Winner of the Jewish Book of the Year Award
The first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present day, from Daniel Gordis, "one of the most respected Israel analysts" (The Forward) living and writing in Jerusalem.
Israel is a tiny state, and yet it has captured the world’s attention, aroused its imagination, and lately, been the object of its opprobrium. Why does such a small country speak to so many global concerns? More pressingly: Why does Israel make the decisions it does? And what lies in its future?
We cannot answer these questions until we understand Israel’s people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions. Though Israel’s history is rife with conflict, these conflicts do not fully communicate the spirit of Israel and its people: they give short shrift to the dream that gave birth to the state, and to the vision for the Jewish people that was at its core. Guiding us through the milestones of Israeli history, Gordis relays the drama of the Jewish people’s story and the creation of the state. Clear-eyed and erudite, he illustrates how Israel became a cultural, economic and military powerhouse—but also explains where Israel made grave mistakes and traces the long history of Israel’s deepening isolation.
With Israel, public intellectual Daniel Gordis offers us a brief but thorough account of the cultural, economic, and political history of this complex nation, from its beginnings to the present. Accessible, levelheaded, and rigorous, Israel sheds light on the Israel’s past so we can understand its future. The result is a vivid portrait of a people, and a nation, reborn.
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About the Author
Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Bloomberg View. The author of numerous books on Jewish thought and political currents in Israel, and a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Dr. Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism. He joined Shalem in 2007 to help found Israel’s first liberal arts college, after spending nine years as vice president of the Mandel Foundation in Israel and director of its Leadership Institute. He lives in Jerusalem.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Grand Human Story 1
1 Poetry and Politics: The Jewish Nation Seeks a Home 11
2 Some Spot of a Native Land 31
3 A Conversation, Not an Ideology: Zionist Divisions at the Turn of the Century 47
4 From a Dream to Glimmers of Reality 67
5 The Balfour Declaration: The Empire Endorses the State 89
6 Nowhere to Go, Even If They Could Leave 111
7 The Yishuv Resists the British, the Arabs Battle Partition 135
8 Independence: The State Is Born 163
9 From Dreams of a State to the Reality of Statehood 193
10 Israel Enters the International Arena 219
11 Israel Confronts the Holocaust 239
12 Six Days of War Change a Country Forever 259
13 The Burden of Occupation 283
14 Yom Kippur War: The "Conception" Crashes 301
15 Revolution Within the Revolution: The Rise and Revenge of Israel's Political Right 325
16 Taking a Page from the Zionists: The Rise of Palestinian Nationalism 349
17 The Peace Process Stalls 373
18 A Jewish Renaissance in the Jewish State 401
Conclusion: A Century After Balfour-"A National Home for the Jewish People" 417
Appendix A Glossary of People Mentioned 433
Appendix B Glossary of Non-English Terms 443
Appendix C Israel's Declaration of Independence 449
Appendix D Israeli Prime Ministers and the American and Israeli Presidents with Whom They Worked 453
Appendix E Israeli Political Parties and Their Changing Balance of Power 457
Appendix F For Further Reading 459
Works Cited 501