NEW BOOKS BY MEMBERS


UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL: POLITICAL, SOCIETAL AND SECURITY CHALLENGES

By: Joel Peters and Rob Geist Pinfold (eds.)
(Routledge, 2018, ISBN: 9781138125650, 292 pages)
This book provides a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary analysis of the external and internal threats, opportunities and issues facing contemporary Israel. The book comprises sixteen chapters written by recognized authorities in the field of Israel Studies. Together, the chapters offer a detailed overview of Israel while separately they provide stand-alone coverage of specific topics under discussion. Part I examines the Israeli Political System, such as the Knesset, political parties and extra-parliamentary politics; Part II addresses issues in Israeli society, including the Israeli economy, the divides between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular Israelis and the struggle for gender equality; and Part III focuses on security, geopolitical and foreign policy challenges, looking at relations between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, Israeli foreign policy, borders and settlements and regional security threats. By filling an important gap in the study of contemporary Israel, this book is of interest to multiple audiences, most notably students and scholars of Israeli politics, the Middle East and comparative politics. The book has been positively reviewed by leading Israel Studies academics, such as Naomi Chazan, Gad Barzilai and Clive Jones.

 

Israel in the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of US-Israeli Relations, 1958–1988

By: Shaul Mitelpunkt
(Cambridge University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9781108381635, 386 Pages)
This book examines the changing meanings Americans and Israelis invested in the relationship between their countries from the late 1950s to the 1980s. Bringing to light previously unexamined sources, this study is the first to investigate the intricate mechanisms that defined and redefined Israel's place in American imagination through the war-strewn 1960s and 1970s. Departing from traditional diplomatic histories that focus on the political elites alone, Shaul Mitelpunkt places the relationship deep in the cultural, social, intellectual, and ideological landscapes of both societies. Examining Israeli propaganda operations in America, Mitelpunkt also pays close attention to the way Israelis manipulated and responded to American perceptions of their country, and reveals the reservations some expressed towards their country's relationship with the United States. By contextualizing the relationship within the changing domestic concerns in both countries, this book provides a truly transnational history of US-Israeli relations.

 

Strategic Elites in Israel: The Distribution of Power in the Israeli Society

By: Sagi Elbaz and Niva Golan-Nadir
(Carmel Publishing, 2018, 193 pages, ISBN: 9789655407921, in Hebrew)
This book seeks to achieve two main goals. The first, and more general, is to show that the Israeli society is an elitist one. The second, and more focused goal is to explain that the Israeli society consists of three groups of power: a political elite, a military elite, and an economic elite. These groups are ‘strategic elites’ because they hold power, influence decision-making processes, and possess more resources any than other power groups, let alone the general public, and certainly the weaker sectors in society. At its core, the book develops a theoretical model that assumes that these three power groups - political, military and economic elites use the media, education and culture systems to mobilize broad public consent for the existing order, and to justify their rule. Among other things, the three groups form ‘core value consensus’, the main ones being: A. Jewish nationalism. B. Security culture. C. Economic Liberalism. Each of these core consensuses is produced, replicated, and disseminated to the masses through the mediation of the media and the educational and cultural institutions – i.e. the ideological consent mechanisms subordinate to the elites. At the basis of this book is the assumption that the ‘national agenda’ is merely a code name for the elite's belief system and values, which supposedly identify its interests with the public interest. This is the undemocratic element embedded in a social structure that preserves the gaps between elites and the general public.

 

Beyond the Nation-State: The Zionist Political Imagination from Pinsker to Ben-Gurion

By: Dmitry Shumsky
(Yale University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9780300230130, 320 pages)
The Jewish nation-state has often been thought of as Zionism’s end goal. In this bracing history of the idea of the Jewish state in modern Zionism, from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century until the establishment of the state of Israel, Dmitry Shumsky challenges this deeply rooted assumption. In doing so, he complicates the narrative of the Zionist quest for full sovereignty, provocatively showing how and why the leaders of the pre-state Zionist movement imagined, articulated and promoted theories of self-determination in Palestine either as part of a multinational Ottoman state (1882-1917), or in the framework of multinational democracy. In particular, Shumsky focuses on the writings and policies of five key Zionist leaders from the Habsburg and Russian empires in central and eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion to offer a very pointed critique of Zionist historiography.

 

Jerusalem: A Brief History

By: Michael Zank
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, ISBN: 9781405179720, 272 Pages)
Jerusalem - A Brief History shows how Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures confer providential meaning to the fate of the city and how modern Jerusalem is haunted by waves of biblical fantasy aiming at mutually exclusive status-quo rectification. It presents the major epochs of the history of Jerusalem’s urban transformation, inviting readers to imagine Jerusalem as a city that is not just sacred to the many groups of people who hold it dear, but as a united, unharmed place that is, in this sense, holy. Jerusalem - A Brief History starts in modern Jerusalem—giving readers a look at the city as it exists today. It goes on to tell of its emergence as a holy city in three different ways, focusing each time on another aspect of the biblical past. Next, it discusses the transformation of Jerusalem from a formerly Jewish temple city, condemned to oblivion by its Roman destroyers, into an imperially sponsored Christian theme park, and the afterlife of that same city under later Byzantine and Muslim rulers. Lastly, the book returns to present day Jerusalem to examine the development of the modern city under the Ottomans and the British, the history of division and reunification, and the ongoing jostling over access to, and sovereignty over, Jerusalem’s contested holy places.

 

Borders, Territories, and Ethics: Hebrew Literature in the Shadow of the Intifada

By: Adia Mendelson-Maoz
(Purdue University Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-1557538208 252 pages)
Borders, Territories, and Ethics: Hebrew Literature in the Shadow of the Intifada by Adia Mendelson-Maoz presents a new perspective on the multifaceted relations between ideologies, space, and ethics manifested in contemporary Hebrew literature dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the occupation. In this volume, Mendelson-Maoz analyzes Israeli prose written between 1987 and 2007, relating mainly to the first and second intifadas, written by authors such as Yehoshua, Grossman, Matalon, Castel-Bloom, Govrin, Kravitz, and Levy. Mendelson-Maoz raises critical questions regarding militarism, humanism, the nature of the State of Israel as a democracy, national identity and its borders, soldiers as moral individuals, the nature of Zionist education, the acknowledgment of the Other, and the sovereignty of the subject. She discusses these issues within two frameworks. The first draws on theories of ethics in the humanist tradition and its critical extensions, especially by Levinas. The second applies theories of space, and in particular deterritorialization as put forward by Deleuze and Guattari and their successors. Overall this volume provides an innovative theoretical analysis of the collage of voices and artistic directions in contemporary Israeli prose written in times of political and cultural debate on the occupation and its intifadas.

 

 The Revolutionary: Ada Fishman Maimon: A Biography

By: Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern
(Ben-Gurion University Press and Yad Ben Zvi, 2018, in Hebrew, ISBN 978-965-510-123-2, 541 pages.)
Born in 1893 in Bessarabia, Ada Fishman Maimon was known from an early age for her intellectual acuity, strong-mindedness and ability to hold her own in a debate. Fishman Maimon was a feminist who fought for suffrage, and for women’s right to get work, earn money, and become independent; who kept the Jewish Mitzvoth, but chose the secular sector of the Zionist movement as her political home. Ada Fishman was one of the few women founders of the Women Workers Movement in Eretz Israel; a relentless entrepreneur, founder and manager of Ayanot, the big women’s farm established in the early 1930s near Ness Ziona, where she lived very modestly until the end of her life in 1973, and a prolific member of the Knesset. A member of the leadership of Ha-Poel ha –Tzair party, and later of Mapay’s, she assigned the gender principle priority over class, political and other affiliations. Although she never married, she took a feminist attitude toward women’s status as wives and mothers, and toward the economic and social significance of their labor. In unfolding Ada Fishman’s life story this book weaves together the personal dimension of her life with her public persona; her biography with the history of the Zionist movement she influenced and helped mold. Her intricate life, her triumphs and disappointments, achievements and lost battles, are the threads this book sets to untangle.

  

Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo

By: Seth Anziska
(Princeton University Press, 2018, ISBN 9780691177397, 464 Pages)
For seventy years Israel has existed as a state, and for forty years it has honored a peace treaty with Egypt that is widely viewed as a triumph of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. Yet the Palestinians—the would-be beneficiaries of a vision for a comprehensive regional settlement that led to the Camp David Accords in 1978—remain stateless to this day. How and why Palestinian statelessness persists are the central questions of Seth Anziska’s groundbreaking book, which explores the complex legacy of the agreement brokered by President Jimmy Carter.
Based on newly declassified international sources, Preventing Palestine charts the emergence of the Middle East peace process, including the establishment of a separate track to deal with the issue of Palestine. At the very start of this process, Anziska argues, Egyptian-Israeli peace came at the expense of the sovereignty of the Palestinians, whose aspirations for a homeland alongside Israel faced crippling challenges. With the introduction of the idea of restrictive autonomy, Israeli settlement expansion, and Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the chances for Palestinian statehood narrowed even further. The first Intifada in 1987 and the end of the Cold War brought new opportunities for a Palestinian state, but many players, refusing to see Palestinians as a nation or a people, continued to steer international diplomacy away from their cause.
Combining astute political analysis, extensive original research, and interviews with diplomats, military veterans, and communal leaders, Preventing Palestine offers a bold new interpretation of a highly charged struggle for self-determination.

 

Jeremiah in Zion: The Religion and Politics of Judah Leib Magnes

By David Barak-Gorodetsky
(Ben-Gurion University Press, 2018, in Hebrew, ISBN124600100141, 279 pages)
This manuscript is an intellectual biography of Judah Leib Magnes – a Reform Rabbi and American Zionist leader, who immigrated to Palestine to become the first Chancellor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His politics of binationalism was the outcome of his religious understanding of Judaism and of Zionism as its modern expression. Contrasted with the central-European thinkers who were his allies in the effort to realize the binational idea in Palestine – like Martin Buber and Hugo Bergman – the uniqueness of Magnes’s position lies in its American religious and political underpinnings. The case of Magnes can therefore be understood as an attempt to transport the Reform Jewish-American political theology to the Zionist arena in Palestine, while utilizing the American federative political ideas and the precepts of Jewish morality in the constituting processes of Jewish statehood in Israel.

 

The Religionization of Israeli Society

By: Yoav Peled and Horit Herman Peled
(Routledge 2019, ISBN: 9781138954793, 238 Pages)
During Israel's military operation in Gaza in the summer of 2014 the commanding officer of the Givati infantry brigade, Colonel Ofer Vinter, called upon his troops to fight "the terrorists who defame the God of Israel." This unprecedented call for religious war by a senior IDF commander caused an uproar, but it was just one symptom of a profound process of religionization, or de-secularization, that Israeli society has been going through since the turn of the twenty-first century. This book analyzes and explains, for the first time, the reasons for the religionization of Israeli society, a process known in Hebrew as hadata. Jewish religion, inseparable from Jewish nationality, was embedded in Zionism from its inception in the nineteenth century, but was subdued to a certain extent in favor of the national aspect in the interest of building a modern nation-state. Hadata has its origins in the 1967 war, has been accelerating since 2000, and is manifested in a number of key social fields: the military, the educational system, the media of mass communications, the teshuvah movement, the movement for Jewish renewal, and religious feminism. A major chapter of the book is devoted to the religionization of the visual fine arts field, a topic that has been largely neglected by previous researchers. Through careful examination of religionization, this book sheds light on a major development in Israeli society, which will additionally inform our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As such, it is a key resource for students and scholars of Israel Studies, and those interested in the relations between religion, culture, politics and nationalism, secularization and new social movements.

 

 

What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (and What It Means to Americans)

By: Naomi B. Sokoloff and Nancy E. Berg (eds.)
(University of Washington Press, 2018, ISBN: 9780295743769, 256 pages)
Why Hebrew, here and now? What is its value for contemporary Americans? In What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (and What It Means to Americans) scholars, writers, and translators tackle a series of urgent questions that arise from the changing status of Hebrew in the United States. To what extent is that status affected by evolving Jewish identities and shifting attitudes toward Israel and Zionism? Will Hebrew programs survive the current crisis in the humanities on university campuses? How can the vibrancy of Hebrew literature be conveyed to a larger audience? The volume features a diverse group of distinguished contributors, including Sarah Bunin Benor, Dara Horn, Adriana Jacobs, Alan Mintz, Hannah Pressman, Adam Rovner, Ilan Stavans, Michael Weingrad, Robert Whitehill-Bashan, and Wendy Zierler. With lively personal insights, their essays give fellow Americans a glimpse into the richness of an exceptional language. Celebrating the vitality of modern Hebrew, this book addresses the challenges and joys of being a Hebraist in America in the twenty-first century. Together these essays explore ways to rekindle an interest in Hebrew studies, focusing not just on what Hebrew means-as a global phenomenon and long-lived tradition-but on what it can mean to Americans.

 

Fortresses of Paper – The Newspaper Halevanon and Jewish Orthodoxy

By: Roni Beer-Marx
(The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, Jerusalem, 2017, in Hebrew)
This book follows the formation of Jewish East European Orthodox society during the second half of the nineteenth century by looking at the Hebrew newspaper, HaLevanon.
HaLevanon was a central means for the consolidation of a group consciousness and social identity of those who remained committed to a conservative religious tradition in Eastern Europe in general, and in Lithuania in particular, at a time in which Orthodox Jewry experienced various dangers and had to face up to new challenges. However, HaLevanon fulfilled a dual function: It was created as a vehicle for fortifying, protecting and unifying a Jewish Orthodox community. On the other hand, it infused the same community with modern thought patterns and agenda. This complexity, which has been discussed in the book, reflects the ambivalence of the entire Jewish Orthodox Eastern European community, which negotiated simultaneous contradictory trends of seclusion and conservatism on the one hand, and of acceptance and adaptation on the other.

 

Civil Israel: Boas Evron’s National Reckoning

By: Israel Segal; Editor: David Ohana
(Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House 2017; 249-505-47; 260 pages, in Hebrew)
Boas Evron’s book National Reckoning (1988) is one of the most important intellectual books written in and about the state of Israel. The late researcher Israel Segal analyses this manifest of the post-Zionist position using rare archive material, interviews and a complete collection of Evron’s writings. Civil Israel is a systematic analysis of Evron’s thought in its biographical and intellectual context, and it emphasises Evron’s importance as a bold and creative thinker.
Segal examines the intellectual climate and political background in which Evron’s ideas developed, and discusses the role of this Israeli intellectual as a critical theorist of nationalism. The discussion also concerns: the Canaanite ideas, the importance of the Bible for the national identity, the idea of the negation of the exile, the universal meaning of the Holocaust and the local identity of the state of Israel.

 

The Handbook of Israel’s Political System

By: Itzhak Galnoor and Dana Blander
(Cambridge University Press, 2018; ISBN: 9781107097858, 1016 pages)
There is growing interest in Israel's political system from all parts of the world. This Handbook provides a unique comprehensive presentation of political life in Israel from the formative pre-state period to the present. The themes covered include: political heritage and the unresolved issues that have been left to fester; the institutional framework (the Knesset, government, judiciary, presidency, the state comptroller and commissions of inquiry); citizens’ political participation (elections, political parties, civil society and the media); the four issues that have bedevilled Israeli democracy since its establishment (security, state and religion, the status of Israel’s Arab citizens and economic inequities with concomitant social gaps); and the contours of the political culture and its impact on Israel's democracy. The authors skilfully integrate detailed basic data with an analysis of structures and processes, making the Handbook accessible to both experts and those with a general interest in Israel.

 

Points of Contact: Dance, Politics and Jewish-Arab Relations in Israel

By: Henia Rottenberg and Dina Roginsky (eds.)
(Resling press, 2018, 330 pages, in Hebrew)
Points of Contact proposes a framework for the research and discussion of the changing nature of Jewish-Arab relations as reflected in dance from the late 19th century Palestine until the present day Israel. Drawing on multiple disciplines from the social sciences, humanities, and arts, this book examines dance across multiple historical periods and in a variety of social venues and dance genres, and touches on related issues of Israeli, Palestinian and also Jewish-American identities as reflected in dance. It seeks to answer a fundamental question: can the body and dance operate as non-verbal autonomous agents of change, or are they just another manifestation of an embodied politics?

 

Ringworm: Historical, Medical and Social Aspects of its Treatment

By:   Shifra Shvarts and Sadetzki Siegal (eds.)
(Ben-Gurion University publication, 2018, ISBN 2302118, in Hebrew)
The book "Ringworm" presents for the first time a series of Israeli and international studies focusing on historical, social and political aspects of the treatment of ringworm in Israel and worldwide. The studies describe how various countries cope with the ringworm epidemic through mass radiation therapy such as France, England and the United States, and in the Jewish Yishuv in Mandate Palestine and the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and North Africa. The second part of the book presents research on the social and political aspects of the treatment of ringworm in Israel, with emphasis on the period of mass immigration during the first decade of the State and the Law on Compensation for Ringworm Victims, 1994, which was legislated only in Israel.

 

A Jewish Community in an Arab Town: Beit She`an, 1890-1936

By: Reuven Gafni
(Magnes press, 2018, ISBN: 978-965-7763-36-0, 275 pages [Hebrew])
This book focuses on the history and the fall of the Jewish community that existed in Beit She`an, from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in 1936. This first attempt to sketch the story of the community, which was almost entirely obliterated from the public memory and even the academic consciousness, is based on an in-depth study of public and local archives, as well as other sources, including the Jewish and Arab local press during this period, literary and autobiographical sources, and several oral interviews with the descendants of the short-lived community.
The book follows the history of the community through the years of it`s existence, describing its growth from a small group of local Jewish settlers into a stable and growing community, which at it`s peak numbered hundreds of people and operated communal and religious institutions. The first abandonment of the community after the 1929 riots, the attempts to resuscitate it in the early 1930s, and its gradual decline until its demise with the outbreak of the Arab Revolt, are also described broadly, as well as the activities of the main community institutions, the Hebrew school and Jewish clinic. Other issues discussed in the book are the community's ties with the surrounding agricultural Jewish settlement, with the Jewish community in Tiberias, the local Arab population and, above all, its complex and changing relations with the Jewish national institutions.
Other than the story of the Beit She'an community itself, the book sheds light on the usually forgotten phenomenon of  several other small Jewish communities, which existed during this period in a number of Arab cities and towns throughout the country: Gaza, Be'er Sheva, Ramle, Lod, Nazareth, Jenin, Samakh, Jericho And others. The story of these communities enables a reevaluation of various histographic issues, amongst them the evolving relations between Jews and Arabs in mandatory Palestine during this period, as well as the unique national and social identity of various marginal Jewish groups, which disappeared from Zionist historiography as well as from the public memory.

 

Yigal Allon: A Neglected Political Legacy, 1949–1980

By: Udi (Ehud) Manor
(Sussex Academic Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-84519-880-0, 240 pages)
Yigal Allon was a major contributor to the nation building process of the State of Israel. He did so from multiple positions he held in government. Between 1961 and 1968 he served as Labor Minister. In 1968 he became the Absorption minister and from 1969 to 1974 he served as Minister of Education. In his last role, 1974–1977, he held Israel’s foreign policy helm, encouraging countries and leaders to engage with Israel. Throughout his 17 years in government, Allon was a pivotal player in the cabinet’s security and foreign relations endeavours. From 1968 to 1977 he was also vice prime minister. This fabulous career notwithstanding, his political legacy has been ignored. In 2004 a long anticipated biography of Allon was published in Hebrew by historian Anita Shapira, 24 years after his sudden death, when he was 62. However, this eloquently written and well documented biography only covered Allon’s military career to the end of Israel’s War of Independence in 1949. The 2004 biography ended by claiming that Allon’s next 31 years (1949–1980) – his political years – was not worth a historical account. Yigal Allon: A Neglected Political Legacy, 1949–1980 sets the record straight, and reverses the injustice of ignoring his multi-faceted political talent in the service of the State of Israel. This English-language edition is a revised and smaller edition based on the widely acclaimed and reviewed Hebrew version (2016). Allon’s perceptions regarding the Territories have been borne out; equally critical, he foresaw that government policies would lead to a decline in Israel’s international status, and that Israel would be held accountable for lack of peace in the region.

 

Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema

By: Rachel S. Harris
(Wayne State Press, 2017, ISBN: 9780814339671, 336 pages)
 Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema is a feminist study of Israel’s film industry and the changes that have occurred since the 1990s. Working in feminist film theory, the book adopts a cultural studies approach, considering the creation of a female-centered and thematically feminist film culture in light of structural and ideological shifts in Israeli society. Author Rachel S. Harris situates these changes in dialogue with the cinematic history that preceded them and the ongoing social inequalities that perpetuate women’s marginalization within Israeli society. While no one can deny Israel’s Western women’s advancements, feminist filmmakers frequently turn to Israel’s less impressive underbelly as sources for their inspiration. Their films have focused on sexism, the negative impact of militarism on women’s experience, rape culture, prostitution, and sexual abuse. These films also tend to include subjects from society’s geographical periphery and social margins, such as female foreign workers, women, and refugees. Warriors, Witches, Whores is divided into three major sections and each considers a different form of feminist engagement. The first part explores films that situate women in traditionally male spheres of militarism, considering the impact of interjecting women within hegemonic spaces or reconceptualizing them in feminist ways. The second part recovers the narratives of women’s experience that were previously marginalized or silenced, thereby creating a distinct female space that offers new kinds of storytelling and cinematic aesthetics that reflect feminist expressions of identity. The third part offers examples of feminist activism that reach beyond the boundaries of the film to comment on social issues. This section demonstrates how feminists use film (and work within the film industry) in order to position women in society. While there are thematic overlaps between the chapters, each section marks structural differences in the modes of feminist response. Warriors, Witches, Whores considers the ways social and political power have affected the representation of women and looks to how feminist filmmakers have fought against these inequities behind the camera and in the stories they tell.

 

Gershom Scholem: From Berlin to Jerusalem and Back

By: Noam Zadoff
(Brandeis University Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-1512601138, 344 pages)
German-born Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem (1897–1982), the preeminent scholar of Jewish mysticism, delved into the historical analysis of kabbalistic literature from late antiquity to the twentieth century. His writings traverse Jewish historiography, Zionism, the phenomenology of mystical religion, and the spiritual and political condition of contemporary Judaism and Jewish civilization. Scholem famously recounted rejecting his parents’ assimilationist liberalism in favor of Zionism and immigrating to Palestine in 1923, where he became a central figure in the German Jewish immigrant community that dominated the nation’s intellectual landscape in Mandatory Palestine. Despite Scholem’s public renunciation of Germany for Israel, Zadoff explores how the life and work of Scholem reflect ambivalence toward Zionism and his German origins.

 

The Charm of Wise Hesitancy: Talmudic Stories in Contemporary Israeli Culture

By: David C. Jacobson
(Academic Studies Press, 2017, ISBN: 1618117882, 184 pages)
In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest among both secular and religious Israelis in Talmudic stories. This growing fascination with Talmudic stories has been inspired by contemporary Israeli writers who have sought to make readers aware of the special qualities of these well-crafted narratives that portray universal human situations, including marriages, relationships between parents and children, power struggles between people, and the challenge of trying to live a good life. The Charm of Wise Hesitancy explores the resurgence of interest in Talmudic stories in Israel and presents some of the most popular Talmudic stories in contemporary Israeli culture, as well as creative interpretations of those stories by Israeli writers, thereby providing readers with an opportunity to consider how these stories may be relevant to their own lives.

 

The Road to '77: The Collapse of the Hegemony of the Labor Party, 1965-1977

By: Eran Eldar
(Am-Oved 2018, ISBN: 978-965-13-2705-6, 299 pages)
The ninth Knesset election, in May 1977, caused what came to be known as the “upheaval”—a vastly significant event in Israeli politics. After thirty years of unquestioned rule by the Mapai (Labor) Party, the voters sent it into the opposition. The shock and surprise were enormous. After the election, the party head Shimon Peres wrote to his friend, the novelist A.B. Yehoshua, “We were cut off from the people, we were insensitive to their wishes, and our ears were closed to their expectations.” He went on to describe the power games within the party and its intellectual poverty. Eran Eldar’s new book argues that the party’s many achievements during the thirty years of its rule—including establishing the country’s economy and stabilizing its security and borders— masked internal processes and developments that eroded its power and distanced it from the hearts of its electorate. The book does not deal with the winning side, the Likud Party headed by Menachem Begin, but rather with the losing side. The close examination of the gradual decline of the workers parties’ hegemony between 1965 and 1977 reveals that the “upheaval” was essentially the obvious and inevitable conclusion of a long process of disintegration and loss of power.

 

Emptied Lands: A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev

By: Alexandre Kedar, Ahmad Amara, and Oren Yiftachel
(Stanford University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9781503603585, 424 pages)
Emptied Lands investigates the protracted legal, planning, and territorial conflict between the settler Israeli state and indigenous Bedouin citizens over traditional lands in southern Israel/Palestine. The authors place this dispute in historical, legal, geographical, and international-comparative perspectives, providing the first legal geographic analysis of the "dead Negev doctrine" used by Israel to dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region. The authors reveal that through manipulative use of Ottoman, British and Israeli laws, the state has constructed its own version of terra nullius. Yet, the indigenous property and settlement system still functions, creating an ongoing resistance to the Jewish state. Emptied Lands critically examines several key land claims, court rulings, planning policies and development strategies, offering alternative local, regional, and international routes for justice.

 

Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter: Heritage and Postwar Restoration

By: Bracha Slae and Ruth Kark
(Israel Academic Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-1885881649, 186 pages)
This scholarly, incisive, and thought provoking book provides an in depth account of Israel’s rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War, in the context of approaches to post-war restoration and heritage preservation and development, both local and worldwide. Inward-directed heritage development and its importance to collective identity, and outward directed heritage development (primarily tourist but also strategic and political) were decisive concerns. The rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter is compared to contemporary preservation old cities of Jaffa, Acre and Safed, activity in the historic to heritage conservation in Old Cairo, and to postwar conservation of Beirut, Warsaw and York.

 

Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change

By: Charles D. Freilich
(Oxford University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9780190602932, 496 pages) National security has been at the forefront of the Israeli experience for seven decades, with threats ranging from terrorism, to vast rocket and missile arsenals, and even existential nuclear dangers. Yet, despite its overwhelming preoccupation with foreign and defense affairs, Israel does not have a formal national security strategy. In Israeli National Security, Chuck Freilich presents an authoritative analysis of the military, diplomatic, demographic, and societal challenges Israel faces today, to propose a comprehensive and long-term Israeli national security strategy. The heart of the new strategy places greater emphasis on restraint, defense, and diplomacy as means of addressing the challenges Israel faces, along with the military capacity to deter and, if necessary, defeat Israel’s adversaries, while also maintaining the resolve of its society. By bringing Israel’s most critical debates about the Palestinians, demography, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, US relations and nuclear strategy into sharp focus, the strategy Freilich proposes addresses the primary challenges Israel must address in order to chart its national course. The most comprehensive study of Israel’s national security to date, this book presents the first ever public proposal for a comprehensive Israeli national security strategy and prescribes an actionable course forward. The US-Israeli relationship, both at the governmental level and the Jewish community, is a considerable focus in the book, which weighs four critical questions in this regard: to what extent the price of an extraordinary bilateral relationship has been a loss of Israel's independence, whether Israel could even survive today without the United States, where the relationship is heading and what is or should be doing about it.

  

The Academic Middle-Class Rebellion: Socio-Political Conflict over Wage-Gaps in Israel, 1954-1956

By: Avi Bareli and Uri Cohen
(Brill, 2018, ISBN 9789004357853, 288 pages)
This new research investigates socio-political and ethnic-cultural conflicts over wage gaps in Israel during the 1950s. The Academic Middle-Class Rebellion exposes the struggle of the Ashkenazi (European) professional elite to capitalize on its advantages during the first decade of Israeli statehood, by attempting to maximize wage gaps between themselves and the new Oriental Jewish proletariat. This struggle was met with great resistance from the government under the ruling party, Mapai, and its leader David Ben-Gurion. The clash between the two sides revealed diverse, contradictory visions of the optimal socio-economic foundation for establishing collective identity in the new nation-state. The study by Avi Bareli and Uri Cohen uncovers patterns that merged nationalism and socialism in 1950s Israel confronting a liberal and meritocratic vision.

 

In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea

By: Michael Brenner
(Princeton University Press, 2018, ISBN 9780691179285, 392 pages)
Many Zionists who advocated the creation of a Jewish state envisioned a nation like any other. Yet for Israel's founders, the state that emerged against all odds in 1948 was anything but ordinary. Born from the ashes of genocide and a long history of suffering, Israel was conceived to be unique, a model society and the heart of a prosperous new Middle East. It is this paradox, says historian Michael Brenner--the Jewish people's wish for a homeland both normal and exceptional—that shapes Israel's ongoing struggle to define itself and secure a place among nations. In Search of Israel is a major new history of this struggle from the late nineteenth century to our time. When Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in 1897, no single solution to the problem of "normalizing" the Jewish people emerged. Herzl proposed a secular-liberal "New Society" that would be home to Jews and non-Jews alike. East European Zionists advocated the renewal of the Hebrew language and the creation of a distinct Jewish culture. Socialists imagined a society of workers' collectives and farm settlements. The Orthodox dreamt of a society based on the laws of Jewish scripture. The stage was set for a clash of Zionist dreams and Israeli realities that continues today.
Seventy years after its founding, Israel has achieved much, but for a state widely viewed as either a paragon or a pariah, Brenner argues, the goal of becoming a state like any other remains elusive. If the Jews were the archetypal "other" in history, ironically, Israel—which so much wanted to avoid the stamp of otherness—has become the Jew among the nations.

 

The Mount, The Dome, and The Gaze: The Temple Mount in Israeli Visual Culture

By:  Noa Hazan (ed)
(Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University and Pardes publishers, 2017, ISBN 978-1-61838-386-0, 448 pages [English- Arabic-Hebrew]
The book examines the Temple Mount as a key visual icon in a variety of cultural arenas of Israeli life. By analyzing photographs, posters, postcards, architectural models, sketches and heritage sites, its essays exposes the centrality of Temple Mount in the Zionist discourse, not only of marginal religious messianic groups, but also of the Israeli mainstream, which defines itself as ostensibly secular. The articles are accompanied by a collection of both popular and rare images of the Temple Mount, found in institutional Israeli archives and in private collections. In addition, it includes contemporary photographs that engage with the historical collection and respond to it. This book is a cross between an academic volume, a memorial album and an exhibition catalog. It presents original and critical researches, but also strives to break out beyond the boundaries of academia by its accessible form and language. It aesthetics recall memorial albums, but it also seeks to undermine the authority of memory such albums pertain to possess. It is an exhibition catalog, but the exhibition itself is borderless and without a specific time frame, as it is still growing.

 

Between Exile and Exodus: Argentinian Jewish Immigration to Israel, 1948–1967

By: Sebastian Klor
(Wayne State University Press, 2017,  ISBN: 9780814343678, 256 pages)
Between Exile and Exodus: Argentinian Jewish Immigration to Israel, 1948–1967 examines the case of the 16,500 Argentine Jewish immigrants who arrived in Israel during the first two decades of its existence (1948–1967). Based on a thorough investigation of various archives in Argentina and Israel, author Sebastian Klor presents a sociohistoric analysis of that immigration with a comparative perspective. Although many studies have explored Jewish immigration to the State of Israel, few have dealt with the immigrants themselves. Between Exile and Exodus offers fascinating insights into this migration, its social and economic profiles, and the motivation for the relocation of many of these people. It contributes to different areas of study— Argentina and its Jews, Jewish immigration to Israel, and immigration in general. This book’s integration of a computerized database comprising the personal data of more than 10,000 Argentinian Jewish immigrants has allowed the author to uncover their stories in a direct, intimate manner. Because immigration is an individual experience, rather than a collective one, the author aims to address the individual’s perspective in order to fully comprehend the process. In the area of Argentinian Jewry it brings a new approach to the study of Zionism and the relations of the community with Israel, pointing out the importance of family as a basis for mutual interactions. Klor’s work clarifies the centrality of marginal groups in the case of Jewish immigration to Israel, and demystifies the idea that Aliya from Argentina was solely ideological. In the area of Israeli studies the book takes a critical view of the "catastrophic" concept as a cause for Jewish immigration to Israel, analyzing the gap between the decision-makers in Israel and in Argentina and the real circumstances of the individual immigrants. It also contributes to migration studies, showing how an atypical case, such as the Argentine Jewish immigrants to Israel, is shaped by similar patterns that characterize "classical" mass migrations, such as the impact of chain migrations and the immigration of marginal groups.

 

When The State Winks: The Performance Of Jewish Conversion in Israel

By: Michal Kravel-Tovi
(Columbia University Press: New York; Series: Religion, Culture, and Public Life, 2017, ISBN 978-0231183246, 320 Pages) 
 Religious conversion is often associated with ideals of religious sincerity. But in a society in which religious belonging is entangled with ethnonational citizenship and confers political privilege, a convert might well have multilayered motives. Over the last two decades, mass non-Jewish immigration to Israel, especially from the former Soviet Union, has sparked heated debates over the Jewish state’s conversion policy and intensified suspicion of converts’ sincerity. When the State Winks carefully traces the performance of state-endorsed Orthodox conversion to highlight the collaborative labor that goes into the making of the Israeli state and its Jewish citizens.
In a rich ethnographic narrative based on fieldwork in conversion schools, rabbinic courts, and ritual bathhouses, Michal Kravel-Tovi follows conversion candidates―mostly secular young women from a former Soviet background―and state conversion agents, mostly religious Zionists caught between the contradictory demands of their nationalist and religious commitments. She complicates the popular perception that conversion is a “wink-wink” relationship in which both sides agree to treat the converts’ pretenses of observance as real. Instead, she demonstrates how their interdependent performances blur any clear boundary between sincere and empty conversions. Alongside detailed ethnography, When the State Winks develops new ways to think about the complex connection between religious conversion and the nation-state. Kravel-Tovi emphasizes how state power and morality is managed through “winking”―the subtle exchanges and performances that animate everyday institutional encounters between state and citizen. In a country marked by tension between official religiosity and a predominantly secular Jewish population, winking permits the state to save its Jewish face

 

 The Jewish Origins of Israeli Foreign policy: A Study in Tradition and Survival

By: Shmuel Sandler
(London: Routledge, 2018, ISBN: 978-1-138-72049-7, 210 pages)
The conventional understanding of Israeli foreign policy has been that it is a relatively new phenomenon, with some claiming that the ‘Jewish People’ is an invention by mid-19th century Jewish historians, or simply an ‘imagined community’.
This book disputes these claims by demonstrating that the Jews have a tradition of foreign relations based on an historical political tradition that goes back thousands of years, and that this tradition has been carried over to the State of Israel. The Jewish political tradition in foreign policy has always been defensive-oriented, whether under sovereignty or in the Diaspora. In order to explore the question of whether it is possible to identify patterns of international behaviour in the foreign policy of the Jews, the book begins with the Bible and continues through the period of the First and Second Temples, then looks at the long generations when the Jewish people were stateless, continues with the birth of Zionism and accordingly examines the foreign policy of the sovereign Jewish state of Israel.  The underlying assumption is that an understanding of these characteristics derived from International relations theory will allow us to derive a better understanding of Israel’s foreign policy.

 

In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine

By: Gershon Baskin
(Vanderbilt University Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-0826521811, 304 pages)
Gershon Baskin's memoir of thirty-eight years of intensive pursuit of peace begins with a childhood on Long Island and a bar mitzvah trip to Israel with his family. Baskin joined Young Judaea back in the States, then later lived on a kibbutz in Israel, where he announced to his parents that he had decided to make aliya, emigrate to Israel. They persuaded him to return to study at NYU, after which he finally emigrated under the auspices of Interns for Peace. In Israel he spent a pivotal two years living with Arabs in the village of Kufr Qara. Despite the atmosphere of fear, Baskin found he could talk with both Jews and Palestinians, and that very few others were engaged in efforts at mutual understanding. At his initiative, the Ministry of Education and the office of right-wing prime minister Menachem Begin created the Institute for Education for Jewish-Arab Coexistence with Baskin himself as director. Eight years later he founded and codirected the only joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think-and-do tank in the world, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. For decades he continued to cross borders, often with a kaffiyeh (Arab headdress) on his dashboard to protect his car in Palestinian neighborhoods. Airport passport control became Kafkaesque as Israeli agents routinely identified him as a security threat. During the many cycles of peace negotiations, Baskin has served both as an outside agitator for peace and as an advisor on the inside of secret talks—for example, during the prime ministership of Yitzhak Rabin and during the initiative led by Secretary of State John Kerry. Baskin ends the book with his own proposal, which includes establishing a peace education program and cabinet-level Ministries of Peace in both countries, in order to foster a culture of peace.

