Author: Ari Shavit
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Release Date: 2013-11-19
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE ECONOMIST Winner of the Natan Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension. We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country. As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape. Praise for My Promised Land “This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. [Shavit’s] accomplishment is so unlikely, so total . . . that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East.”—Simon Schama, Financial Times “[A] must-read book.”—Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times “Important and powerful . . . the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read.”—Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review “Spellbinding . . . Shavit’s prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear.”—The Economist “One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years.”—The Wall Street Journal
Author: Ari Shavit
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Release Date: 2014-02-03
An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today Not since Thomas Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. In this riveting narrative, Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, to illuminate the pivotal moments of the Zionist century. In doing so, he also sheds new light on the problems and threats that Israel is currently facing. Beginning with his great-grandfather — a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people — Shavit recounts and analyses the diverse experiences of Israeli people, past and present: the idealist young farmer who first grew the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms over the tiny country. As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Provocative, heartfelt, and powerfully compelling, this is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.
Author: Ari Shavit
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Release Date: 2014-01-16
A groundbreaking and authoritative examination of Israel by one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East today. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. My Promised Land tells the story of Israel as it has never been told before, and asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? And can Israel survive? Through revealing stories of significant events and lives of ordinary individuals — the youth group leader who recognised the potential of Masada as a powerful symbol for Zionism; the young farmer who bought an orange grove from his Arab neighbour in the 1920s, and helped to create a booming economy in Palestine; the engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program; the religious Zionists who started the settler movement — Israeli journalist Ari Shavit illuminates the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing and uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.
Author: Ilan Pappe
Publisher: Verso Books
Release Date: 2014-02-04
Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has drawn on Zionism, the movement behind its creation, to provide a sense of self and political direction. In this groundbreaking new work, Ilan Pappe looks at the continued role of Zionist ideology. The Idea of Israel considers the way Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as the country’s education system, media, and cinema, and the uses that are made of the Holocaust in supporting the state’s ideological structure. In particular, Pappe examines the way successive generations of historians have framed the 1948 conflict as a liberation campaign, creating a foundation myth that went unquestioned in Israeli society until the 1990s. Pappe himself was part of the post-Zionist movement that arose then. He was attacked and received death threats as he exposed the truth about how Palestinians have been treated and the gruesome structure that links the production of knowledge to the exercise of power. The Idea of Israel is a powerful and urgent intervention in the war of ideas concerning the past, and the future, of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.
Author: Norman G. Finkelstein
Publisher: OR Books
Release Date: 2014-04-24
My Promised Land by Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit has been one of the most widely discussed and lavishly praised books about Israel in recent years. It has garnered encomiums from a broad spectrum of influential voices, including Thomas Friedman, David Remnick, Jonathan Freedland, Jeffrey Goldberg, Franklin Foer, and Dwight Garner. Were he not already inured to the logrolling that passes for informed opinion on this topic, Norman Finkelstein might have been surprised, astonished even. That’s because, as he reveals with typical precision, My Promised Land is riddled with omission, distortion, falsehood, and sheer nonsense. In brief chapters that analyze Shavit’s defense of Zionism and Israel’s Jewish identity, its nuclear arsenal and its refusal to negotiate peace, Finkelstein shows how highly selective criticism and sanctimonious handwringing are deployed to create a paean to modern Israel more sophisticated than the traditional our-country-right-or-wrong. In this way, Shavit hopes to win back an American Jewish community increasingly alienated from a place it once regarded as home. However, because the myths he recycles have been so comprehensively shattered, this project is unlikely to succeed. Like his landmark debunking of Joan Peters’s From Time Immemorial, Finkelstein’s clinical dissection of My Promised Land will be welcomed by those who prefer truth to propaganda, and who yearn for a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict based on justice, rather than arguments framed by anguish and schmaltz.
Author: Amos Oz
Release Date: 1993-10-31
A snapshot of Israel and the West Bank in the 1980s, through the voices of its inhabitants, from the National Jewish Book Award–winning author of Judas. Notebook in hand, renowned author and onetime kibbutznik Amos Oz traveled throughout his homeland to talk with people—workers, soldiers, religious zealots, aging pioneers, desperate Arabs, visionaries—asking them questions about Israel’s past, present, and future. Observant or secular, rich or poor, native-born or new immigrant, they shared their points of view, memories, hopes, and fears, and Oz recorded them. What emerges is a distinctive portrait of a changing nation and a complex society, supplemented by Oz’s own observations and reflections, that reflects an insider’s view of a country still forming its own identity. In the Land of Israel is “an exemplary instance of a writer using his craft to come to grips with what is happening politically and to illuminate certain aspects of Israeli society that have generally been concealed by polemical formulas” (The New York Times).
