ABSTRACT

This article seeks to examine three works of fiction: Nava Semel's Isra Isle (2005), Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union (2007), and Philip Jose Farmer's Jesus on Mars (1979). All three of these works imagine a Jewish state other than Israel. These works speak specifically to two fundamental questions that informed Zionist thought—that of safety and that of identity. While each novel implies skepticism toward contemporary Israel, the utopias presented, too, fail to guarantee security for the Jewish people or a solution to the “Jewish question” of cohesive identity. Each novel acknowledges the centrality of a return to Zion in Jewish culture and beliefs, suggesting that, even if Israel itself falls short of its mythic potential, the promise of a return ensures that no alternative Jewish homeland will ever provide an adequate final home.

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