 

The Left Wing’s Sorrow: Yossi Beilin and the decline of the Peace Camp

By: Avi Shilon
(Dvir Publishing house: Tel Aviv, 2017, ISBN 978-965-566-603-8, 508 Pages, in Hebrew)
Based on, inter alia, exclusive access to Yossi Belin’s private archive, where he meticulously kept almost any document (since he joined Shimon Peres as his spokesman after the 77’ upheaval until the 21th century) with respect to the peace process – from various angles: Israeli, Arab and American –Avi Shilon follows Beilin’s biography as the axis for a broader discussion about the decline of the liberal/peace camp in Israel in the last decades (Including some suggestion for amendments). Despite the fact that some of the revelations were censored by the state censor, the outcome is a book which brings some historical surprising revelations, alongside innovative analysis which fits to the current discussion about the Israeli left wing.    

 

Speedily in Our Days- The Temple Mount Activists and the National Religious Society in Israel

By: Sarina Chen
(The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism Press, Ben Gurion University, ISBN: 124600100011. 216 pages, in Hebrew)
Temple Mount is considered as the holiest place for the Jewish people. After the unification of Jerusalem in 1967 the majority of the national-religious community followed the traditional order and warning of the Chief  Rabbinate: Do not visit Temple Mount . Today – 50 years later, the Temple Mount is a key site for members of the National Religious group. Many of them visit the mount, after part of their Rabbis declared it a mitzvah to visit, or, to use their term, "to ascend" to the Temple Mount. How did it happen?   The book examines contemporary Jewish groups that have placed the Temple Mount and the establishment of the Third Temple on that site at the center of the vision of redemption they seek to realize and their way to the discourse of the main stream of the Nationalist-Religious Society in Israel. This study offers a new light over these groups. Based on comprehensive field work and an analysis of the texts and the visual material produced by these groups (which are first to be shown in this research), The book explores four central subjects around which their thoughts and acts revolve: ascent to the Temple Mount, memory; femininity and sacrifice.

 

Birthrate Politics in Zion: Judaism, Nationalism and Modernity under the British Mandate

By: Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman
(Indiana University Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-2530-2898-3, 256 pages)
Despite both national and traditional imperatives to have many children, the birthrate of the Jewish community in British Mandate Palestine (the Yishuv) declined steadily from 1920-1948, due to widespread abortions; an issue which became a matter of great public concern and struggle. During these years the Yishuv grappled with conflicting value systems and goals:  it aspired to establish a Jewish majority in Palestine, a goal which would be served by having large families, but on the other hand, it envisaged itself as a modern society in which small families were increasingly common. The Yishuv was caught in contradictions between political and social objectives, religion, culture, and individual needs. The book takes a deep and detailed look at these diverse and decisive issues, including births and abortions during this period, the discourse about birthrate, and practical attempts to implement policies to counter the low birthrate. Themes that emerge include the effect of the Holocaust, economics, ethnicity, efforts by public figures to increase birthrate, and the understanding that women in the society were viewed as entirely responsible for procreation. Providing a deep examination of the day-to-day lives of Jewish families in British Mandate Palestine, this book shows how political objectives are not only achieved by political agreements, public debates, and battlefields, but also by the activities of ordinary men, women.

 

“BUT ABU IBRAHIM, WE’RE FAMILY!”

By: Lee Perlman
(The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University, 2017, ISBN: 978-965-700-159-2, 199 pages)
“But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!” is a series of case studies describing collaborations between Jewish and Palestinian professional theater artists in Israel and the theater they create about their realities. It depicts the ways the artists navigate shifting power dynamics and relations between them, while working together to overcome external social and political forces which run counter to their work. It analyzes the socio-political and socio-cultural significance of four “joint productions,” collaborative professional theater productions by Jewish and Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel between 2000-2010. In these productions, Jewish Israelis and Palestinians share a stage and essentially wage the conflicts between them non-violently. These productions both represent and reflect the conflictual relations between these two national groups, by attempting to understand, present, often satirize and transform these conflicts on stage. These productions serve as a tentative model of shared citizenship in the work place - how Jewish Israelis and Palestinians can work together in professional settings, through ongoing negotiation towards equality within the present political situation.  The productions attempted and invariably succeeded in challenging inequality and disenfranchisement, amplifying the non-hegemonic voices of Palestinian citizens, that lie outside the norm of and are often excluded from social and political discourse in Israel’s Jewish polity. 

 

STATE EXPANSION AND CONFLICT: IN AND BETWEEN ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND LEBANON

By: Oren Barak
(Cambridge University Press, 2017, ISBN: 9781108415798, 271 pages)
Lebanon and Israel/Palestine are two political entities that expanded in 1920 and 1967 respectively, and became divided societies characterized by periods of stability and conflict. This book provides the first detailed comparison between the two states and also explores the effects of their expansion on their changing relations. It looks first at how both expanded states attempted to cope with their predicaments, focusing on the relationship between state, community and security, before moving on to analyze the de-stabilizing effects of expansion on Israeli-Lebanese relations. The book draws on previously unpublished official documents, memoirs, media resources and films produced in Lebanon and Israel/Palestine, in addition to existing works on the two states and the Middle East. Bridging the gap between comparative politics and international relations, it will interest students of Lebanon and Israel/Palestine, the Middle East, and conflict and peace. Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. State expansion and its effects; 3. From nation-states to divided societies: Lebanon and Israel/Palestine; 4. Lebanon: weak and legitimate; 5. Israel/Palestine: strong and illegitimate; 6. Lebanon and Israel/Palestine compared; 7. The deterioration of Israeli-Lebanese relations; 8. Two conflicts intertwined; 9. Conclusion

 

Synagogues and Jewish Nationalism in the Yishuv during the British Mandate

By: Reuven Gafni
(The Ben-Gurion Research Institute, The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2017, ISBN: 978-965-510-115-7, 409 pages, In Hebrew)
This book focuses on the fascinating encounter which took place in synagogues in Eretz-Israel during the British Mandate period, between traditional, national and cultural ingredients. During this period, in which a rich and diverse Hebrew-National culture was designed and developed by the local Jewish community, there were many who tried to also redesign the traditional character of the synagogue, in order to adjust it to the ideological, cultural and social frameworks which generated and were designed around it. This process, during which many synagogues across the country were transformed from traditional prayer-houses to institutions of national-religious character, took place with reference to the architectural and the interior design of the synagogue; several issues regarding it`s religious content and liturgy, such as the language, the pronunciation and the tone of the prayer; social frameworks and hierarchies which were created within it; And the economic infrastructure that allowed the establishment and operation of the synagogues, and which was often created in collaboration with key national institutions. This phenomenon is described in reference to events which took place in synagogues large and small, new and old, in towns and in agricultural settlements. However, a special focus is devoted to a number of large and representative synagogues in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, whose national design greatly influenced hundreds of other synagogues across Eretz-Israel. Also examined are the developments in synagogues whose population remained indifferent or even opposed to the nationalist movement, and in which the conduct was quite different from that which took place in the national synagogues. The Analysis of this phenomenon is a unique element in the understanding of the Eretz-Israeli synagogue in modern times, but also sheds light on unique cultural and national process which took place during the British Mandate, and that as yet have been unexplored.

 

Haifa: City of Steps      

By: Nili Scharf Gold           
(Brandeis University Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-1512601183, 280 pages)
In this new slim volume Nili Gold offers a remarkable homage to Haifa in its heyday as an international port and cultural center: from the 1920s and 30s, when Jews and Arabs lived together under British rule and public buildings were erected reflecting European, modernist, Jewish, and Arab architectural influences, through 1948 when most Arabs left, and into the 50s and 60s. Gold anchors her family history in 5 landmark clusters in the Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood and describes in exquisite detail Memorial Park,Talpiot Market, Alliance School, the Great Synagogue, Struck House, Ge’ula and their environs against the backdrop of Mount Carmel and Haifa Bay - and she devotes an entire chapter to the founding of the Technion, its history and architecture, and its extraordinary role in the development of Haifa. Illustrated with more than thirty-five photographs and six maps, Gold’s astute observations of the changing landscape of her childhood and youth highlight literary works that portray deeply held feelings for Haifa, by such canonical Israeli writers as A. B. Yehoshua, Sami Michael, and Dahlia Ravikovitch.  A.B Yehoshua noted: "Haifa symbolizes Israeli normalcy at its best, and this important book proves it convincingly.”

 

The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World

By: Cyrus Schayegh
(Harvard University Press, 2017, ISBN 9780674088337, 496 pages)
In The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World, Cyrus Schayegh presents an innovative socio-spatial history that traces how different geographic areas and networks molded the Middle East from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
Centering his study on an area roughly coextensive with modern Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel and Palestine, Schayegh examines the complex interplay of local and transregional forces in a diverse territory that first came under Ottoman rule in the 1500s. For centuries, the major cities of this region—Damascus, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and Beirut—exercised a degree of autonomy. But in the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire, responding to the rise of a Eurocentric world economy and European imperialism, attempted to exert greater administrative control. Cities remained powerful, but their ties to one another grew stronger as the region became more integrated. These developments did not cease with the Ottoman Empire’s collapse after World War I. Partitioned by the victorious British and French, this territory (known in Arabic as Bilād al-Shām) became an umbrella region from which new nation states would emerge—states whose very foundations were transnational and tied together multiple urban areas.
Building on the Middle Eastern case, Schayegh argues that the making of the modern world is best seen as the reciprocal transformation of cities, regions, states, and global networks.

 

Advocating for Israel Diplomats and Lobbyists from Truman to Nixon

By: Natan Aridan
(Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland, 2017, ISBN 9781498553773, 390 pages)
The book is a comprehensive academic book’s analysis of the unique triangular relationship between Israel’s diplomatic representatives, pro-Israel advocates, and US administrations that draws on a wealth of Hebrew and English primary documentation that includes; government archives, surveillance records, wiretappings, personal oral interviews, and diaries of key individuals. It demonstrates how a small new state succeeded in establishing a level of political, economic and military aid that has made for an alliance that is unique in the American experience. Revealed in considerable depth are the dilemmas facing Israeli and US leaders, and pro-Israel organizations and the extent to which individual Jewish leaders maneuvered as conduits between Israeli governments and US administrations, whose senior dramatis personae in turn attempted to influence, moderate, restrain, and change the course of policy decisions and actions. The book refutes insidious allegations that from Israel’s inception Jewish influence and a powerful Israel lobby hijacked US foreign policy to achieve unreserved military and financial support for Israel that undermined the best interests of the US. The book illustrates one of the poorly misunderstood aspects on the subject by demonstrating how Israeli governments were more astute and powerful than previous scholars have realized and that they were in fact pulling the strings far more than AIPAC and wealthy Jews. He also demonstrates that a contributing factor on the decision to aid Israel (understated in previous research) lay in Israel exploiting its ‘nuisance value.

 

The Settlers in the Hearts:" Redemption Now" and Israeli Society 

By:  Neima Barzel
(Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2017, 610 pages, In Hebrew)
The Settlers in the Hearts is a story of a place and a biography of an Israeli group and generation, examining and analyzing the perception and practices of the "Emunim" Community in its formative years. Two groups of young people, that of “The Seventh Day” (Sihach Lochamim)on the one hand and the "Emunim" Community on the other, mark post- the Six Day War, the figure of the new Jewish pioneer as part of the ‘revelation’ the war had uncovered. The comparative discussion in the book deals with, among others, the question of the truth in the "Emunim" Community’s claim that they are the authentic successors of the Labor Movement, its philosophy, rabbis and vision of redemption. It also asks why a theological-political alternative to the" Emunim" perception, finding believers and actors within the Labor Movement, did not develop. The time frame of the historical discussion stretches from the mid- 1960s till the mid-1980s, including the question of whether or not this point in time marks the point of no return of the political situation in the occupied territories. The book examines the construction and influence of the conceptualizations created by both ideologists and people of action of the "Emunim" Community regarding the basic conceptions of Zionism and Judaism. The analysis of the construction process of this conceptualization is accompanied by a description of the impressive generational drive of the young wearers of ‘crocheted skullcaps’ (belonging to the National Religious Party) who demanded their place at the front of the New Israeliness. The Settlers in the Hearts does not claim to be an objective essay. It includes excerpts from the author’s diary written while conducting research in the settlements’ archives. Her writing, integrating research and participatory testimony, reveals to the reader the meaning of a perception of comfort depending on exclusion of ‘the other’ and justification of the usurpation as obvious.

 

Kibbutz: Utopia and Politics / The Life and Times of Meir Yaari 1897–1987

By: Aviva Halamish
(Academic Studies Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-6181-1624-6 [hardcover], 496 pages)
Meir Yaari (1897-1987), one of the founding fathers of Israel, was the leader of the socialist-Zionist movement Hashomer Hatza’ir for over fifty years. The movement he led took an active part in shaping the history of the Jewish people in the crucial decades of the twentieth century: its Kibbutzim had a prominent role in matters of immigration (Aliyah), settlement, and defense in mandatory Palestine and then independent Israel, and its members were among the organizers of Jewish resistance and revolt during the Holocaust. In addition to being the story of Yaari and of his movement, this biography presents a wider narrative of the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It offers novel insights to pivotal issues and major dilemmas confronted by Zionism and Israel, such as the friction between Zionism and socialism; the attitude towards the Soviet Union; the Arab question; security vs. morality; the transformation from voluntary society to statehood; the pace and composition of Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine and later to Israel; and absorption of new immigrants. The book blends individual and collective perspectives and never loses sight of the tension between ideology and reality. 

 

Nationalizing Judaism: Zionism as a Theological Ideology

By: David Ohana
(Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4985-4360-6, 215 pages)
Nationalizing Judaism analyzes Zionism and the Israeli state as a theological ideology. The book pursues this provocative end by showing the dialectical tension between Judaism and Zionism. How has Zionism molded perceptions and images that were formed in the Jewish past, and to what extent were these Jewish themes reflected, modified, and crystallized in the national culture of the State of Israel?
Nationalizing Judaism covers constituent topics such as Messianism, Utopianism, territorialism, collective memory, and political myths along with the critics that threatened to undermine Zionist appropriations and constructs. In its attempt to acquire historical legitimation Zionism appropriated themes and myths from the Jewish past, yet these appropriations were differentiated as they had selectively culled elements that suited the national ethos. The book opens with Ben-Gurion’s messianic vision and comes full circle with his death in 1973.


A Land of Stones

By: David Ohana
(Tel Aviv, Israel: Hakibbuitz Hameuchad, 2017. In Hebrew, 262 pages)
A Land of Stones is a research surveying multiple case studies concerning the ‘place’ of the Israeli identity after 1967. The book is divided into three primary parts: Intellectuals on public matters, Israeli myths after the occupation and the land of Israel in the Israeli imagination after the occupation. The chapters in the book include an explicit account of the opinions of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Gershom Scholem (and three of his disciples), Jacob Talmon, Baruch Kurzweill and others on the changed face of Israel after the occupation of 1967. The research also explicates the Zionist rehabilitation of negative myths such as Bar-Kuhkba, Nimrod and Herod. The book was published in light of fifty years long occupation of the Palestinian territories in the Six Days war.


The Mythical Order of Modernity

By: David Ohana
(Jerusalem, Israel: Carmel, 2017. In Hebrew, 529 pages)
The Mythical Order of Modernity offers a new interpretation of the European and Zionist modernity, one that casts doubt on the primary narrative of modernity as rational, progressive and without prejudice. The book explores the construction of the Western and Zionist Mythology behind modernity using four categories: time, space, metaphor and shape. The book redirects the conception of modernity, from the rational conception of Max Weber to a new conception that exposes to its mythical dimensions: the anthropological, restorative, symbolic, national, utopian, the critical and the special. The study offers a radical attitude towards the new self-conciseness, and claims that modernity should be understood as a mythological construction which creates itself. What defines modernity, then, is not rationality or progress, but the possibility and self-awareness to construct a mythical order, and at the same time the ability to criticize it.

 

Al Da’at Ha’makom: Israeli Realms of Memory

By: Michael Feige
Editor: David Ohana
(Sede Boker, Israel: The Ben-Gurion Research Institute, The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2017. ISBN 978-965-510-116-4, In Hebrew, 573 pages)
Al Da’at Ha’makom is a testimony to the depth and length of research of the Israeli sociologist Michael Feige (1957-2017). Feige’s research surveys the Israeli identities: the changing ways of memory – the monument, commemoration, ritual, ceremony, and pilgrimage – through which the Israelis remember and commemorate themselves. Feige examines the attitude of the long duree of ‘Gush Emunim’ and the short time of ‘Peace Now’: the foundational myths which constitute the life and death of the Israelis; the dialectics of the real Israel and the imagined Israel. He looked for the cultural significance of secular spaces such as Dizengoff center, ‘Our tiny country’ and Azrieli Center; the sites of Trauma; Commemoration sites; and Citadels of normalcy.

 

Tax Law and Social Norms in Mandatory Palestine and Israel

By: Assaf Likhovski
(Cambridge University Press, 2017, ISBN: 9781107176294, 335 pages)
This book describes how a social-norms model of taxation rose and fell in British-ruled Palestine and the State of Israel in the mid-twentieth century. Such a model, in which non-legal means were used to foster compliance, appeared in the tax system created by the Jewish community in 1940s Palestine and was later adopted by the new Israeli state in the 1950s. It gradually disappeared in subsequent decades as law and its agents, lawyers and accountants, came to play a larger role in the process of taxation. By describing the historical interplay between formal and informal tools for creating compliance, Tax Law and Social Norms in Mandatory Palestine and Israel sheds new light on our understanding of the relationship between law and other methods of social control, and reveals the complex links between taxation and citizenship.

 

Israel under Siege: The Politics of Insecurity and the Rise of the Israeli Neo-Revisionist Right

By: Raffaella A. Del Sarto 
(Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 2017,  ISBN 978-1626164079, 296 pages)
‘Israel under Siege’ examines the emergence of Israel's neo-revisionist consensus about security threats and regional order, which took hold of Israeli politics and society after 2000 and persists today. The failed Oslo peace process and the trauma of the Second Palestinian Intifada triggered a shift to the right; conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah and the inflammatory rhetoric of Iranian President Ahmadinejad additionally contributed to the creation of a general sense of being under siege. While Israel faces real security threats, Israeli governments have engaged in the politics of insecurity, promoting and amplifying a sense of besiegement. Lively political debate has been replaced by a general acceptance of the no-compromise approach to security and the Palestinians. The neo-revisionist right, represented by Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud, has turned Israel away from the peace process and pushes maximalist territorial ambitions. But they have failed to offer a vision for an end to conflict, and there has been little debate about whether or not the hardline policies toward the region are counterproductive. Del Sarto explains this disappearance of dissent and examines the costs of Israel's policies. She concludes that Israel's feeling of being under siege has become entrenched, a two-state solution with the Palestinians is highly unlikely for the foreseeable future, and Israel's international isolation is likely to increase.