Author: Colin Shindler
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2013-03-25
Colin Shindler's remarkable history begins in 1948, as waves of immigrants arrived in Israel from war-torn Europe to establish new cities, new institutions, and a new culture founded on the Hebrew language. Optimistic beginnings were soon replaced with the sobering reality of wars with Arab neighbours, internal ideological differences, and ongoing confrontation with the Palestinians. In this updated edition, Shindler covers the significant developments of the last decade, including the rise of the Israeli far right, Hamas's takeover and the political rivalry between Gaza and the West Bank, Israel's uneasy dealings with the new administration in the United States, political Islam and the potential impact of the Arab Spring on the region as a whole. This sympathetic yet candid portrayal asks how a nation that emerged out of the ashes of the Holocaust and was the admiration of the world is now perceived by many Western governments in a less than benevolent light.
Author: Martin Fletcher
Release Date: 2010-09-28
From the much lauded author of Breaking News comes a version of Walking the Bible just for Israel. With its dense history of endless conflict and biblical events, Israel's coastline is by far the most interesting hundred miles in the world. As longtime chief of NBC's Tel Aviv news bureau, Martin Fletcher is in a unique position to interpret Israel, and he brings it off in a spectacular and novel manner. Last year he strolled along the entire coast, from Lebanon to Gaza, observing facets of the country that are ignored in news reports, yet tell a different and truer story. Walking Israel is packed with hilarious moments, historical insights, emotional, true-life tales, and, above all, great storytelling.
A Hebrew-School text on Israel which views the homeland through rose-colored glasses. it follows the history of Eretz Yisrael from early times through the growth of Zionism, the establishment of the State of Israel and the major events in its 40+ years of existence. good photos enhance the narrative.
Author: Dan Ephron
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-10-19
One of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of the Year. The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the single most consequential event in Israel’s recent history, and one that fundamentally altered the trajectory for both Israel and the Palestinians. Killing a King relates the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker, Yigal Amir, over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one of them planned political deals he hoped would lead to peace, and the other plotted murder. Dan Ephron, who reported from the Middle East for much of the past two decades, covered both the rally where Rabin was killed and the subsequent murder trial. He describes how Rabin, a former general who led the army in the Six-Day War of 1967, embraced his nemesis, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, and set about trying to resolve the twentieth century’s most vexing conflict. He recounts in agonizing detail how extremists on both sides undermined the peace process with ghastly violence. And he reconstructs the relentless scheming of Amir, a twenty-five-year-old law student and Jewish extremist who believed that Rabin’s peace effort amounted to a betrayal of Israel and the Jewish people. As Amir stalked Rabin over many months, the agency charged with safeguarding the Israeli leader missed key clues, overlooked intelligence reports, and then failed to protect him at the critical moment, exactly twenty years ago. It was the biggest security blunder in the agency’s history. Through the prism of the assassination, much about Israel today comes into focus, from the paralysis in peacemaking to the fraught relationship between current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. Based on Israeli police reports, interviews, confessions, and the cooperation of both Rabin’s and Amir’s families, Killing a King is a tightly coiled narrative that reaches an inevitable, shattering conclusion. One can’t help but wonder what Israel would look like today had Rabin lived.
Author: Daniel Gordis
Release Date: 2016-10-18
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.
Author: Rona Arato
Publisher: Second Story Press
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
Rachel Fletcher is eleven years old when she, her mother and sister are crammed on board the Exodus, a dilapidated vessel smuggling 4500 Jewish refugees risking their lives to reach Palestine, their biblical homeland. Despite all they had suffered during the Holocaust, Jewish refugees are still not wanted in many countries. Even a Canadian immigration officer famously said at the time "None is too many" when asked how many refugees Canada would take in. Nonetheless, Rachel and the other refugees refuse to give up hope when war ships surround them. Their fight, and the worldwide attention it brought, influenced the UN to vote for the creation of the state of Israel. Made famous by the Paul Newman film "Exodus", this is the first book for young people about the ship that helped make history.
Author: David K. Shipler
Release Date: 2015
The expanded and updated edition of David Shipler's Pulitzer Prize-winning book that examines the relationship, past and present, between Arabs and Jews In this monumental work, extensively researched and more relevant than ever, David Shipler delves into the origins of the prejudices that exist between Jews and Arabs that have been intensified by war, terrorism, and nationalism. Focusing on the diverse cultures that exist side by side in Israel and Israeli-controlled territories, Shipler examines the process of indoctrination that begins in schools; he discusses the far-ranging effects of socioeconomic differences, historical conflicts between Islam and Judaism, attitudes about the Holocaust, and much more. And he writes of the people: the Arab woman in love with a Jew, the retired Israeli military officer, the Palestinian guerrilla, the handsome actor whose father is Arab and whose mother is Jewish. For Shipler, and for all who read this book, their stories and hundreds of others reflect not only the reality of "wounded spirits" but also a glimmer of hope for eventual coexistence in the Promised Land.
In this stunning, bestselling novel—and an NBCC Award finalist—David Grossman tells the powerful story of a mother’s love for her son. Just before his release from service in the Israeli army, Ora’s son Ofer is sent back to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, so that no bad news can reach her, Ora sets out on an epic hike in the Galilee. She is joined by an unlikely companion—Avram, a former friend and lover with a troubled past—and as they sleep out in the hills, Ora begins to conjure her son. Ofer’s story, as told by Ora, becomes a surprising balm both for her and for Avram—and a mother’s haunting meditation on war and family. ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK