A postcard with a painting by Pesach Ir-Shai from the 1930s2 features a layered

landscape: An outline of a camel’s head and long neck constitutes the front

layer, revealing behind it two radically different landscapes. On one side

it features a round hill with a miniature mosque and a palm tree on its top

and three small tents and a tiny cactus plant on its slope; on the other side

a modern, square building dominates the space and its angular positioning

accentuates its straight, symmetrical lines. The bright Hebrew leers in front

of the modern building mark it as Eretz [literally, “land”], using a common

Zionist nickname for Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel]. The two landscapes

co-exist within the larger picture space and are partially overlapping, yet

the camel and the hill are transparent and the modern building is seen

through their layers. The painting juxtaposes two symbolic landscapes and

emphasizes the difference between them: The Oriental landscape remains

detached from a specific geographical locus or historical time and is barren,

and its transparency suggests a lack of substance or stability. By contrast, the

urban landscape is associated with modern architecture and the Zionist term

“Eretz” that defines the land as a Jewish national space. The building at its

center is large and solid and projects a sense of permanence. The smooth and

round hill with the domed mosque on the right evokes an image of a woman’s

breast and highlights the effeminate character of the Oriental landscape

whereas the angular geometrical forms of both the modern building and

the Hebrew script under it inscribe power and masculinity onto the Zionist