 

Is It O.K to Laugh about it? Holocaust Humour, Satire and Parody in Israeli Culture

By: Liat Steir-Livny
(Vallentine Mitchell publishers, 2017, ISBN: 978-1910383353, 207 pages)
For many years, Israeli culture recoiled from dealing with the Holocaust from a humorous perspective. The perception was that a humorous approach might threaten the sanctity of its memory, or evoke feelings of disrespect towards the subject and hurt Holocaust survivors' feelings. But, from the 1990s, a new unofficial path of commemoration has been taking shape. Texts that combine the Holocaust with humour, satire, and parody are a major aspect of it, but this remains controversial. Often, Holocaust humour is perceived as part of a dangerous process that normalizes Nazism and Hitler. In opposition to these ideas, the book claims that in Israel, a unique post-traumatic society where the trauma lives as an integral part of the present, Holocaust humour in Hebrew functions as an important defence mechanism. The book argues that Holocaust humour, satire, and parody rebel against the way this trauma affects Israeli society in the present by challenging and deconstructing the fear. Is It Ok to Laugh About It? shows that paradoxically, Holocaust humour also strengthens the dominance of the trauma in the present by inserting it even more into everyday life and popular culture. Thus, Holocaust humour, satire, and parody in Israel are a double-edged sword: on the one hand, they function as an attempt to fight the acting out of the trauma in Israeli society but, on the other, they strengthen certain elements of it.

 

The Russian-Jewish Tradition: Intellectuals, Historians, Revolutionaries

By: Brian Horowitz, introduction William Craft Brumfield
(Academic Studies Press, 2017, ISBN: 9781618115560, 2017, 282 pages)
In their diasporic cultural creations, Russia's Jews employed the general themes of artists under tsars and Soviets, but they modified these themes to fit their own needs. The result was a hybrid, Russian-Jewish culture, unique and dynamic. Few today consider that Jewish Eastern Europe, the "old world," was in fact a power incubator of modern Jewish consciousness. Brian Horowitz presents essays on Zionism, Jewish education, historiography, and literature. It contains two articles on Vladimir Jabotinsky, an article on Semyon Dubnov and Pre-state Palestine, and pieces on Semyon An-sky, Saul Borovoi, and the Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solov'ev.

 

Women of the Wall: Navigating Religion in Sacred Sites

By:  Yuval Jobani and Nahshon Perez
(Oxford University Press, 2017, ISBN: 9780190280444, 248 pages)
For more than twenty five years, the Women of the Wall have been waging a campaign to gain the Israeli government's permission to pray at the Western Wall. Despite widespread media coverage, this is the first comprehensive study of their struggle. Yuval Jobani and Nahshon Perez offer an in-depth analysis of the Women of the Wall's attempts to modify Jewish-orthodox mainstream religious practice from within and invest it with a new, egalitarian content. They present a comprehensive survey of the numerous legal rulings about the case and consider the broader political and social significance of the Women of the Wall's activism. In this way, Jobani and Perez are able to address broader issues of religion-state relations: How should governments manage religious plurality within their borders? How should governments respond to the requests of minorities that conflict with ostensibly mainstream interpretations of a given tradition? How should governments manage disputed sacred sites and spaces located in the public sphere? Women of the Wall: Navigating Religion in Sacred Sites offers a critical new look at theories of religion-state relations and a fresh examination of religious conflicts over sacred sites and public spaces.

 

Connecting with the Enemy: a Century of Palestinian-Israeli Joint Nonviolence

By: Sheila H. Katz
(Austin: University of Texas Press, Nov. 2016, ISBN: 978-1-4773-1062-5, 307 pages)
Thousands of ordinary people in Israel and Palestine have engaged in a dazzling array of daring and visionary joint nonviolent initiatives for more than a century. They have endured despite condemnation by their own societies, repetitive failures of diplomacy, harsh inequalities, and endemic cycles of violence.                    
Connecting with the Enemy presents the first comprehensive history of unprecedented grassroots efforts to forge nonviolent alternatives to the lethal collision of the two national movements. Bringing to light the work of over five hundred groups, Sheila H. Katz describes how Arabs and Jews, children and elders, artists and activists, educators and students, garage mechanics and physicists, and lawyers and prisoners have spoken truth to power, protected the environment, demonstrated peacefully, mourned together, stood in resistance and solidarity, and advocated for justice and security. She also critiques and assesses the significance of their work and explores why these good-will efforts have not yet managed to end the conflict or occupation. This previously untold story of Palestinian-Israeli joint nonviolence will challenge the mainstream narratives of terror and despair, monsters and heroes, that help to perpetuate the conflict. It will also inspire and encourage anyone grappling with social change, peace and war, oppression and inequality, and grassroots activism anywhere in the world.

 

Memory Activism: Reimagining the Past for the Future in Israel-Palestine

By: Yifat Gutman
(Vanderbilt University Press, 2017, ISBN 978-0-8265-2134-7, 200 pages)
Set in Israel in the first decade of the 21st century and based on long-term fieldwork, this book offers an innovative analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It explores practices of "memory activism" by three groups of Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Palestinian citizens—Zochrot, Autobiography of a City, and Baladna—showing how they appropriated the global model of truth and reconciliation while utilizing local cultural practices such as tours and testimonies. These activist efforts gave visibility to a silenced Palestinian history in order to come to terms with the conflict's origins and envision a new resolution for the future. This unique focus on memory as a weapon of the weak reveals a surprising shift in awareness of Palestinian suffering among the Jewish majority of Israeli society in a decade of escalating violence and polarization—albeit not without a backlash. Contested memories saturate this society. The 1948 war is remembered as both Independence Day by Israelis and al-Nakba ("the catastrophe") by Palestinians. The walking tour and survivor testimonies originally deployed by the state for national Zionist education that marginalized Palestinian citizens are now being appropriated by activists for tours of pre-state Palestinian villages and testimonies by refugees.

 

Ethnographic Museums in Israel

By: Noam Perry and Ruth Kark
(Israel Academic Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1885881489, 220 pages)
This monograph focuses on a new dimension of the Israeli museological landscape. Since the 1970s Jewish ethnic groups that were dissatisfied with the way large-scale museums had displayed (or ignored) their heritage, began to erect museums dedicated to their own culture. These include museums dedicated exclusively to the cultural heritage of the Jews of Germany, Hungary, India, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen, depicting the “glorious past” of these ethnic groups. In parallel, Arab (including Bedouin), Druze, and Circassian minorities of Israel and Palestinians began creating museums that challenge the narrative portrayed in the museums of Jewish settlement, and highlight their own cultural heritage. Taken as a whole, these museums and heritage centers, portray the ethnic diversity of Israeli society, and preserve this diverse cultural heritage for future generations.

 

NORMALIZING OCCUPATION: The Politics of Everyday Life in the West Bank Settlements

By: Marco Allegra, Ariel Handel, and Erez Maggor (eds.)
(Indiana University Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-253-02473-2, 244 pages)
Much controversy surrounds Israel's settlement project in the occupied West Bank, and the extremist national and religious agendas at play there have come to define these territories in the minds of most scholars and political commentators. This deeply entrenched framework, however, fails to account for the prevailing pattern of settlement development and the steady growth of the settler population.
In contrast to the common emphasis of religious ideology and messianic faith, this collection of essays considers an array of conventionally downplayed historical and structural factors that place the origins and everyday reality of the settlements into a wider perspective, recounting their proliferation as a process of ‘normalization’ – i.e. their ongoing incorporation into Israel’s social, economic and legal fabric.
The collected works consider the transformation of the landscape, the patterns of relationships between the region's residents, Palestinian and Jewish alike, and the lasting effects of Israel’s settlement policy. They stress, in particular, how factors such as urban and regional planning, rising inequality and the retreat of the welfare state within Israel proper, and the changing political economy of industry and employment in the region, have all played a crucial, yet underappreciated role in determining the ongoing expansion and resilience of Israel's settlement project. In doing so, the collection provides new insights into the integration and segregation processes that are an integral part of the broader historical trends shaping Israel/Palestine.

 

City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement

By: Sara Yael Hirschhorn
(Harvard University Press, 2017, ISBN 9780674975057, 368 pages)
 Since 1967, more than 60,000 Jewish-Americans have settled in the territories captured by the State of Israel during the Six Day War. Comprising 15 percent of the settler population today, these immi¬grants have established major communities, transformed domestic politics and international relations, and committed shocking acts of terrorism. They demand attention in both Israel and the United States, but little is known about who they are and why they chose to leave America to live at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this deeply researched, engaging work, Sara Yael Hirschhorn un¬settles stereotypes, showing that the 1960s generation who moved to the occupied territories were not messianic zealots or right-wing ex¬tremists but idealists engaged in liberal causes. They did not abandon their progressive heritage when they crossed the Green Line. Rather, they saw a historic opportunity to create new communities to serve as a beacon—a “city on a hilltop”—to Jews across the globe. This pio-neering vision was realized in their ventures at Yamit in the Sinai and Efrat and Tekoa in the West Bank. Later, the movement mobilized the rhetoric of civil rights to rebrand itself, especially in the wake of the 1994 Hebron massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein, one of their own. On the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 war, Hirschhorn illuminates the changing face of the settlements and the clash between liberal values and political realities at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

In the Shadow of Moses: New Jewish Movements in Africa and the Diaspora

By: Daniel Lis, William F.S. Miles, Tudor Parfitt (eds.)
(Tsehai Publishers, 2016 ISBN 978-1-59-907146-6, 275 pp.)
In the Shadow of Moses: New Jewish Movements in Africa and the Diaspora presents original research by an international group of twelve scholars who have been conducting fieldwork on historic and emerging Jewish communities in Africa as well as on the interaction of Jews and Africans (and their descendants) in precolonial Africa and modern day Israel. These “New Jewish Movements” are part of the “New Religious Movements” that has intrigued sociologists and historians of religion for some time; now, the book argues, the phenomenon contains a global Jewish component as well. Case studies include Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Ghana, Jamaica, Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda, and African immigrants in Israel.  Illustrated by original drawings by graphic novel artist Jérémie Dres, the volume will appeal to scholars and general readers in African as well as Jewish studies. 

 

The Promise of Integrated and Multicultural Bilingual Education: Inclusive Palestinian-Arab and Jewish Schools in Israel

By: Zvi Bekerman 
(Oxford University Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-0199336517, 368 Pages)
The Promise of Integrated and Multicultural Bilingual Education presents the results of a long-term ethnographic study of the integrated bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel that offer a new educational option to two groups of Israelis--Palestinians and Jews--who have been in conflict for the last one hundred years. Their goal is to create egalitarian bilingual multicultural environments to facilitate the growth of youth who can acknowledge and respect "others" while maintaining loyalty to their respective cultural traditions. In this book, Bekerman reveals the complex school practices implemented while negotiating identity and culture in contexts of enduring conflict. Data gathered from interviews with teachers, students, parents, and state officials are presented and analyzed to explore the potential and limitations of peace education given the cultural resources, ethnic-religious affiliations, political beliefs, and historical narratives of the various interactants. The book concludes with critique of Western positivist paradigmatic perspectives that currently guide peace education, maintaining that one of the primary weaknesses of current bilingual and multicultural approaches to peace education is their failure to account for the primacy of the political framework of the nation state and the psychologized educational perspectives that guide their educational work. Change, it is argued, will only occur after these perspectives are abandoned, which entails critically reviewing present understandings of the individual, of identity and culture, and of the learning process

 

Banking Regulation in Israel: Prudential Regulation versus Consumer Protection

By: Ruth Plato-Shinar
(Wolters Kluwer, 2016, ISBN: 978-90-411-6791-0,  328pp)
 In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, many governments are seeking ways to improve their banking regulation systems in the interests of both economic health and consumer protection. Among the globally competitive countries that withstood the crisis with no significant disruption, Israel stands out, suggesting that other countries might benefit from an in-depth analysis of its banking system. This is the first book in English to provide such an analysis, emphasizing the crucial balance between prudential regulation and conduct of business regulation, which in Israel are both regulated by the same agency, unlike the ‘Twin Peaks’ model that prevails in other market-based economies. With recommendations that are highly applicable to many countries, the book examines a broad range of issues that are of current concern to the banking community worldwide. Even though the book focuses on Israeli banking regulation, its detailed attention to the development of a suitable supervisory model is of immeasurable international value for regulators, lawyers, bankers, academics, and business people who are in any way connected to the banking world; particularly following the 2008 crisis and its devastating effects. It is sure to be of service as many jurisdictions continue to search for optimal tools designed to prevent another such crisis.

 

Neoliberalism as a State Project: Changing the Political Economy of Israel

By: Asa Maron and Michael Shalev (eds.)
(Oxford University Press, 2017, ISBN: 9780198793021, 256 pages)
This book explores the political and institutional dynamics of neoliberal restructuring in Israel. It puts forward a bold theoretical proposition: that the very creation of a neoliberal political economy may be largely a state project. Correspondingly, neoliberal restructuring and the institutionalization of permanent austerity are dependent on reconfigured power relations between state actors, manifested in a new institutional architecture of the state. This architecture, in turn, is the context in which efforts to change social and employment policies play themselves out.
The volume frames the coming of neoliberalism in Israel as a set of concrete and far-reaching changes in the power and modes of operation of the key players in the political economy – organized labor, big business, and the state. These changes undermined and neutralized veto players and enabled the ascendance of macroeconomic state agencies, which won greatly augmented authority and autonomy. The key agents of innovation were politicians and economists in state agencies, and their initiatives combined processes of both punctuated and incremental change. Within the overarching transformation of the state, the book explores case studies of specific social and labor market policies. These reveal a close elective affinity between programmatic neoliberal reforms and the proactive drive of the Ministry of Finance to enhance its control over public spending and policy design. The case studies also document instances in which neoliberal reforms were blocked, undermined, or overturned by opposition from inside or outside the state.

 

MOTHERING, EDUCATION AND CULTURE: RUSSIAN, PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH MIDDLE-CLASS MOTHERS IN ISRAELI SOCIETY

By: Deborah Golden, Lauren Erdreich, and Sveta Roberman
(Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017, 225 page)
This book is an ethnographically-informed interview study of the ways in which middle-class mothers from three Israeli social-cultural groups – immigrants from the
former Soviet Union, Palestinian Israelis and Jewish native-born Israelis – share and differ in their understandings of a ‘proper’ education for their children and of their role in ensuring this. The book highlights the importance of education in contemporary society, and argues that mothers' modes of engagement in their children's education are formed at the junction of class, culture and social positioning. It examines how cultural models such as intensive mothering, parental anxiety, individualism, and ‘concerted cultivation’ play out in the lives of these mothers and their children, shaping different ways of participating in the middle class. The book will be of interest to anthropologists and sociologists studying mothering, education, parenting, gender, class and culture, to readers curious about daily life in Israel, and to professionals working with families in a multicultural context.

 

Under The Shadow of the Rising Sun – Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era

By: Meron Medzini
(Academic Studies Press, Brighton, MA, 2016, ISBN 978-1-61811-522-5, 220 pp.)
Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun analyses the attitude of the government and people of Japan towards persecuted Jews in various historical contexts, including Japan in modern world history; Japan in Asia; the history of Jewish communities in Asia as well as their relations with Jewish communities elsewhere and the Zionist Movement; and Japan's attitude towards Zionism and the State of Israel. Israel-Japan relations were partly affected by Japan's attitude towards the 40,000 Jews who came under its control in the Japanese occupied countries in South and East Asia. Unlike their brethren in Europe, virtually all of them survived, partly due to the granting of visas to Japan by a Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune who is the only Japanese Righteous Gentile recognized as such by Yad Vashem.

 

'To Be a Healthy Nation':  Mass Immigration and Public Health in Israel 1948-1960 (in Hebrew)

By: Sachlav Stoler-Liss, Shifra Shvarts, Mordechai Shani
( Ben Gurion University Press 2016, SBN 978-965-536-190-2, 338 pp., Hebrew)
The book constitutes a breakthrough examination from a research perspective:  Its examination of the ways the State of Israel grappled with health absorption challenges during mass immigration following establishment of the state brings together statistics that reveal the scope of health operations. Its quantitative examination of morbidity and its treatment disclose how emerging challenges were often addressed in ways and methods developed ad hoc according to the needs of the immigrants. The research examines to what an extent health absorption was successful, while also addressing the shifting weight of various agencies that partook in this endeavor; the difficulties those engaged in the health had to grapple with throughout the first decade (1948-1958); the degree to which various political agents in the young Israeli state were involved and their influence on health policy; and discusses the ‘unavoidable’ clash between immigrants and the medical establishment over various aspects of public health. 
The book is based on archives in Israel and abroad, as well as input from newspapers of the period, books, personal diaries, and interviews with individuals who were part of health endeavors at the time - nurses, immigrants and other players who contributed to the study with their reminiscences and experiences.  

 

Transnational Identities - Women, Art, and Migration in Contemporary Israel

By; Tal Dekel
(Wayne State University Press, 2016, ISBN: 9780814342503, 172 Pages)
Translated originally from Hebrew, Transnational Identities: Women, Art, and Migration in Contemporary Israel offers a critical discussion of women immigrants in Israel through an analysis of works by artists who immigrated to the country beginning in the 1990s. Though numerous aspects of the issue of women migrants have received intense academic scrutiny, no scholarly books to date have addressed the gender facets of the experiences of contemporary women immigrants in Israel. The book follows an up-to-date theoretical model, adopting critical tools from a wide range of fields and weaving them together through an in-depth qualitative study that includes the use of open interviews, critical theories, and analysis of artworks, offering a unique and compelling perspective from which to discuss this complex subject of citizenship and cultural belonging in an ethno-national state. It therefore stands to make a significant contribution to research into women's lives, citizenship studies, global migration, Jewish and national identity and women's art in contemporary Israel. The book is divided into sections, each of which aims a spotlight on women artists belonging to a distinct groups of immigrants—the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and the Philippines—and shows how their artwork reflects various conflicts regarding citizenship and identity-related processes, dynamics of inclusion-exclusion, and power relations that characterize their experiences. Transnational Identities integrates theories from various disciplines, including art history, citizenship studies and critical political theory, gender studies, cultural studies, and migration studies in an interdisciplinary manner that those teaching and studying in these fields will find relevant to their continued research.

