Last resort? Lobotomy operations in Israel, 1946-60

Hist Psychiatry. 2006 Mar;17(65 Pt 1):91-106. doi: 10.1177/0957154X06058593.


In this paper we examine lobotomy operations in mandatory Palestine and Israel between 1946 and 1960. The aim is to reconstruct the circumstances in which these operations were done, and to examine: which patients were lobotomized and why; how lobotomy was perceived by the local psychiatric profession; and the reasons for its decline. Apart from shedding new light on the history of lobotomy, which is usually analysed from the viewpoint of the USA and Europe, this study provides an opportunity to investigate the relation between various concepts of the healthy and ill body in the unique context of Israel, as an immigrant country influenced by its Zionist ideology.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Psychiatry / history*
  • Psychosurgery / history*