Jewish Terrorism in Israel

Overview

Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, world experts on the study of terror and security, propose a theory of violence that contextualizes not only recent acts of terror but also instances of terrorism that stretch back centuries. Beginning with ancient Palestine and its encounters with Jewish terrorism, the authors analyze the social, political, and cultural factors that sponsor extreme violence, proving religious terrorism is not the fault of one faith, but flourishes within any ...

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Jewish Terrorism in Israel

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Overview

Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, world experts on the study of terror and security, propose a theory of violence that contextualizes not only recent acts of terror but also instances of terrorism that stretch back centuries. Beginning with ancient Palestine and its encounters with Jewish terrorism, the authors analyze the social, political, and cultural factors that sponsor extreme violence, proving religious terrorism is not the fault of one faith, but flourishes within any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology.

When a totalistic community perceives an external threat, the connectivity of the group and the rhetoric of its leaders bolster the collective mindset of members, who respond with violence. In ancient times, the Jewish sicarii of Judea carried out stealth assassinations against their Roman occupiers. In the mid-twentieth century, to facilitate their independence, Jewish groups committed acts of terror against British soldiers and the Arab population in Palestine. More recently, Yigal Amir, a member of a Jewish terrorist cell, assassinated Yitzhak Rabin to express his opposition to the Oslo Peace Accords.

Conducting interviews with former Jewish terrorists, political and spiritual leaders, and law-enforcement officials, and culling information from rare documents and surveys of terrorist networks, Pedahzur and Perliger construct an extensive portrait of terrorist aggression, while also describing the conditions behind the modern rise of zealotry.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

This work is timely, objective, and bold... highly recommended. Choice

Foreign Affairs
Sets a high bar for subsequent works.

— L. Carl Brown

H-Levant
[ Jewish Terrorism in Israel] provides rich, detailed exploration of a form of terrorism often little noted within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

— Rebecca L. Torstrick

Bruce Hoffman

Jewish Terrorism in Israel addresses a huge lacuna in the field by providing the first systematic, in-depth treatment of Jewish terrorism from ancient times to today. It concludes with vitally important developments in Jewish extremism over the past nine years, making a signal contribution at a moment when interest in terrorism and counterterrorism is high, when more attention than ever is being focused on terrorism motivated by religion, and when we most need insight into the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Neil J. Smelser

Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger provide us with an intelligent, sensible, and compelling story of terrorism among a people more famously known as historical victims rather than perpetrators. Their use of multiple research methods—including first-hand observations and interviews—is admirable; their insight into the interaction among religious, political, social, and psychological forces is convincing; and their accounts of informal networks and ideological socialization are especially revealing. This book is a model of scholarship on a topic most resistant to dispassionate analysis.

Mark Juergensmeyer

This engaging book documents the dark side of Jewish political activism in Israel from ancient times to the present. These gripping accounts, which describe the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the anti-Arab vitriol of Meir Kahane, and the strident opposition of the settler movement, show that terrorism has been in the shadows of Jewish politics in Israel, just as it has been in every other religious tradition around the world. Jewish Terrorism in Israel should be required reading for anyone concerned about the moral dilemmas of Jewish activism, peace in the Middle East, and the rise of religious violence everywhere.

Foreign Affairs - L. Carl Brown

Sets a high bar for subsequent works.

H-Levant - Rebecca L. Torstrick

[ Jewish Terrorism in Israel] provides rich, detailed exploration of a form of terrorism often little noted within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

David Rapoport

Most, perhaps all, religious traditions have produced their own long intermittent and unique histories of terrorism. Yet this remarkable, engrossing study is the first to put the story of one religion together. It will surely stimulate studies of other religious traditions, a subject everyone needs to know more about.

Choice

This work is timely, objective, and bold... highly recommended. Choice

Publishers Weekly
Israeli academics Pedahzur (The Israeli Secret Service and the Struggle Against Terrorism) and Perliger (Middle East Terrorism) point out that Muslim extremists don't hold a monopoly on terrorism: Israel has seen hundreds of attacks by Jewish terrorists—most directed against Palestinians, but some against the state itself. The authors present a carefully constructed theoretical model, positing that “radicalization within a specific counterculture, fostered by a threatening external event and portrayed by spiritual leaders as catastrophic” precipitate violence—not just by Jewish extremists but “any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology.” Indeed, the authors see clear parallels between Jewish terrorist cells and their Muslim counterparts, and stress that mere faith isn't enough to create violent intent (they note that “religious terrorist groups... made up less than 15 percent of all terrorist groups active in the 20th century”). Pedahzur and Perliger occasionally slip into academese and assume a close knowledge of Israeli political minutiae, but in combining exhaustive analysis with straight-forward language and compelling nonfiction narrative, they provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality. (Nov.)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ami Pedahzur received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Haifa in Israel, where he also taught until 2004. From 2000 to 2004, he served as a senior fellow at the University's National Security Studies Center and was a member of its Terrorism Research Project team. In 2004, Pedahzur arrived at the University of Texas as a Donald D. Harrington fellow, and since 2005 he has served as an associate professor in its departments of government and Middle Eastern studies. In 2007, he became a senior fellow at The University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and currently serves as associate editor of the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.Arie Perliger received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Haifa in Israel, where he also taught until 2007. From 2002 to 2008, he served as a fellow at the University's National Security Studies Center. In 2007, Perliger became a Golda Meir Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and currently serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences and an associate at the Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy at West Point.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

PrefaceLife in the CountercultureThe Catastrophic EventThe Dynamic and Causes of RadicalizationMethodBook Structure1. Ancient and Modern History: The Founding MythsHasmoneansTerrorism in JerusalemJewish Political Activism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries2. Early and Mid-Twentieth Century: Ethno-Religious TerrorismThe Split Between the Etzel and the LehiThe Assassination of Lord MoyneFrom the Season to the United Resistance MovementThe Partition PlanThe Assassination of Israel KastnerKingdom of Israel (the Tzrifin Underground)Brit Hakanaim (Covenant of the Zealots)3. The Camp David Accords: The Struggle over the Promised LandThe Attack on the MayorsThe Crisis of the Camp David AccordsThe Jewish UndergroundThe Founding CliqueVengeanceRemoving the AbominationThe Massacre at the Islamic CollegeThe Exposure of the Network and Conclusions4. Meir Kahane and the Kach Movement: Jews Against IsraelisHebron Then and NowFrom Jewish Defense League to Kahanist CountercultureEarly DaysYoel LernerThe Modern Hasmonean RevoltThe Struggle in SinaiTNTThe Committee for the Safety of the RoadsThe DisciplesGod of Vengeance5. The Assassination of Yitzak RabinThe Vengeance UndergroundThe Yigal Amir GroupThe PlotFormation of the Network6. The Second Intifada: VengeanceThe Hilltop YouthThe Bat Ayin GroupThe Withdrawal from GazaGush KatifSa NurKfar TapuachAmona7. Eccentric Cults, Vengeances, and Lone WolvesUzi Meshulam CultThe Jerusalem Groups: The Ein Kerem Group and the Lifta GangSpontaneous VengeanceInterim Summary: The Exceptional GroupsMental Health and External EventsVengeance, Counterculture, and Mental DisturbancesThe Lone AvengersThe Mindset of the Lone Wolves8. In the Name of God, the People, and the Land: Reassessment of the Causes of Jewish TerrorismComparing Jewish Terrorism with Other Manifestations of Religious TerrorismConcluding Remarks: Looking AheadGlossaryChronology of Attacks and Events Related to Jewish TerrorismNotesIndex

Columbia University Press

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