 

Handbook of Israel: Major Debates

By: Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Julius H. Schoeps, Yitzhak Sternberg, Olaf Glöckner (eds.)
De Gruyter Oldenbourg ,2016, SBN 978-3-11-035164, 2 volumes, 1,330 pages)
The Handbook of Israel: Major Debates serves as an academic compendium for people interested in major discussions and controversies over Israel. It provides innovative, updated and informative knowledge on a range of acute debates. Among other topics, the handbook discusses post-Zionism, militarism, democracy and religion, (in)equality, colonialism, today’s criticism of Israel, Israel-Diaspora relations,and peace programs. Outstanding scholars face each other with unadulterated, divergent analyses. These historical, political and sociological texts from Israel and elsewhere make up a major reference book within academia and outside academia. About seventy contributions grouped in thirteen thematic sections present controversial and provocative approaches reflecting, from different angles, on the present-day challenges of the State of Israel. 

 

Search for the Image of Forefather in Dreams: Among Former Bedouin Now Living in Town

By:  Gideon M. Kressel
(IUniverse, 2016, ISBN: 978-1491788288, 176 Pages)
On evaluating dreams as the most important source of information concerning the unconscious, we are to bear in mind the contemporary cultural conscience that effect both the capacity of dreams and their interpretation. Dreams reflect memorized occurrences that have an impact on people's psyche. Although human minds are shaped alike and dreams may occur, confronting them with a self-same manner, the analysis of dreaming materials and the sense given to dreams are culturally varied. It is the cultural accent tested at a Middle Eastern society that promotes the appearance of elderly men while conceals speaking on the presence of women (mothers or others) in dreams. Assimilation of the fundamental insight causing psychic life is founded on two poles, maternal and paternal. It is the accent of cultural life that differentiates estimation of the image of each parent when appearing in dreams; whether the first or the second is left largely "unobserved", the other obliges a perceiving attention. Primordial images of The Great Mother find an outward expression in the ritual, mythology and art of early man. Revealing in track of The Golden Bough of J. G. Frazer, present-day accounts of dreams evince its relevance in tackling with modern man's dreams. We call attention to selective concerns with Great Fathers appearing in dreams, a pattern born in mind following the ancient ‘matriarchal era', that causes an avoidance of talk of dreams engaging the visit of mothers in dreamers' minds.

 

The Jarring Road to Democratic Inclusion: A Comparative Assessment of State–Society Engagements in Israel and Turkey

BY: Aviad Rubin Yusuf Sarfati (eds.) 
((Lexington Books, 2016, ISBN 978-1498525077, 264 Pages) )
This edited volume brings together chapters that offer theoretically pertinent comparisons between various dimensions of Israeli and Turkish politics. Each chapter covers a different aspect of state–society interactions in both countries from a comparative perspective, including the public role of religion, political culture, women rights movements, religious education, religious movements, marriage regulation, labor market inclusion, and ethnic minorities. Israel and Turkey share significant similarities, such as state formation under nationalist ideologies, familiarity with democratic governance since the 1940s, strong affiliation with the West, recent resurgence of religious parties, ongoing conflict with ethno-national minority groups that challenge the dominant national project, contemporary popular protests against the incumbent regime, and recent serious erosion of democratic rights. At the same time they differ on major variables, such as size, majority religion, geopolitical location, level of economic development, policy towards ethnic minorities, and institutional arrangements to managing the state–religion relations. The presence of these differences in face of common backgrounds facilitates analytically grounded comparisons in a host of dimensions. Therefore, employing a case-oriented comparative method, this book provides historically interpretative and causally analytic accounts on the politics of both societies. The contributions reveal the dynamic and complex—rather than one-dimensional and linear—nature of political processes in both settings. This empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated volume should contribute to a better understanding of these two important states, and, no less important, stimulate new directions for comparative research, especially on Middle East regimes, social movements, and democratization.

 

IF ONLY HE HAD DIED IN THE WAR: THE IMPACT OF SUICIDE ON SURVIVNG FAMILY MEMBER (In Hebrew)

By: Shirley Avrami
(Ofir Publication, 2016, ISBN: 2016, 978-1-5396-5366-0, 180 pages)
Many researchers, writers and poets have described, defined and tried to explain the suicide phenomenon. Yet, even in the 21st century, it is still a mystery, shrouded in secret, stigma and shame. These characteristics are transmitted, after the suicide, to the surviving family members. What happens to them? What is the impact of the suicide of their relative, on them?
Through interviews with parents, children, spouses and siblings of people who have committed suicide, this book explores the long lasting and heavy burden the survivors themselves are being left with. Revealing herself as part of the survivors' community, it manages to capture their shared feelings of guilt and anger, fears and anxieties. The bottom line of the book is surprisingly optimistic, finding the power in sharing, talking about the unspoken and showing ways of growth out of the sadness and grief: finding a meaning in the meaningless.

 

Oriental Neighbors: Middle Eastern Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine

By: Abigail Jacobson and Moshe Naor
(Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, ISBN: 2016, 978-1-5126-0006-3, 288 pages) 
Focusing on Oriental Jews and their relations with their Arab neighbors in Mandatory Palestine, this book analyzes the meaning of the hybrid Arab-Jewish identity that existed among Oriental Jews, and discusses their unique role as political, social, and cultural mediators between Jews and Arabs. Integrating Mandatory Palestine and its inhabitants into the contemporary Semitic-Levantine surroundings, Oriental Neighbors illuminates broad areas of cooperation and coexistence, which coincided with conflict and friction, between Oriental and Sephardi Jews and their Arab neighbors. The book brings the Oriental Jewish community to the fore, examines its role in the Zionist nation-building process, and studies its diverse and complex links with the Arab community in Palestine.

 

Civic Aesthetics: Militarism, Israeli Art and Visual Culture

By: Noa Roei
(Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, ISBN 978-1474253154, 240 Pages)
Exploring the politics of the image in the context of Israeli militarized visual culture, Civic Aesthetics examines both the omnipresence of militarism in Israeli culture and society and the way in which this omnipresence is articulated, enhanced, and contested within local contemporary visual art. Looking at a range of contemporary artworks through the lens of “civilian militarism”, Roei employs the theory of various fields, including memory studies, gender studies, landscape theory, and aesthetics, to explore the potential of visual art to communicate military excesses to its viewers.
This study builds on the specific sociological concerns of the chosen cases to discuss the complexities of visuality, the visible and non-visible, arguing for art's capacity to expose the scopic regimes that construct their visibility. Images and artworks are often read either out of context, on purely aesthetic or art-historical ground, or as cultural artefacts whose aesthetics play a minor role in their significance. This book breaks with both traditions as it approaches all art, both high and popular art, as part of the surrounding visual culture in which it is created and presented. This approach allows a new theory of the image to come forth, where the relation between the political and the aesthetic is one of exchange, rather than exclusion.
 

Contemporary Alternative Spiritualities in Israel

By: Shai Feraro and James R. Lewis(Eds.)
(Palgrave Macmillan US, ISBN: 978-1-137-54741-5, 249 pages)
This volume is the first English-language anthology to engage with the fascinating phenomena of recent surges in New Age and alternative spiritualties in Israel. Contributors investigate how these New Age religions and other spiritualties—produced in Western countries within predominantly Protestant or secular cultures–transform and adapt themselves in Israel. The volume focuses on a variety of groups and movements, such as Theosophy and Anthroposophy, Neopaganism, Channeling, Women’s Yoga, the New Age festival scene, and even Pentecostal churches among African labor migrants living in Tel Aviv. Chapters also explore more Jewish-oriented practices such as Neo-Kabballah, Neo-Hassidism, and alternative marriage ceremonies, as well as the use of spiritual care providers in Israeli hospitals. In addition, contributors take a close look at the state’s reaction to the recent activities and growth of new religious movements.  

 

Israel's Governability Crisis:  Quandaries, Unstructured Institutions, and Adaptation

By: Maoz Rosenthal
(Lexington Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-4985-1341-8, 162 pages)
This book examines the governability crisis faced by Israeli governmental institutions. For a long period of time, observers of Israel’s government have reported the same phenomena: instability in most political positions not allowing for proper policy design, enhanced control of the bureaucracy over the policy making process, and complete uncertainty regarding the implementation of policies by the bureaucracy. However, while one expects that with such a toxic combination of all the wrong policy making components Israel would collapse, Israel has been able to achieve quite impressive landmarks in its overall performance. During the first decade of the 21st century, Israel became an OECD member and enjoyed high growth when the world was facing stagnation and economic collapse. Israel’s government, which regularly faces quandaries in a variety of policy fields, is able to initiate large scale policies when needed. Yet, this same government refrains from initiating large-scale reforms in institutional structures. Hence, for analysts of political institutions, the Israeli state of affairs is one of choice: while initiating changes to reform and overhaul the Israeli institutional system is possible it is also perilous. To cope with that duality Israeli political leadership on all sides has developed a variety of mechanisms that allow it to provide the policy output needed so as to maintain the status-quo. This book examines these mechanisms as they exist in different facets of government work and explains their output and persistence. Examples include coalitional making and breaking, the ways in which ruling coalitions maneuver in parliament, and policy design and implementation. The book also explores the problem that exists in Israel’s governability: the lack of a strategic high-order far sighted decision making. Finally, it offers a method of electoral reform that can address both of these systemic maladies.

 

Zionism without Zion: The Jewish Territorial Organization and Its Conflict with the Zionist Organization

By: Gur Alroey
(Wayne State University Press,  2016, ISBN-13: 978-0814342060 , 372 pages)
While the ideologies of Territorialism and Zionism originated at the same time, the Territorialists foresaw a dire fate for Eastern European Jews, arguing that they could not wait for the Zionist Organization to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. This pessimistic worldview led Territorialists to favor a solution for the Jewish state "here and now"-and not only in the Land of Israel. In Zionism without Zion: The Jewish Territorial Organization and Its Conflict with the Zionist Organization, author Gur Alroey examines this group's unique perspective, its struggle with the Zionist movement, its Zionist rivals' response, and its diplomatic efforts to obtain a territory for the Jewish people in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Alroey begins by examining the British government's Uganda Plan and the ensuing crisis it caused in the Zionist movement and Jewish society. He details the founding of the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) in 1903 and explains the varied reactions that the Territorialist ideology received from Zionists and settlers in Palestine. Alroey also details the diplomatic efforts of Territorialists during their desperate search for a suitable territory, which ultimately never bore fruit. Finally, he attempts to understand the reasons for the ITO's dissolution after the Balfour Declaration, explores the revival of Territorialism with the New Territorialists in the 1930s and 1940s, and describes the similarities and differences between the movement then and its earlier version.
Zionism without Zion sheds new light on the solutions Territorialism proposed to alleviate the hardship of Eastern European Jews at the start of the twentieth century and offers fresh insights into the challenges faced by Zionism in the same era. The thorough discussion of this under-studied ideology will be of considerable interested to scholars of Eastern European history, Jewish history, and Israel studies.

 

WRITING PALESTINE, 1933-1950: DOROTHY KAHN BAR-ADON

By: Esther Carmel-Hakim & Nancy Rosenfeld (eds.)
(Academic Studies Press, August 2016,  ISBN: 9781618114952, ) 290 pp. Price: $79.00 USD)
From her immigration to Mandatory Palestine in 1933 until her death in 1950 American-born Dorothy Kahn Bar-Adon worked as a reporter for The Palestine Post (later The Jerusalem Post), while freelancing for periodicals in Palestine and abroad. Bar-Adon covered life in towns, kibbutzim and Arab communities of Mandatory Palestine during this period of World War, armed conflict between Arabs and Jews, immigration to Israel of Holocaust survivors. Close to 60 years after her death, this edited collection of Bar-Adon’s writing offers a vivid view both of daily life in the Jewish and Arab communities of pre-State Israel, and of the burning issues of the day.

 

Directed by God, Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television

By: Yaron Peleg
(University of Texas Press, 2016, ISBN: 1477309519, 200 pages)
As part of its effort to forge a new secular Jewish nation, the nascent Israeli state tried to limit Jewish religiosity. However, with the steady growth of the ultraorthodox community and the expansion of the settler community, Israeli society is becoming increasingly religious. Although the arrival of religious discourse in Israeli politics has long been noticed, its cultural development has rarely been addressed. Directed by God explores how the country’s popular media, principally film and television, reflect this transformation. In doing so, it examines the changing nature of Zionism and the place of Judaism within it.

 

Path of the Past- Chapters in the History of the Jewish National Fund and Jewish Settlement of the Lower Galilee (in Hebrew)

By: Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky (ed)
(Bar Ilan University Press 2016, ISBN 110-20232, 207 pages)
The aim of this collection of articles is to give a voice to new research on both subjects: firstly the JNF and its influence on the geographical and the cultural dimensions; secondly, the historical geography of the Lower Galilee from the end of the 19th century to the mid-20th century. This collection is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the JNF and its influence on the consolidation of Jewish nationalism in the land of Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora and also on settlement in the land of Israel in practice, with emphasis on the Lower Galilee; the second part deals with a different practical aspect of the Jewish national consolidation in the land of Israel – settlement in the Lower Galilee. Concern with land and Zionist settlement and examination of their cultural aspect is a central theme of this book.

 

The Mythology and the Symbols of the Herut Movement 1948-1965 (in Hebrew) 

By: Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky
(The Ben-Gurion Research Institute Ben Gurion University of the Negev press, Bialik Institute  2015, ISBN 9789655100990, 300 pages)
 The book "The Vindicated and the Persecuted"- put the spotlight on the symbolic capital (Pierre Bourdieu) of the Herut Movement; its myths symbols and narratives. The book examined the Herut rituals and symbols and its influence on the institutionalization of the movement, its leader and the Herut political culture, 1948 -1965. The first part of the book examined the Herut Movement rituals; the second part dealt with its symbols. The third part focused on the myth of Zeev Jabotinsky.  Jabotinsky considered as the founding father of the Heruth Movement even though he pass away on 1940 and the Herut was founded on 1948. This part explored the changing attitude toward Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the influence of this changing on the Herut Movement.

 

European Military Culture and Security Governance: Soldiers, Scholars and National Defence Universities

By: Tamir Libel
(Routledge, 2016, £90, 228pp, ISBN-13: 978-0415732659)
Based on an analysis of military education institutions in the UK, Germany, Finland, Romania and the Baltic States, this book demonstrates that the convergence of European military cultures since the end of the Cold War is linked to changes in military education. The process of convergence originates, at least in part, from the full or partial adoption of a new concept by post-commissioning professional military education institutions: the National Defence University. Officers are now educated alongside civilians and public servants, wherein they enjoy a socialization experience that is markedly different from that of previous generations of European officers, and is increasingly similar across national borders. In addition, this book argues that with the control over the curricula and graduation criteria increasingly set by civilian higher education authorities, the European armed forces, while continuing to exist, and hold significant (although declining) capabilities, stand to lose their status as a profession in the traditional sense.

 

The Nihilist Order: The Intellectual Origins of Totalitarianism

By: David Ohana
(Sussex Academic Press, 2016, 49.99$, 660pp, ISBN-13: 978-1845197957)
Until now, nihilism and totalitarianism were considered opposites: one an orderless state of affairs, the other a strict regimented order. On closer scrutiny, however, a surprising affinity can be found between these two concepts that dominated the history of the first half of the twentieth century. Starting with Nietzsche’s philosophy, this book traces the development of an intellectual school characterized by the paradoxical dual purpose of a wish to destroy, coupled with a strong desire to create imposing structures. This explosive combination of nihilist leanings together with a craving for totalitarianism was an ideal of philosophers, cultural critics, political theorists, engineers, architects and aesthetes long before it materialized in flesh and blood, not only in technology, but also in fascism, Nazism, bolshevism and radical European political movements.

 

Zarathustra in Jerusalem: Friedrich Nietzsche and Jewish Modernity (In Hebrew)

By: David Ohana
(Mosad Bialik, 2016, 96 ILS, 424pp, ISBN 978-965-536-197-1)
Zarathustra in Jerusalem: Friedrich Nietzsche and Jewish Modernity is the third part of the trilogy The ways of Modernity. The Trilogy appeared in its full in 2016, and the first two parts of it were republished: The Nihilist Order: The Birth of Political Culture in Europe 1870-1930 and The Promethean Passion: The Intellectual Origins of the 20's Century from Rousseau to Foucault.  The Nietzschean revolution which engulfed the intellectual, cultural and political life of Europe began in the year in which its initiator died, the year in which the twentieth century was born. That century was in many ways an echo-chamber of some of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical ideas which were elaborated, internalised, distorted and transfigured in a thousand ways. The reverberations of Nietzsche's “philosophical hammer” did not pass over the culture of the Hebrew revival and the new Jewish thinking. The fascinating and complex interrelationship between Nietzsche and Jewish modernity can be examined from three points of view: that of his attitude to historical Judaism as a religion and as a cultural phenomenon; that of the place of Judaism in his thought as a whole and with regard to his genealogy of Western culture; and that of the attraction to the philosopher, both during his lifetime and after his death, of Jewish thinkers and cultural critics from Georg Brandes to Walter Kauffman. They discovered him, translated his works and disseminated his reputation as one of the thinkers of modernity and at the same time a sharp critic of its objectives. 3 This study will deal with the third aspect - the relationship to Nietzsche of modern Jewish thought – and will focus on Jewish modernity through six Jewish thinkers influenced by Nietzsche: Hillel Zeitlin, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Baruch Kurzweil and Israel Eldad.

 

Mission and Testimony: Political Essays

By: Jacob L. Talmon, Ed. David Ohana
(Sussex Academic Press, 2015, 400pp, ISBN 10: 1845197410, 34.95$)
Jacob L.Talmon was chosen by an international committee of scholars as one of the twenty major historians of the twentieth century, declaring that “his historiography was a convincing apologia for human freedom.” He owes his fame primarily to his magnum opus, the trilogy that began with The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, continued with Political Messianism and concluded with The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution. This edited collection by David Ohana, of Talmon’s essays comprises the following: Part I, “The Nature of Jewish history”, deals with the Jewish presence in history, the universal significance of Jewish history, and the impact of Jewish intellectuals. Part II, “From Anti-Semitism to the Holocaust”, concerns the anti-Semitic climate of opinion that led to the Holocaust. Part III depicts the regional and global situation of the State of Israel. In Part IV, “Intellectual and Political Debates”, Talmon confronts intellectuals and statesmen such as Arnold Toynbee and Menachem Begin. Part V, “Profiles in History”, depicts the intellectual portraits of the historian Lewis Namier and the physicist and champion of human rights Andrei Sakharov.

