McDonald's or golani junction? a case of a contested place in israel

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This paper investigates the conflict that arose as the result of opening a McDonald's restaurant adjacent to a national shrine in Israel. This conflict transformed Golani Junction, previously associated with the meanings assigned to the Golani memorial, into a contested place and a controversial issue. The paper outlines the conflict and the attempts to reach a compromise solution. The main argument is that the conflict reflects the notion prevalent among those dedicated to the memorial site and to the values it enshrines that the restaurant defies the sacred character of the place and marginalized the memorial in the local landscape. The conflict of meaning is also associated with McDonald's being construed as a prominent symbol of the alleged Americanization of Israeli society and culture. With this, the controversial character of the Golani Junction is also an aspect of a wider debate concerning cultural identity in Israel. Beyond the local context and specific issues involved, the controversies that transform the Golani Junction into a contested place demonstrate how conflicting interpretations of place and the politics of its meaning are formulated in terms of landscape features and architectural details.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1The Golani commemoration project was funded by various contributions. The Lower Galilee Regional Council supported the project financially, while the Department for the Commemoration of Fallen Sol-diers in the Defense Ministry limited its financial support to the commemoration of the fallen soldiers only. The inauguration ceremony took place in Oc-tober 1982, attended by national dignitaries. The Defence Minister traditionally attends the annual ceremony, although the Golani site is not an official state institution. It is funded and supported by the Lower Galilee Regional Council and the Depart-ment for the Commemoration of the Fallen Soldiers in the Defence Ministry. Of a thousand war memo-rials in the Israeli landscape, only five are officially acknowledged as “national memorial sites” in the strict legal definition of the term. The status of the Golani site as a national shrine is associated with its commemorative function and its belonging to the sacred geography of national remembrance.


  • Americanization
  • Contested place
  • Mcdonald's
  • Memorial site
  • Sacred place

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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