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Moses, R. (1998). A Short History of Psychoanalysis in Palestine and Israel. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 26:329-341.

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(1998). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):329-341

A Short History of Psychoanalysis in Palestine and Israel

Rafael Moses, M.D.

The history of psychoanalysis in Palestine/Israel begins with the emigration from Germany of one of Freud's “Group of Seven,” Dr. Max Eitingon. Actually, Eitingon was not the first zionistically oriented psychoanalyst to pass through pre-state Palestine in the early part of this century. Eitingon himself had visited Palestine briefly in 1910, and David Eder spent some 4 years here as member of a Zionist commission after meeting up with Dorian Feigenbaum, who came from Vienna, before moving on to New York (see Gumbel, 1965). Yet psychoanalysis as a formal institution came on the scene in this part of the world only when Eitingon finally emigrated from Berlin in 1933.

Freud had considered Eitingon's organizational skills most valuable for the challenge of establishing a psychoanalytic center so far away from the framework of the European scene. This judgment was based on the fact that Eitingon had set up the first psychoanalytic institute and psychoanalytic outpatient clinic in Berlin in 1920, had been president of the Berlin Institute and Society and the German Psycho-Analytic Society, and had chaired the Training Committee of the German Society and later, until 1938, the Training Committee of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He had also been president of the International Association from 1927-1934. Yet it was Eitingon himself who formed and carried out the wish to emigrate to Palestine.

Before emigrating, Eitingon handed over the leadership of the German Psychoanalytic Association to two nonJewish analysts, a decision that ineluctably began the path toward Nazi affiliation on which this Association perforce embarked. The two who followed in Eitingon's steps—Mueller-Braunschweig and Boehm—soon went to Vienna to meet with Freud in an effort to obtain his blessing for changes to take place in organized psychoanalysis in Germany. Freud was, of course, shocked by the proposed changes—removing Jews from all positions in the society, and soon from the society altogether—yet he could not bring himself to take an unequivocal stand against them, believing this might endanger


* Training Analyst, Israel Institute of Psychoanalysis. This is an amplified and updated version of a paper published in the Israel Journal of Psychiatry, 29(4), 229-238, 1992.

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