 

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East

By:  Azriel Bermant
(Cambridge University Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-1107151949, 274 pages)
Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East examines Thatcher’s policy on the Middle East, with a spotlight on her approach towards the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It questions claims that she sought to counter the Foreign Office Middle East policy, and maintains that the prime minister was actually in close agreement with the Whitehall bureaucracy on the Arab–Israeli conflict. In particular, the volume argues that Thatcher’s concerns over Soviet ambitions in the Middle East encouraged her to oppose the policies of Israel’s Likud governments, and to work actively for an urgent resolution of the conflict. Furthermore, while Thatcher was strongly pro-American, this was not translated into automatic support for Israel. Indeed, the Thatcher government was very much at odds with the Reagan administration over the Middle East, as a result of Washington’s neglect of the forces of moderation in the region.

 

Yellow World : The Birth of Hebrew Popular Press in Palestine : From Hazevi to Haor 1884-1914 (in Hebrew)

By : Ouzi Elyada
(Tel-Aviv University, The Shalom Rosenfeld for Research of Jewish Media and Communication, 2015, ISBN : 978-965-92374-0-1, 278 Pages)
The Book trace the birth and evolution of popular Hebrew journalism in Palestine at the end of the Ottoman regime. This journalistic genre was introduced to the local reader in 1884 by Eliezer Ben- Yehuda as a part of his campaign for the revival of the Hebrew language. Ben-Yehuda considered the popular newspaper as an instrument for the distribution and the insemination of the Hebrew language as a vivid spoken language, but also as an instrument for the formation of a National, Secular, Modern-Eurocentric identity.  Influenced by the French model of journalism, Ben-Yehuda newspaper was full of life and fire. It was d a sensational newspaper with stories covering horrible crimes, and natural catastrophes, International wars and world conquests adventures, gossips, but also violent campaigns against local opponents from the orthodox Jews of the old Yeshuv to the socialites of the second Aliya.  The book follow the evolution of Ben-Yehuda’s newspaper Hazevi from weekly to daily (in 1908), its relations with other popular newspapers (Hacheuth created in 1909) which imitated him,  and it’s influence on local public opinion and its contribution to the formation of new secular identity.

 

Girls of Liberty: The Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine

By: Margalit Shilo
(Brandeis University Press, 2016, ISBN 9781611689259, 232 pages)

Following the Balfour Declaration and the British conquest of Palestine (1917–1918), the small Jewish community that lived there wanted to establish an elected assembly as its representative body. The issue that hindered this aim was whether women would be part of it. A group of feminist Zionist women from all over the country created a political party that participated in the elections, even before women’s suffrage was enacted. This unique phenomenon in Mandatory Palestine resulted in the declaration of women’s equal rights in all aspects of life by the newly founded Assembly of Representatives.

Margalit Shilo examines the story of these activists to elaborate on a wide range of issues, including the Zionist roots of feminism and nationalism; the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector’s negation of women’s equality; how traditional Jewish concepts of women fashioned rabbinical attitudes on the question of women’s suffrage; and how the fight for women’s suffrage spread throughout the country. Using current gender theories, Shilo compares the Zionist suffrage struggle to contemporaneous struggles across the globe, and connects this nearly forgotten episode, absent from Israeli historiography, with the present situation of Israeli women.

This rich analysis of women’s right to vote within this specific setting will appeal to scholars and students of Israel studies, and to feminist and social historians interested in how contexts change the ways in which activism is perceived and occurs.

 

Let’s Celebrate! Festivals and Civic Culture in Israel (in Hebrew)

By: Hizky Shoham
(Jerusalem: the Israel Democracy Institution, 2014, ISBN 978-965-519-146-2, 246 pages)
Israeli culture is the product of multiple civilizational influences: Jewish, Sabra, Western, and Arab. The book employs the historical anthropology of three Jewish holidays as celebrated in Israel to track the assimilation of Jewish rituals, myths, and symbols by Israeli culture ,from the early days of Zionism until the present, and to demonstrate how the Israeli grassroots produced a new strand of Judaism. The book further argues that this popular culture may come to define Jewish identity in twenty-first-century Israel. It differs from earlier studies and essays on the Jewishness of Israeli culture in that it probes the political implications of the minutiae of daily life. Let’s Celebrate! suggests a multicontextual and nuanced approach to Israeli culture, one that stands in contrast to the dominant scholarly trend. The latter has all too often advanced the simplistic claim that Zionism rebelled against Jewish tradition, thereby overemphasizing the opposition between Israeli culture and Jewish culture (which is frequently misidentified with Orthodoxy). The author builds on the book’s descriptive core to look closely at the role of grassroots Israeli culture in the formation of civic culture and the civic domain in Israel. The book discusses the possible ramifications of viewing this culture as a major component of Jewish and Israeli identity. Could this perspective support a political alternative for the definition of Jewish identity, which is currently held to be exclusively determined by Jewish ancestry? More specifically, could Israeli grassroots culture constitute a new symbolic space shared by Jews and non-Jews (Arabs or labor migrants), as in other local-national cultures in the modern era? The book offers a fresh point of view, no doubt somewhat polemical, of the current debates about identity and citizenship in Israel.
 

 

Thank You for Dying for Our Country: Commemorative Texts and Performances in Jerusalem

By: Chaim Noy
(Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015, ISBN: 9780199398980, 304 pages)
Description Combining ethnographic, semiotic, and performative approaches, this book examines texts and accompanying acts of writing of national commemoration. The commemorative visitor book is viewed as a mobilized stage, a communication medium, where visitors' public performances are presented, and where acts of participation are authored and composed. The study contextualizes the visitor book within the material and ideological environment where it is positioned and where it functions. The semiotics of commemoration are mirrored in the visitor book, which functions as a participatory platform that becomes an extension of the commemorative spaces in the museum. The study addresses tourists' and visitors' texts, i.e. the commemorative entries in the book, which are succinct dialogical utterances. Through these public performances, individuals and groups of visitors align and affiliate with a larger imagined national community. Reading the entries allows a unique perspective on communication practices and processes, and vividly illustrates such concepts as genre, voice, addressivity, indexicality, and the very acts of writing and reading. The book's many entries tell stories of affirming, but also resisting the narrative tenets of Zionist national identity, and they illustrate the politics of gender and ethnicity in Israel society

 

A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights, and National Identity in the New Israeli State

By: Orit Rozin
(Brandeis University Press, University Press of New England 2016 ISBN: 978-1611689501, 224 pages) 
The book focuses on the construction and negotiation of citizenship in Israel during the state’s first decade. Positioning itself both within and against much of the critical literature on the period, this work reveals the dire historical circumstances and the ideological and bureaucratic pressures, that limited the freedoms of Israeli citizens. At the same time it shows the capacity of the bureaucracy for flexibility and of the populace for protest against measures it found unjust and humiliating.
Rozin sets her work within a solid analytical framework, drawing on a variety of historical sources portraying the voices, thoughts, and feelings of Israelis, as well as theoretical literature on the nature of modern citizenship and the relation between citizenship and nationality. She takes on both negative and positive freedoms (freedom from and freedom to) in her analysis of three discrete yet overlapping issues: the right to
childhood (and freedom from coerced marriage at a tender age); the right to travel abroad (freedom of movement being a pillar of a liberal society); and the right to speak out—not only to protest without fear of reprisal, but to speak in the expectation of being heeded and recognized.

 

Jews and Arabs Encountering their Identities: Transformations in Dialogue

By: Maya Kahanoff
(Lexington Books, Co published by Van Leer Institute Press 2016, ISBN: 9781498504973, 280 pages)
Controlled and intentional intergroup encounters have been a feature of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel for more than four decades. They have a long and well-documented track record and an almost equally-long literature critical of their goals, intentions, and success. The book describes the multidimensional process of intergroup dialogue between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, revealing the profound inner turmoil it creates beneath the surface and its powerful potential to transform mutually negating relations. Kahanoff takes us beyond the usual level of the intergroup encounter to examine the dynamics that take place between and within each group and then, most boldly, within the consciousness of individual participants. She argues for the unsettling and dangerous nature of dialogue as crafting a space where individuals encounter not only the image or narrative of the other but also the image or narrative of the self. The author argues that dialogue contains the potential to destabilize a person's sense of identity and that the seeming failure of overt dialogue may signal the beginning of a process of inner dialogue and transformation.  By uncovering the reality of the wide spectrum of feelings associated with multiple identities in each Arab and Jewish dialoguer, Kahanoff manages to break away from the simplistic and classic dichotomies of victim/oppressor; weak/strong; bad/good; moral/immoral. This book offers powerful insights in the professional and personal development of a peacemaker who dares to question the emotions associated with the power dynamics of Arab-Jewish encounters. In addition, it offers useful analytical frameworks to make sense of the complexity of meeting and handling the ‘other’ inside each of us. The insights in this book will contribute to understanding the psychological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and be useful in breaking impasses in other conflict situations.

 

Ben-Gurion: His Later Years in the Political Wilderness

By: Avi Shilon
(Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016, 284 Pages, ISBN-13: 9781442249462 )
This is the first in-depth account of the later years of David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973), Israel’s first Prime Minister and founding father. Ben-Gurion stepped down from office in 1963 and retired from political life in 1970, deeply disappointed about the path on which the state had embarked and the process that brought about the end of his political career. Robbed of the public aura that had wrapped him for decades, his revolutionary passion, which was not weakened in his 80s, pushed him to continue seeking social and moral change in Israel, a political solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, and to conduct a personal and national soul-searching about the development of the State he himself had declared.
Based on his personal archives and new interviews with his intimate friends and family, the book reveals how the founding father explored the Israeli establishment he created and from which he later disengaged. It provides a thorough examination of the decisive moments in the annals of Zionism as revealed through the lens of Ben-Gurion’s worldview, which are still relevant to present-day Israel.

 

An Intellectual History of Turkish Nationalism: Between Turkish Ethnicity and Islamic Identity

By: Umut Uzer
(University of Utah Press, Utah Series in Middle East Studies, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1607814658)
Turkish nationalism erupted onto the world stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as first Greeks, then Armenians and other minority groups within the Ottoman Empire began to assert national identity and seek independence. Umut Uzer examines the ideological evolution and transformation of Turkish nationalism from its early precursors to its contemporary protagonists. Through a textual analysis of nationalist writings, this volume considers how political developments influenced Turkish nationalism. It tackles the question of how an ideology that began as a revolutionary, progressive, forward-looking ideal eventually transformed into one that is conservative, patriarchal, and nostalgic to the Ottoman and Islamic past. Between Islamic and Turkish Identity is the first book in any language to comprehensively analyze Turkish nationalism with such scope and engagement with primary sources, dissecting the phenomenon in all its manifestations.

 

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

By: Dov Waxman
(
Princeton University Press, 2016, ISBN: 9780691168999, 328 pages)
Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity. Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics. Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.

 

Chana Maisel: Agricultural Training for Women

By: Esther Carmel Hakim
(Brandeis University Institutional Repository, 2016, HBI Translation Series  http://bir.brandeis.edu/handle/10192/31730)
Chana Maisel: Agricultural Training for Women, tells of an unknown chapter in the history of the Zionist settlements in the Land of Israel: the story of the female pioneer- the professional agriculturalist, who bore the burden mixed farming, in collective settlements as well as family farms. Chana Maisel played a central role in establishing frameworks for women’s agricultural training in pre-State Israel. With her great vision, perseverance, and professional knowledge Maisel created a new horizon for women to contribute to the Zionist agricultural development of the Land of Israel. Maisel's projects had a remarkable influence on the history of the Yishuv, from the Women’s Training Farm at Kinneret (1911-1917) to the establishment of the Young Women’s Agricultural School at Nahalal (1923) Maisel’s biography includes her youth in Russia, her studies in Switzerland and France, as well as to her life in Segera (one of the earliest male training farms); participation in international Zionist Congresses; the establishment of a women-workers’ trade union; establishment of women's farms; establishment of home-economics courses and more.

 

We Were First: A History of Hibat Zion, 1881-1918 (in Hebrew)

By: Yossi Goldstein
(Bialik Institute, Jerusalem, 2016, ISBN 978-965-536-193-3, 360 pages)
This book, which traces the development of the first Jewish national movement from its establishment in the early 1880s until its dissolution by the Bolsheviks, is based on research conducted by its author, Prof. Yossi Goldstein, over the course of three decades. In it, Prof. Goldstein explores the secret of the movement’s emergence and its contribution to the development of Zionism. A particularly innovative aspect of the book stems from the fact that the previous research paid little attention to the organization’s existence as a concrete historical phenomenon after 1897. A number of other factors also highlight the need for a new historical account of Hibat Zion. One is the large number of studies on European and Jewish nationalism that have been published since the 1970s, which have yielded a unique historical perspective on the establishment of the Jewish national movement that was not addressed by previous historical accounts. Another is the more recent publication of multiple studies that have led to the discovery of important documents that offer new insight into a number of dramatic events in the history of Hibat Zion. And still another is the discovery of important documents in Israeli archives, particularly the Jewish National and University Library and the Central Zionist Archive, which are revealed in this book for the first time.

 

Privatisation in Israel: State Responsibility and the Boundaries between the Public and the Private (In Hebrew)

By:Itzhak Galnoor, Amir Paz-Fuchs, (eds.)
(Van Leer and Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 2015, 579 pages)
More than any other public reform, privatisation policy in Israel, in place since 1980s, has changed the face of the country’s society and economy. It is not to be viewed as a purely economic issue. Rather, privatisation is inherently linked to a world view as to the desired relationship between the state and its citizens.
This book is the result of collaborative, interdisciplinary project that began in 2007 in the Hazan Centre for Social Justice at the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem. It covers political and economic theory, and includes in depth analysis of a wide range of areas of state responsibility. It documents and criticises the shift in boundaries between the public and the private, and the corresponding tools of regulation that the state has put in place, or that has failed to do so. The book’s chapters focus on sectors such as utilities, education, health, pension, the workforce, and more, in a coherent analytical framework, thus suggesting that the reforms in the particular sectors should not viewed as isolated, but rather are a product of a common agenda – the privatisation policy in Israel.

 

Travels in Translation: Sea Tales at the Source of Jewish Fiction

By: Ken Frieden
(Syracuse University Press, 2016, 978-0-8156-3457-7, 360 pages, $65)
For centuries before its "rebirth" as a spoken language, Hebrew writing was like a magical ship in a bottle that gradually changed design but never voyaged out into the world. Isolated, the ancient Hebrew ship was torpid because the language of the Bible was inadequate to represent modern life in Europe. Early modern speakers of Yiddish and German gave Hebrew the breath of life when they translated dialogues, descriptions, and thought processes from their vernaculars into Hebrew. By narrating tales of pilgrimage and adventure, Jews pulled the ship out of the bottle and sent modern Hebrew into the world.
In Travels in Translation, Frieden analyzes this emergence of modern Hebrew literature after 1780, a time when Jews were moving beyond their conventional Torah- and Zion-centered worldview. Enlightened authors diverged from pilgrimage narrative traditions and appropriated travel narratives to America, the Pacific, and the Arctic. The effort to translate sea travel stories from European languages—with their nautical terms, wide horizons, and exotic occurrences—made particular demands on Hebrew writers. They had to overcome their tendency to introduce biblical phrases at every turn in order to develop a new, vivid, descriptive language.
As Frieden explains through deft linguistic analysis, by 1818, a radically new travel literature in Hebrew had arisen. Authors such as Moses Mendelsohn-Frankfurt and Mendel Lefin published books that charted a new literary path through the world and in European history. Taking a fresh look at the origins of modern Jewish literature, Frieden launches a new approach to literary studies, one that lies at the intersection of translation studies and travel writing.

 

The Mizrahi Era of Rebellion: Israel's Forgotten Civil Rights Struggle 1948-1966

By: Bryan Roby
(Syracuse University Press, 2015, 978-0-8156-3411-9, 288 Pages, $39.95).
During the postwar period of 1948–56, over 400,000 Jews from the Middle East and Asia immigrated to the newly established state of Israel. By the end of the 1950s, Mizrahim, also known as Oriental Jewry, represented the ethnic majority of the Israeli Jewish population. Despite their large numbers, Mizrahim were considered outsiders because of their non-European origins. Viewed as foreigners who came from culturally backward and distant lands, they suffered decades of socioeconomic, political, and educational injustices. In this pioneering work, Roby traces the Mizrahi population’s struggle for equality and civil rights in Israel. Although the daily "bread and work" demonstrations are considered the first political expression of the Mizrahim, Roby demonstrates the myriad ways in which they agitated for change. Drawing upon a wealth of archival sources, many only recently declassified, Roby details the activities of the highly ideological and politicized young Israel. Police reports, court transcripts, and protester accounts document a diverse range of resistance tactics, including sit-ins, tent protests, and hunger strikes. Roby shows how the Mizrahi intellectuals and activists in the 1960s began to take note of the American civil rights movement, gaining inspiration from its development and drawing parallels between their experience and that of other marginalized ethnic groups. The Mizrahi Era of Rebellion shines a light on a largely forgotten part of Israeli social history, one that profoundly shaped the way Jews from African and Asian countries engaged with the newly founded state of Israel.

 

Islam and Politics in the Middle East: Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens

By: Mark Tessler 
(Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2015, ISBN: 978-0-253-01643-0, 264 pages)
Some of the most pressing questions in the Middle East and North Africa today revolve around the proper place of Islamic institutions and authorities in governance and political affairs.  Drawing on data from 42 surveys carried out in fifteen countries between 1998 and 2011, representing the opinions of more than 60,000 men and women, this study investigates the reasons that some individuals support a central role for Islam in government while others favor a separation of religion and politics.  Utilizing his newly constructed Carnegie Middle East Governance and Islam Dataset, which has been placed in the public domain for use by other researchers, Mark Tessler formulates and tests hypotheses about determinants of the views held by ordinary citizens, offering insights into the individual-level and country-level factors that shape attitudes toward political Islam.

 

Jewish Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy Confronts Modernity, Zionism and Women's Equality

By: Motti Inbari
(Cambridge University Press, 2016, ISBN: 9781107088108, 279 Pages, £64.99)
In Jewish Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy Confronts Modernity, Zionism and Women's Equality Professor Motti Inbari undertakes a study of the culture and leadership of Jewish radical ultra-Orthodoxy in Hungary, Jerusalem and New York. He reviews the history, ideology and gender relations of prominent ultra-Orthodox leaders Amram Blau (1894–1974), founder of the anti-Zionist Jerusalemite Neturei Karta, and Yoel Teitelbaum (1887–1979), head of the Satmar Hasidic movement in New York. Focussing on the rabbis’ biographies the author analyzes their enclave building methods, their attitude to women and modesty, and their eschatological perspectives. The research is based on newly discovered archival materials, covering many unique and remarkable findings. The author concludes with a discussion of contemporary trends in Jewish religious radicalization. Inbari highlights the resilience of the current generations’ sense of community cohesion and their capacity to adapt and overcome challenges such as rehabilitation into potentially hostile secular societies.

