different essays of the historiography section I introduce themes related to food, Zionism, Tel Aviv and the British Mandate. While some themes are not immediately connected to the research topic, exploring them is essential for a comprehensive grasp on the topic's context. Finally, in the methodology section I evaluate archives and sources relevant for my current and future work. I attempted to critically evaluate the structures and the mechanisms of the archives, as well as gather a preliminary corpus of sources essential for this project.

PhD Director(s):
Davide Rodogno
Jury member(s): Cyrus Schayegh

 Record created 2017-05-11, last modified 2018-09-25

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)