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One of Newsweek's Ten Best Books of the Year
In this penetrating and provocative look at the state of contemporary Israel, acclaimed Israeli historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg reveals how the nation's policies are undermining its democracy and existence as a Jewish state, and explains what must be done to bring it back from the brink. Refuting shrill defenses of Israel and equally strident attacks, Gorenberg shows that the Jewish state is, in fact, unique among countries...
One of Newsweek's Ten Best Books of the Year
In this penetrating and provocative look at the state of contemporary Israel, acclaimed Israeli historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg reveals how the nation's policies are undermining its democracy and existence as a Jewish state, and explains what must be done to bring it back from the brink. Refuting shrill defenses of Israel and equally strident attacks, Gorenberg shows that the Jewish state is, in fact, unique among countries born in the postcolonial era: it began as a parliamentary democracy and has remained one. Yet shortsighted policies, unintended consequences, and its refusal to heed warnings now threaten its many accomplishments.
Based on groundbreaking historical research and a quarter century of experience reporting in the region, The Unmaking of Israel is a brilliant, deeply personal critique by a progressive Israeli, and a plea for realizing the nation's potential.
A Jerusalem-based journalist presents his exegesis on how Israel came together and how he sees it coming apart.
American Prospect senior correspondent Gorenberg (The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, 2006, etc.) recounts the history of the lone democracy in the Middle East, as well as the faults peculiar to democracies and their guarantee of free speech. He presents an earnest survey of the resentful discourse, internecine political battles and other endemic problems besieging the small nation. In cities across Israel, the religious right has moved into Palestinian conclaves. Settlements outside the contested Green Line were established without permits, and West Bank homesteaders erected residences without seeking permission. Against biblical injunction, ancient and productive Arab olive trees were destroyed. Religious fundamentalists claim "The Whole Israel" as their legacy. Can or will the army or the police disengage the increasing cadre of settlers from the occupied territories? Parties are divided. Jewish civil-rights groups sue, but some Supreme Court victories simply languish and are not enforced. Israel's split personality engages zealots of all stripes, but the rule of law, ignored at times, still exists as nowhere else in the region. Employing considerable and powerful selective history, the author is, for the most part, passionately persuasive. His concluding remedy comprises three parts: first, end the occupation in Judea and Samaria; next, divorce state and synagogue; finally, be less Jewish in favor of equality. As readers and his countrymen will remind the author, Israel's reason for being—from its birth, parented in 1948 by the international community through its battles for survival—is that it is the Jewish State, a state like no other. Gorenberg offers no significant guarantee of that birthright.
Sure to raise contention, a strong dissenting voice from a burdened land where dissent is not simply tolerated, but a way of life.
Excerpted from The Unmaking of Israel by Gershom Gorenberg Copyright © 2011 by Gershom Gorenberg. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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I The Road to Elisha 1
II Remember the Altalena 15
III The Capital of Lawlessness 56
IV Children of the Hills 97
V Disorderly Conduct 135
VI The Labor of the Righteous Is Done by Others 163
VII Importing the Revolution 195
VIII The Reestablishment of Israel 221
Posted January 11, 2012
A concise, informed and highly perceptive analysis of the most worrying ailments of current Israeli society. A must read for all those looking at Israeli society and wondering what went wrong. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the book the last chapter is unrealistic and utopian, but this does not detract from the frighteningly realistic and well worth reading analysis of the previous chapters.
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Posted February 1, 2013
I burned out on the Israeli-Arab conflict decades ago, but a retired preacher in my Sunday School class had read it and wanted my opinion on it so I complied. What was news to me was the transformation of the Orthodox bloc into utilizers of the IDF for military training and positions of power to further their goal of holding on to the occupied territories. But what is one more impediment to peace among so many?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2012
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