 

ISRAELINESS IN NO MAN'S LAND: CITIZENSHIP IN THE WEST BANK OF ISRAEL/PALESTINE

By: Yarden Enav
(Peter Lang Academic Research, 2014, ISBN 978-3-631-65395-1, 216 pages, $54.95)
This book is the result of ethnographic research carried out in the Academic College of Judea & Samaria (The ACJS), located in the West Bank of Israel/Palestine. The book deals with Israeli citizenship and identity, and examines the ways in which it is being understood and imagined by ACJS students and teachers. The book also analyzes the Zionist organizational culture of the ACJS.  This book is not an ethnographic study executed in the standard manner. The research strategy reflects a mix of qualitative methods such as observations and interviews. The book offers a new socio-political model of Israel/Palestine:  Israel as a 'Zionist Democracy'.

 

The "Magic Carpet" Exodus of Yemenite Jewry: An Israeli Myth

By: Esther Meir-Glitzenstein
(Sussex Academic Press, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-84519-616-5, 256 Pages,  $89.95)
This book reexamining the heroic myth that has developed around Operation Magic Carpet, during which the majority of Yemeni Jews—through the cooperation among the imam of Yemen, the British colonial rulers of Aden, the Israeli government, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee—were resettled in Israel in 1949 and 1950. Based on archival documents, the author reveals the enormous personal cost of the operation. The abandonment of immigrants to death in the desert during their trek to Aden, and the substantive loss of personal property in leaving their homes at short notice, calls into question the personal benefit of such a brutal upheaval and demands a re-assessment of the aims of the immigration operation and its prime movers. Of particular importance is a discussion of the interests of the various states and organizations that were involved in the exodus, which can be seen as the first stage in the evacuation of ancient Jewish communities throughout the Middle East and their transfer to Israel.

 

Abba Eban: A Biography

By: Asaf Siniver
(The Overlook Press, New York, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1468309331, 464 pages, $26.49)
The definitive biography of Abba Eban, an Israeli diplomat often revered by every nation except the one he represented. The book draws from a wide range of primary sources to create a complex portrait of a man who left an indelible mark on the quest for peace in the Middle East. A skilled debater, a master of language, and a passionate defender of Israel, Abba Eban’s diplomatic presence was in many ways a contradiction unlike any the world has seen since. While he was celebrated internationally for his exceptional wit and his moderate, reasoned worldview, these same qualities painted him as elitist and foreign in his home country. The disparity in perception of Eban at home and abroad was such that both his critics and his friends agreed that he would have been a wonderful prime minister—in any country but Israel. In Abba Eban, Asaf Siniver paints a nuanced and complete portrait of one of the most complex figures in twentieth-century foreign affairs. We see Eban growing up and coming into his own as part of the Cambridge Union, and watch him steadily become known as “The Voice of Israel.” Siniver draws on a vast amount of interviews, writings, and other newly available material to show that, in his unceasing quest for stability and peace for Israel, Eban’s primary opposition often came from the homeland he was fighting for; no matter how many allies he gained abroad, the man never understood his own domestic politics well enough to be as effective in his pursuits as he hoped. The first examination of Eban in nearly forty years, Abba Eban is a fascinating look at a life that still offers a valuable perspective on Israel even today.

 

Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society

By: Brent E. Sasley and Harold M. Waller
(Oxford University Press, 2016, ISBN: 9780199335060, 368 Pages, $39.95)
Politics in Israel is the first textbook on Israel to utilize a historical-sociological approach, telling the story of Israeli politics rather than simply presenting a series of dry facts and figures. The book emphasizes six specific dimensions of the conduct of Israeli politics: the weight of historical processes, the struggle between different groups over how to define the country's identity, changing understandings of Zionism, a changing political culture, the influence of the external threat environment, and the inclusive nature of the democratic process. These themes offer students a framework to use for understanding contemporary political events within the country. Politics in Israel also includes several chapters on topics not previously addressed in competing texts, including historical conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism in Israel, the politics of the Arab minority, and interest groups and political protest.

 

Practical Soldiers: Israel’s Military Thought and its Formative Factors

By: Avi Kober
(Leiden: Brill, 2015, ISBN 98-90-04-30653-0, hardback, 212 Pages, $120)
The book suggests a general framework for the analysis of formative factors in military thought and offers an account of the Israel Defense Forces’ state of intellectualism and modernity. This account is followed by an attempt to trace the factors that have shaped Israeli military thought. The explanations are a mixture of realist and non-realist factors which can be found at both the systemic and the state level of analysis. At the systemic level, realist evaluations focus on factors such as the dominance of the technological dimension and the pervasiveness of asymmetrical low intensity conflicts, whereas at the state level one can find realist explanations, cultural factors and societal influences. Moral and legal constraints also factor into both the systemic and state levels.

 

A close-remote island: rural Jewish settlement in Cyprus 1883-1939 (In Hebrew)

By: Yossi Ban Artzi
(Bar-Ilan UP, December 2015, ISBN: 978-965-226-470-1, 228 Pages)
This book exposes the [almost] unknown Jewish settlement efforts in Cyprus in modern times, conducted in parallel to the beginning of Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and not without connection to it. The Book analyses the geo-strategic situation that made Cyprus as a real opportunity to use its proximity to Palestine as a temporary solution for Jewish immigration, while political conditions put obstacles on land purchase and immigration to the promised land. Moreover, not only the geographical situation played a catalyst role, the British rule in Cyprus from 1878 on, was regarded as a possible cooperator in general, and specially  due to its policy to encourage immigration to Cyprus so to enhance the island's economy. The Jewish rural existence in Cyprus ceased throughout the 1940s, yet some relics remained on the landscape, to commemorate the story. The book revealed this affair in a comprehensive manner, using archive resources, literature and field work.

 

Living on the Edge: The Existential Uncertainty of Zionism (In Hebrew)

By: Uriel Abulof
(Haifa University Press and Yedioth Books, 2015, ISBN: 978-965-545-950-0, 443 Pages)
Living on the Edge probes Jewish existential uncertainty in the age of Zionism. It demonstrates that, despite its attempt to quell the perils of Jewish life, the Zionist movement has been immersed in existential uncertainty. It carefully examines the manifold “existential threats” as these were framed by Zionist elite and public alike, showing that while the people always saw before them the gaping abyss, its nature and depth constantly changes. Living on the Edge further detects the Zionist coping strategies, the “existential threads,” underscoring the role of morality. Zionists, living on the edge, have attempted to weave a security net, based not only on power, but also on moral justification—lending both meaning and cause to their identity and polity. Moral discourse, moreover, does not merely reflect changes within a nation, but may also hint at that nation’s prospects.

 

Chances for Peace: Missed Opportunities in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

By: Elie Podeh
(
University of Texas Press, November 2015, 426 Pages, ISBN: 9781477305607, £45.00 HB)
From Arab-Zionist negotiations at the end of World War I to the subsequent partition, the aftermath of the 1967 War and the Sadat Initiative, and numerous agreements throughout the 1980s and 1990s, concluding with the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and the Abu Mazen-Olmert talks in 2008, pioneering scholar Elie Podeh uses empirical criteria and diverse secondary sources to assess the protagonists’ roles at more than two dozen key junctures. A resource that brings together historiography, political science, and the practice of peace negotiation, Podeh’s insightful exploration also showcases opportunities that were not missed. Three agreements in particular (Israeli-Egyptian, 1979; Israeli-Lebanese, 1983; and Israeli-Jordanian, 1994) illuminate important variables for forging new paths to successful negotiation. By applying his framework to a broad range of power brokers and time periods, Podeh also sheds light on numerous incidents that contradict official narratives. This unique approach is poised to reshape the realm of conflict resolution.

 

Moshe Sharett: Political Biography (In Hebrew)

By: Gabriel (Gabi) Sheffer
(Carmel Publishing House, December 2015, ISBN: 978-965-540-521-7, 750 Pages)
This is the first Hebrew biography of Moshe Sharett, a moderate politician and one of the founders of the State of Israel. He served as Foreign Minister from 1948-1956, and second Prime Minister from 1953-1955, as well as in other various political positions. He was at the center of events in the Yishuv and Israel for about four decades. The biography describes and analyses his functions and activities. Under his leadership, the "moderate camp" exerted great influence on the orientation and politics of the Yishuv and the young Israel.

 

Destruction and Accounting: The State of Israel and the Reparations from Germany 1949 – 1953  (IN HEBREW)

By:  Jacob Tovy
(Tel-Aviv and Bar-Ilan Universities, 2015, ISBN: 978-965-7241-66-0, 505 Pages)
The reparations agreement was the first bridge built between the Jewish people and the Germans after the Holocaust. The book Destruction and Accounting recounts the story of the sequence of events of this agreement, from the very first time it was contemplated (in the spring of 1949) to it's ratification by the Israeli government and the German president (in March 1953). The book is based on a variety of archival sources, some published here for the first time, from Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom. It is the most comprehensive and exhaustive study ever written on one of the most dramatic events in Israel's history.
 
 

Politics and Government in Israel: The Maturation of a Modern State 

By:  Gregory S. Mahler
(Rowman and Littlefield, 2016, Third Edition, 978-1-4422-6535-6, 402 Pages)
This balanced and comprehensive text explores Israeli government and politics from both institutional and behavioral perspectives. After briefly discussing Israel’s history and the early development of the state, Gregory Mahler then examines the social, religious, economic, cultural, and military contexts within which Israeli politics takes place, taking special note of Israel’s geopolitical situation of sharing borders with, and being proximate to, several hostile Arab nations. The book explains the operation of political institutions and behavior in Israeli domestic politics, including the constitutional system and ideology, parliamentary government, the prime minister and the Knesset, political parties and interest groups, the electoral process and voting behavior, and the machinery of government. Mahler also considers Israel's foreign policy setting and apparatus, the existence of the Palestinians and the Palestinian conflict, the particularly sensitive questions of Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement movement, and the Middle East peace process overall. This clear and concise text provides an invaluable starting point for all readers needing a cogent introduction to Israel today.

 

The National Origins of the Market Economy: Economic Developmentalism During the Formation of the Israeli Capitalism

By: Arie Krampf
(The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2015; 291 pages;  paperback; ISBN: 978-965-493-775-7
The book traces the economic history of the Israeli capitalism during its formative years, from the 1930s to the 1960s in order to identify its unique historical path as well as to explain its transformations. The book argues that the Israeli capitalism was shaped by two key factors: by state preferences as were formulated by the political elite and economic experts and the by economic ideas imported from the United States and were localized in the Zionist/Israeli economic policy discourse. The book provides a historical narrative that challenges both the social-democratic narrative, according to which the Israeli economic regime was shaped on the basis of socialist values, as well as the liberal narrative, according to which the interventionist policies of the government were the product of short-term rent-seeking behavior. Rather, the book argues that the government followed an economic rationale that shaped the state preferences. Specifically, the book shows how Keynesian-style economic ideas originated in the New Deal shaped the mass immigration policy in the 1940s, it explains why the government blocked the expansion of the Histadrut sector during the late 1950s and abandoned the full employment policy in the 1960s, and it examines why the Bank of Israel employed policies and regulations that supported the interests of the large commercial banks, an approach that led to a centralized banking system.

 

The Mortality and Morality of Nations: Jews, Afrikaners and French Canadians

By: Uriel Abulof
(Cambridge University Press, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1107097070, 384 pages)
Standing at the edge of life’s gaping abyss, we seek everlasting meaning, a sense of purpose and propriety, transcending the transient individual. We often find this solace in the morality of seemingly immortal collectives. Religions, civilizations, states, and nations are such “timeless beacons,” shedding their eternal light on the right path. What happens, however, when the nation itself appears mortal, when its members live with a constant sense of uncertainty about their collective’s existence? The Mortality and Morality of Nations presents this puzzle and pieces it together. It submits that mortality makes morality, and right makes might: the nation’s sense of a looming abyss informs its deliberate and deliberative quest for a high moral ground, which, if reached, can bolster its vitality. The book investigates nationalism’s promise of moral immortality, and its limitations, via the narratives of three “small nations”: French Canadians, Israeli Jews, and Afrikaners. All three have been insecure about the validity of their identity or the viability of their polity, or both. They have sought partial redress in existential self-legitimation: by the nation, of the nation, and for the nation’s very existence. If this endeavor fails, however, the nation may pursue different existential paths.

 

Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway

By: Raphael Cohen-Almagor
(NY and Washington DC.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, 2015, ISBN 9781107105591, 400 Pages) 
Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side is the first comprehensive book on social responsibility on the Internet. The book aims to strike a balance between the free speech principle and the responsibilities of the individual, corporation, state, and the international community. This book brings a global perspective to the analysis of some of the most troubling uses of the Internet: cyberbullying, cybercrime, terrorism, child pornography, hate and bigotry. It urges net users, Internet service providers, and liberal democracies to weigh freedom and security, finding the golden mean between unlimited license and moral responsibility. This judgement is necessary to uphold the very liberal democratic values that gave rise to the Internet and that are threatened by an unbridled use of technology.
 
 

The Inheritance: The Holocaust in Second Generation Israeli Artists’ Artworks (In Hebrew)

By: Batya Brutin
(The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2015, SBN: 978-965-493-834-1, 349 Pages)
Research carried out during the past two decades indicates that the Holocaust has influenced visual art of the Holocaust period and thereafter. Artists that experienced the atrocity of the Holocaust responded to the trauma, described the horrors and expressed their pain. Holocaust-related art has not ended; the Holocaust is continuing to manifest itself in the art of the children of the survivors who are known as the "Second Generation." Members of the Second Generation imbibed a traumatic atmosphere of death and loss, which many of them have internalized. With the passing of time, it has become a central element of their identity and has aroused in them a desperate need to cope with its problems. This research focuses specifically on Second Generation Israeli artists, since the place occupied by the Holocaust in the collective Israeli experience and culture differs from that in other countries and consequently provokes reactions, which are unique to local Israeli artists. The research deals with topics common to a number of artists, and discusses their artistic responses while preserving the special nature of each one. On the one hand, the artists of the Second Generation are continuing along the route taken by artists of the Holocaust period with respect to subjects, images and style such as, descriptions of the dead, the corpses, the sacrifice of Isaac and the number on the arm. On the other hand, they are creating their own images and style, which respond to the subjects, questions and problems preoccupying their generation. Through the works of Second Generation artists, we are exposed to a wide variety of subjects and questions, which preoccupy them, and we see different and diverse ways of expressing what was happening in their Holocaust-affected inner world.

  

Vladimir Jabotinsky, Story of My Life

By: Brian Horowitz and Leonid Katsis (eds.)

(Wayne State University Press, 2015, ISBN: 0814341381, 176 Pages, $31.99)
Vladimir Jabotinsky is well remembered as a militant leader and father of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement, but he was also a Russian-Jewish intellectual, talented fiction writer, journalist, playwright, and translator of poetry into Russian and Hebrew. His autobiography, Sippur yamai, Story of My Life-written in Hebrew and published in Tel Aviv in 1936-gives a more nuanced picture of Jabotinsky than his popular image, but it was never published in English. In Vladimir Jabotinsky's Story of My Life, editors Brian Horowitz and Leonid Katsis present this much-needed translation for the first time, based on a rough draft of an English version that was discovered in Jabotinsky's archive at the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv. The editors introduce the full text of the autobiography by discussing Jabotinsky's life, legacy, and writings in depth. As Jabotinsky is gaining a reputation for the quality of his fictional and semi-fictional writing in the field of Israel studies, this autobiography will help reading groups and students of Zionism, Jewish history, and political studies to gain a more complete picture of this famous leader.

 

A CULTURE OF TOUGH JEWS: RHETORICAL REGENERATION AND THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY

By: David Moscowitz
(Peter Lang [series in Critical Intercultural Communication Studies], 2015. 183 pages. Hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-1433126291)
From brutal Nazi killers to Hanukkah heroes in the ‘hood, tough Jews refute images of doomed Holocaust victims, wandering Jews of exile before them, and post-war ‘nice Jewish boys’ who followed. They foster belligerent responses to polemics of fear and self-hatred, and as such, materialize as a challenge for postmodern cultural identity. A Culture of Tough Jews reframes the tough Jew as an enduring act of rhetorical regeneration by reifying a related figure, the vital Jew. As corrective to the tough Jew, the vital Jew encourages robust cultural production and dialogue. The book highlights three important contributions. At its core it reifies a new figure, the vital Jew, to advance the ongoing critique of Jewish public culture. For audiences of rhetoric and cultural studies, the book offers critical and theoretical study of rhetorical regeneration, including original constructs of postmodern blackface and transformative performativity, as resource for contemporary rhetorical invention. It also constitutes a case study for the postmodern critique of identity by invoking concerns of (post)assimilation, gender and power, and the social construction of race, ethnicity, class, and power to advance conversations on fractious cultural exigencies. A Culture of Tough Jews is a spirited call for postmodern cultural vitality that responds to contemporary politics of identity and memory.

