A History of Modern Israel


The state of Israel came into existence in 1948. Colin Shindler's book traces Israel's history across sixty years, from its optimistic beginnings - immigration, settlement, the creation of its towns and institutions - through the wars with its Arab neighbours, and the confrontation with the Palestinians. Shindler paints a broad canvas which affords unusual insights into this multicultural society, forged from over 100 different Jewish communities and united by a common history. Despite these commonalities, ...

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A History of Modern Israel

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The state of Israel came into existence in 1948. Colin Shindler's book traces Israel's history across sixty years, from its optimistic beginnings - immigration, settlement, the creation of its towns and institutions - through the wars with its Arab neighbours, and the confrontation with the Palestinians. Shindler paints a broad canvas which affords unusual insights into this multicultural society, forged from over 100 different Jewish communities and united by a common history. Despite these commonalities, however, Israel in the twenty-first century is riven by ideological disputes and different interpretations of 'Jewishness' and Judaism. Nowhere are these divisions more revealingly portrayed than in the lives and ideologies of Israel's leaders. Biographical portraits of Ben Gurion (Israel's first prime minister), Yitzhak Rabin (whose assassination is still a traumatic memory for many Israelis) and the controversial Ariel Sharon offer fascinating examinations of those who have led the country to where it is today.

About the Author:
Colin Shindler is Reader in Israeli and Modern Jewish Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

This work focuses on the evolution of political parties, power, and ideology in independent Israel, which has its 60th birthday in May. Shindler (Israeli & modern Jewish studies, Univ. of London) emphasizes the ongoing search for security for the new state, providing a solid, detailed overview of the growth of the Zionist vision and six decades of Israeli development through the intifada and the Lebanese war in 2006. While Israel became a populous, prosperous, and militarily dominant nation, peace with its neighbors remained elusive. Progress toward peace was undermined both by the increasing strength of right-wing nationalist and religious parties in Israel and corruption, disorganization, and emerging Islamist militancy among Palestinians. The hopes raised by negotiations through the 1990s were eroded by increasing violence. Shindler provides a rich portrait of the shifting party configurations and alliances, along with vibrant sketches of key political leaders. He assumes that his readers have a general knowledge of Israeli history, enabling them to follow his careful political and ideological analysis. An important, up-to-date volume for serious readers in both general and academic libraries.
—Elizabeth R. Hayford Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

From the Publisher
"Colin Shindler's history of Israel is a major contribution to our understanding of the country and the turbulent area in which it is situated. It is scrupulously balanced and thoroughly researched. In sharp contrast to much current discussion of the Middle East, Shindler's study cuts through the slogans and propaganda that have come to shape debate on both sides to offer clear and compelling insight into Israel's development. We are all in his debt." - Professor Shalom Lappin, Kings College, University of London

"Colin Shindler's outstanding book is a model of judicious scholarship. It is so comprehensive, it will transform our understanding of the history of the entire Middle East." - Anthony Julius, Birckbeck College, London University and Mishcon de Reya

"Colin Shindler understands Israel from the inside. There are few who can tell the complex story of Israel's sixty years with such clarity and such depth. This is a remarkable work." - Professor Tudor Parfitt, SOAS, University of London

"Comprehensive, lucid, and full of insights; this is a book that will reward each reader with its wisdom and balance." - Sir Martin Gilbert

"...as a chronicler of missed opportunities, wrong turnings and might-have-been moments, it provides a blow-by-blow account ... an important voice at this time and worth consulting." - Chartist

"The ups and downs of Israeli democracy over the past 60 years are chronicled in Colin Shindler's readable, comprehensive but concise A History of Modern Israel... Shindler's book, like Morris's, will set the standard for some time for excellent scholarship shedding light on Israel's history, both bright and dark sides."- The Australian

"Shindler's recount of Israeli history is one that enables the reader to understand the social and political cleavages that make up Israel of 2008 while looking back at 1948. It is that lens that would help any student of the Arab-Israeli conflict to not repeat history but learn how to move Israel forward toward the next 60 years." - The Jerusalem Post

"This timely book, which appears as the Jewish state celebrates its 60th anniversary, is an informative account of the history of Israel. Recommended." - Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107671775
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 370
  • Sales rank: 714,406
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Shindler is Emeritus Professor and Pears Senior Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is also founding chairman of the European Association of Israel Studies.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations     x
List of maps     xii
Acknowledgements     xiii
Glossaries     xv
Chronology     xxv
Introduction     1
Zionism and security     10
Zionism beyond demonization     10
The need for security     23
Jewish socialism and Arab nationalism     30
The Hebrew republic     38
The end of empire     38
Defeat and victory in 1948     43
Exile and return     49
New immigrants and first elections     54
The survivors     54
Jewish immigration into Palestine     62
The first elections     65
The dominance of Mapai     70
The politics of piety     78
The balancing act     78
Who is a Jew?     85
The arrival of the Sephardim     91
Retaliation or self-restraint     98
Ben-Gurion, Sharett and Dayan     98
The developing schism     102
Nasser's metamorphosis     108
Stalin's embrace     109
The return of Ben-Gurion     112
The search for arms     114
Theroad to Suez     119
The rise of the Right     123
The Six Day war     123
Destroying Mapai from within     125
Out of the underground     130
The ideology of occupation     134
Judea and Samaria     141
The road to Beirut     147
Menachem Begin's leadership     147
Who are the Palestinians?     150
The reality of negotiations     156
A more radical hue     165
Dissent at home and abroad     175
The end of consensus     175
The peace camp     181
Traditional Diaspora opinions     186
A new assertive generation     191
An insurrection before a handshake     198
The man from Lehi     198
A new path for the Palestinians     201
The outbreak of the Intifada     203
An Israeli awakening     207
The fall and rise of ideology     211
Constraining the Prime Minister     213
From Kuwait to Madrid     220
The end of ideology?     227
The problem solver     227
The Oslo breakthrough     232
The PLO in crisis      236
The killing of a Prime Minister     244
The return of the rejectionists     244
The Right's backlash     255
Rabbis and ayatollahs     262
The magician and the bulldozer     267
The virtual and the real Likud     267
A return to Camp David     275
A long walk to disaster     281
The descent into the abyss     284
'He does not stop at the red light'     289
2001: a Sharon odyssey     289
The Palestinian struggle within     298
Islamism ascending     307
Disengagement from Gaza     314
An unlikely grandfather     321
Ideology and evacuation     321
Separating from the Palestinians     326
Between pragmatism and ideology     332
Olmert's arrival     337
Bibliography     351
Index     356

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