The Mizrahi Pillar of Fire: memory policy-actors’ perceptions of the role of media and memory

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Memory and questions about its formation are subjects of considerable attention. Nevertheless, memory actors promoting narratives about the past are often sidelined and ignored, and studies exploring questions regarding the relationships between memory actors and available media and communication technologies are scarce despite the importance of such tools. This study attempts to fill this theoretical gap by analyzing a unique case study from Israel – the work of memory policy-actors on a governmental expert committee that made various recommendations for empowering the Mizrahi communities in Israel and to promote the Mizrahi right to memory. Among other recommendations, most notable was the recommendation to produce a new documentary series, The Mizrahi Pillar of Fire, that would counter the Mizrahi narrative’s ongoing marginalization. This unique recommendation raises intriguing questions on how memory actors perceived different media’s roles in creating, portraying, and disseminating memory. By conducting in-depth interviews with committee members and a close analysis of the final committee report and related official documents, this study highlights how actors’ perceptions about media and memory shaped the recommendation to produce a new documentary series. Thus it contributes to scholars interested in understanding the relationship between memory actors, media, and how a society’s memory is constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-496
Number of pages18
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Israel
  • cultural memory
  • media memory
  • memory actors
  • memory policy-actors
  • television and memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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