 

Palestinians in Jerusalem and Jaffa, 1948: A Tale of Two Cities

By: Itamar Radai
(Routledge, 2015, ISBN-10: 1138946532, 256 Pages, $145)
Palestinians in Jerusalem and Jaffa, 1948 examines Palestinian Arab society, institutions, and fighters in Jerusalem and Jaffa during the conflict. It is one of the first books in English that deals with the Palestinian Arabs at this crucial and tragic moment in their history, with extensive use of Arabic sources and an inquiry from the Palestinian vantage point. It examines the causes of the social collapse of the Palestinian Arab communities in Jerusalem and Jaffa during the 1948 inter-communal war, and the impact of this collapse on the military defeat. This book reveals that the most important internal factors to the Palestinian defeat were the social changes that took place in Arab society during the British Mandate, namely internal migration from rural areas to the cities, the shift from agriculture to wage labour, and the rise of the urban middle class. By looking beyond the well-established external factors, this study uncovers how modernity led to a breakdown within Palestinian Arab society, widening social fissures without producing effective institutions, and thus alienating social classes both from each other and from the leadership. With careful examination of a range of sources and informed analysis of Palestinian social history, Palestinians in Jerusalem and Jaffa, 1948 is a key resource for students and scholars interested in the modern Middle East, Palestinian Studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel Studies

 

FRANCOPHONE JEWISH WRITERS IMAGINING ISRAEL

By: Lucille Cairns
(Liverpool University Press, 2015, 310 pages. ISBN 978-1-78138-262-2. £75).
This book considers the differing emotional investments in Israel of, on the one hand, Jews physically domiciled in Israel and, on the other hand, diasporic Jews living outside Israel for whom the country nonetheless forms a central point of affect. The book’s purpose is to trace how these two types of investment are represented by francophone Jewish writers. The scope of the book is wide, addressing the following questions. How do francophone Jewish writers represent Israel in their literary works? What responses to the Israeli-Palestinian confl ict do they express both in these works and in non-literary discourse (interviews and journalistic articles)? What is the role in those responses of emotion, affect, cognition, and ethics? To answer these questions, the book examines 44 different autobiographies, memoirs and novels published between 1965 and 2012 by 27 different authors, both male and female, covering the full cultural spectrum of Jews: Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Mizrahi. The approach of the book is interdisciplinary, combining literary analysis with insights from the domains of history, journalism, philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis, and sociology. Professor Bruno Chaouat, University of Minnesota, has commented of the book: ‘Francophone Jewish Writers Imagining Israel will be of utmost relevance to the fields of French and Jewish studies, as well as Middle Eastern and Israel studies. 

 

Israeli Society in the Twenty-First Century: Immigration, Inequality, and Religious Conflict

By: Calvin Goldscheider
(Schusterman Series in Israel Studies, Brandeis University Press, 2015. 304 pages. Paperback, 978-1-61168-747-7, $35.00; Ebook, 978-1-61168-748-4, $34.99)
This volume illuminates changes in Israeli society over the past generation. Goldscheider identifies three key social changes that have led to the transformation of Israeli society in the twenty-first century: the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the economic shift to a high-tech economy, and the growth of socioeconomic inequalities inside Israel. To deepen his analysis of these developments, Goldscheider focuses on ethnicity, religion, and gender, including the growth of ethnic pluralism in Israel, the strengthening of the Ultra-Orthodox community, the changing nature of religious Zionism and secularism, shifts in family patterns, and new issues and challenges between Palestinians and Arab Israelis given the stalemate in the peace process and the expansions of Jewish settlements. Combining demography and social structural analysis, the author draws on the most recent data available from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources to offer scholars and students an innovative guide to thinking about the Israel of the future. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary Israel, the Middle East, sociology, demography and economic development, as well as policy specialists in these fields. It will serve as a textbook for courses in Israeli history and in the modern Middle East.  Russell Stone names Goldscheider "the established authority in combining the approaches of demography and sociology into a socio-cultural analysis of Israeli society. . . . None of the others in the field have achieved a book of this scope and magnitude in English.”

 

In the Company of Others: The Development of Anthropology in Israel

By: Orit Abuhav
(Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology, Wayne State University Press, 296 pages, ISBN: 9780814338735, $54.99)
In Israel, anthropologists have customarily worked in their “home”—in the company of the society that they are studying. by Orit Abuhav details the gradual development of the field, which arrived in Israel in the early twentieth century but did not have an official place in Israeli universities until the 1960s. Through archival research, observations and interviews conducted with active Israeli anthropologists, Abuhav creates a thorough picture of the discipline from its roots in the Mandate period to its current place in the Israeli academy.
Abuhav begins by examining anthropology’s disciplinary borders and practices, addressing its relationships to neighboring academic fields and ties to the national setting in which it is practiced. Against the background of changes in world anthropology, she traces the development of Israeli anthropology from its pioneering first practitioners—led by Raphael Patai, Erich Brauer, - to its academic breakthrough in the 1960s with the foreign-funded Bernstein Israel Research Project. She goes on to consider the role and characteristics of the field’s professional association, the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA), and also presents life courses of 50 significant Israeli anthropologists.
While Israeli anthropology has historically been limited in the numbers of its practitioners, it has been expansive in the scope of its studies. Abuhav brings a first-hand perspective to the crises and the highs, lows, and upheavals of the discipline of Israeli anthropology, which will be of interest to anthropologists, historians of the discipline, and scholars of Israeli studies.

 

Settlers in Contested Lands: Territorial Disputes and Ethnic Conflict

By: Oded Haklai and Neophytos Loizides (eds.).
(Stanford University Press, 2015. 256 pp. Cloth ISBN: 9780804795593, $90; paper ISBN: 9780804796507, $27.95)
Settlers are typically viewed as a major issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is often overlooked is that they feature in many other protracted territorial disputes and ethnic conflicts around the world. Explaining the dynamics of the politics of settlers in contested territories in several contemporary cases, this book illuminates how settler-related conflicts emerge, evolve, and are significantly more difficult to resolve than other disputes. The theoretical insights generated by the comparative lens help identify the commonalities the Israeli case has with other cases as well as consequential differences

 

Battalion of Arab: The History of the Minorities' Unit in the IDF from 1948 to 1956 (in Hebrew)

By: Rami Zeedan 
(Modan in cooperation with Maarachot, 2015, 235 pages, Hardcover, ISBN: 0004800037310, 88 NIS).
Battalion of Arab is a unique book, introducing research-based history of the minorities unit in the IDF. The book presents the process of establishment of the unit before the declaration of the state of Israel, and military operations during the War of 1948 till the end of the Suez War.
The book includes a description of the relationship between the various minority groups that were part of the unit - Muslims, Christians, Druze, Bedouins and Circassians - along with the special folklore of the unit. A large part is dedicated to the recruitment policy of the minorities to the IDF and describes the process of applying the conscription law on the Druze youth, and gives a different point view than is shown in the Israeli historiography.

 

"We Are Here To Bring The West": Hygiene Education And Culture Building In The Jewish Society Of Mandate Palestine (in Hebrew)

By Dafna Hirsch
(The Ben-Gurion Research Institute of the Study of Israel and Zionism, 2014. 482  pages. ISBN: 9789655100945, 87NIS/ $22.5)
"We are here to bring the West, what is good and improved in it, not only for ourselves but for the entire backward Orient, which must rise to a clean and hygienic life," thus wrote Dr. Asher Goldstein, physician and editor of the medical section of the daily newspaper Ha'aretz in 1935. Intensive activity to educate the Jewish public in health and hygiene took place during the mandate years—years of dramatic social and cultural transformations. The aim of this activity was much more than to promote health. Hygiene was an extensive repertoire of models of conduct and care of the body seen as rational and scientific, and associated with civilization, modernity and the West. As the quote from Goldstein demonstrate, hygiene education was meant to "bring the west" not only to the "backward Orient" but also to the Jewish settlers themselves.
This book focuses on the educational work undertaken by various Jewish health organizations during the Mandate period, and most prominently by Hadassah. Hadassah extended the educational activities to communities which were otherwise not regarded as part of the Zionist community, such as orthodox and Mizrahi Jews. But although this activity was conceived and represented as inculcating a shared repertoire of everyday culture to the entire national community, at the same time, it fostered distinctions within Jewish society, most notably between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews, who were seen as the mirror image of the "hygienic human being." The "hygienic project," then, manifested the tension between the shaping of a "national culture" and a project of westernization. 
 

Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film

By Ranen Omer-Sherman
(Penn State University Press, 2015. 352 pages. Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0-271-06557-1. $84.95)
In Imagining the Kibbutz, Ranen Omer-Sherman explores the literary and cinematic representations of the socialist experiment that became history’s most successfully sustained communal enterprise. Inspired in part by the kibbutz movement’s recent commemoration of its centennial, this study responds to a significant gap in scholarship. Numerous sociological and economic studies have appeared, but no book-length study has ever addressed the tremendous range of critically imaginative portrayals of the kibbutz. This diachronic study addresses novels, short fiction, memoirs, and cinematic portrayals of the kibbutz by both kibbutz “insiders” (including those born and raised there, as well as those who joined the kibbutz as immigrants or migrants from the city) and “outsiders.” For these artists, the kibbutz is a crucial microcosm for understanding Israeli values and identity. The central drama explored in their works is the monumental tension between the individual and the collective, between individual aspiration and ideological rigor, between self-sacrifice and self-fulfillment. Portraying kibbutz life honestly demands retaining at least two oppositional things in mind at once—the absolute necessity of euphoric dreaming and the mellowing inevitability of disillusionment. As such, these artists’ imaginative witnessing of the fraught relation between the collective and the citizen-soldier is the story of Israel itself.

* * *

Authority and Participation in a New Democracy: Political Struggles in Mapai, Israel's Ruling Party, 1948–1953

By Avi Bareli
(Academic Studies Press, 2014. 324 pages. Hardcover, ISBN: 9781936235278, $92)
Authority and Participation in a New Democracy focuses on the changes undergone by Mapai, Israel’s first ruling party, during Israel’s first years of independence, then analyzes the effects of these changes in relation to Israeli political culture. Bareli’s main claim is that it was only during this period that a hierarchically-organized group of leaders succeeded in imposing its dominance, fostering obedience within the party and creating oligarchic characteristics in Israel’s democracy. The influence of the kibbutz movement, the moshavim movement and of urban intelligentsia—who represented the opposite political view of participatory democracy—was reduced to a minimum. This process would have a profound impact on issues of equality, on the relations between veteran Israelis and immigrants from both European and Islamic countries, and on social and civic norms.

 

Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief

By Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander H. Joffe
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 268 pages. Hardcover, ISBN: 1137378166. $93.70)
This book examines the leading role of the Quaker American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in the United Nations relief program for Palestine Arab refugees in 1948-1950 in the Gaza Strip. It situates the operation within the context of the AFSC's attempts to exercise new influence on the separate issues of pacifism and disarmament at a time marked by US efforts to construct a Cold War security regime in the Middle East and British efforts to retain influence and bases in Arab countries. Using archival data, oral histories, diplomatic documents, and biographical and autobiographical accounts, the authors provide a detailed look at internal decision-making in an early non-governmental organization where beliefs regarding the requirement to provide refugees with skills for self-reliance clashed with intractable political and cultural realities and the realization that only full repatriation or resettlement elsewhere would solve the problem (a lesson that UNRWA and the international community learned only decades later). Faced with impossible solutions, the Quakers withdrew. The story of AFSC involvement in Gaza shows that refugee relief is always political and that humanitarianism can prolong the problems it seeks to solve.

 

Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and The Early Zionist-Arab Encounter

By Jonathan Marc Gribetz
(Princeton University Press, 2014. 312 pages. Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0691159508. $35)
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, aspiring peacemakers continue to search for the precise territorial dividing line that will satisfy both Israeli and Palestinian nationalist demands. The prevailing view assumes that this struggle is nothing more than a dispute over real estate. Defining Neighborsboldly challenges this view, shedding new light on how Zionists and Arabs understood each other in the earliest years of Zionist settlement in Palestine and suggesting that the current singular focus on boundaries misses key elements of the conflict.
Drawing on archival documents as well as newspapers and other print media from the final decades of Ottoman rule, Jonathan Gribetz argues that Zionists and Arabs in pre-World War I Palestine and the broader Middle East did not think of one another or interpret each other's actions primarily in terms of territory or nationalism. Rather, they tended to view their neighbors in religious terms--as Jews, Christians, or Muslims--or as members of "scientifically" defined races--Jewish, Arab, Semitic, or otherwise. Gribetz shows how these communities perceived one another, not as strangers vying for possession of a land that each regarded as exclusively their own, but rather as deeply familiar, if at times mythologized or distorted, others. Overturning conventional wisdom about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gribetz demonstrates how the seemingly intractable nationalist contest in Israel and Palestine was, at its start, conceived of in very different terms.

 

Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel

By Guy Ziv
(SUNY Press, 2015. 194 pages. Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-4384-5395-8, $75)
Why do hawkish leaders change course to pursue dovish policies? In Why Hawks Become Doves, Guy Ziv argues that conventional international relations theory is inadequate for explaining these momentous foreign policy shifts, because it underestimates the importance of leaders and their personalities. Applying insights from cognitive psychology, Ziv argues that decision-makers’ cognitive structure—specifically, their levels of cognitive openness and complexity—is a critical causal variable in determining their propensity to revise their beliefs and pursue new policies. To illustrate his point, he examines Israeli statesman Shimon Peres. Beginning his political career as a tough-minded security hawk, Peres emerged as one of the Middle East’s foremost champions of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Drawing on a vast range of sources, including interviews with Peres and dozens of other political elites, archival research, biographies, and memoirs, Ziv finds that Peres’s highly open and complex cognitive structure facilitated a quicker and more profound dovish shift on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than his less cognitively open and complex rivals.

 

Advocating Propaganda – Viewpoints from Israel: Social Media, Public Diplomacy, Foreign Affairs, Military Psychology, and Religious Persuasion Perspectives

Edited by Ron Shleifer
(Sussex Academic Press, 2015. 192 pages. ISBN: 9781845196721)
Based on a series of interviews with top players in the Israeli propaganda war, Advocating Propaganda - Viewpoints from Israel gathers the perspectives from a rabbi, a priest, a politician, public servants, a military officer, a student activist, and a social media consultant to discuss the incomprehensible situation of Israel's faltering public image. The book seeks to rectify Israel's international image through better understanding of historical and contemporary policy, and the political/religious/military philosophy behind the different approaches over the years, presenting media and psychological mechanisms of motivating a more resourceful approach to this increasingly necessary aspect of Israeli statehood. Rabbi Berl Wine addresses the Jewish diaspora tradition and the lack of religious understanding of the realities of running a sovereign modern state. Pastor Jorgen Buhler discusses the Christian Protestant pro-Israel perspective. Dr. Meron Medzini, the biographer of Golda Meir, sets out the state's early policy toward propaganda. Dr. Moshe Yegar, a former deputy director in the Israeli foreign ministry discusses the time when public relations was abolished in the ministry by today's president, Shimon Peres. Danny Seman, formerly a head of department in the newly founded Ministry of Information and Government Press Office, tells of his experiences of working for the government without government backup. Barak Raz of the IDF Spokesman Unit gives the military angle. Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, sets out Israeli foreign policy objectives. Yossi Sarid, former senior minister and media personality, provides analysis of hasbara (public diplomacy) in an international perspective. David Olesker, a leading authority on global campus activism, gives a historical survey of anti-Israel campus activities. Eva Rosenstein and David Abitbol discuss professional media and social media perspectives of propaganda advocacy.

 

Students and Resistance in Palestine: Books, Guns and Politics

By Ido Zelkovitz
(Routledge, 2015. 224 pages. Hardback: 978-1-13-880297-1, $145.00) 

Exploring the Palestinian Student Movement from an historical and sociological perspective, this book demonstrates how Palestinian national identity has been built in the absence of national institutions, whilst emphasizing the role of higher education as an agent of social change, capable of crystallizing patterns of national identity.
Focussing on the political and social activities of Palestinian students in two arenas – the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian diaspora, Students & Resistance covers the period from 1952-2000. The book investigates the commonality of the goal of the respective movements in securing independence and the building of a sovereign Palestinian state, whilst simultaneously comparing their development, social tone and the differing challenges each movement faced.
Examining a plethora of sources including; Palestinian student magazines, PLO documents, Palestinian and Arabic news media, and archival records, to demonstrate how the Palestinian Student Movements became a major political player, this book is of interest to scholars and students of Palestinian History, Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

 

On The Front Lines in A Changing Jewish World: Collected Writing 1988-2013

by Michael C. Kotzin

(JUF Press, 2014. 450 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9907128-0-0 (hardcover) 978-0-9907128-1-7 (softcover). $24.95 (hardcover). $14.95 (softcover).) 

With an Introduction by Steven B. Nasatir, a Preface by Yossi Klein Halevi, and an Introduction and Postscript by the author, this book is a collection of essays, opinion columns, lectures, and reviews written between 1988 and 2013. Divided into eight sections, each with its own introduction highlighting the theme of change, the book includes writings on a range of subjects. They include the status of Jewish communities in European countries; terrorism; anti-Semitism – with a major focus on the Israel links of the new anti-Semitism; the increasing need for defending Israel in the American community, the media, and on campus; Israel Studies and related matters; the relationships of Jews and others on the American scene; and the American Jewish communal agenda, with a focus on Israel/Diaspora relations. The final section consists of reflections on literature, film, and drama – with a number of items that have a strong focus on Israel. After receiving a Ph.D. in English Literature, Kotzin taught at Tel Aviv University for 11 years and then returned to the States to maintain a role as a Jewish communal professional. The pieces collected here, written during a time when he served as an executive at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, where he established and directs an Israel Studies project, reflect his background, experience, and perspectives on the subjects at hand. Covering a dramatic, volatile quarter century in the world at large, for the Jewish people, and regarding attitudes concerning Israel in America and Europe, these pieces illuminate the times in which they appeared while remaining relevant today – sometimes uncannily so.

 

Communicating Awe: Media Memory and Holocaust Commemoration

By Oren Meyers, Motti Neiger, Eyal Zandberg
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Hardcover, 9781137325235 £55.00 / $95.00)
How can a society communicate a collective trauma? This book offers a cross-media exploration of Israeli media on Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of Israel's most sacred national rituals, over the past six decades. It investigates the way in which variables such as medium, structure of ownership, genre and targeted audiences shape the collective recollection of traumatic memories. Following their previous conceptual work on media memory, the authors argue that a combination of the aforementioned factors, anchored in the political arena as well as in the realm of media practices and conventions, lead Israeli media to operate on Holocaust Remembrance in a manner that 'acts out' the collective trauma. Thus, the underlying narrative that is performed by the media on Holocaust Remembrance Day frames the Holocaust as a current, ongoing Israeli event, rather than an event that took place in Europe and ended decades ago.

 

Multiculturalism in Israel – Literary Perspectives

By Adia Mendelson-Maoz
(Purdue University Press, 2014.448 pages. Paperback, ISBN: 978-1557536808. $59.95)
By analyzing its position within the struggles for recognition and reception of different national and ethnic cultural groups, Multiculturalism in Israel offers a bold new picture of Israeli literature. Through a comparative discussion of the literatures of Palestinian citizens of Israel, of Mizrahim, of migrants from the former Soviet Union, and of Ethiopian-Israelis, Adia Mendelson-Maoz reveals an unexpected richness and diversity in the Israeli literary scene, a reality very different from the monocultural image that Zionism aspired to create.

 

Security and Defensive Democracy in Israel. A Critical Approach to Political Discourse

By Sharon Weinblum
(Routledge 2015. Hardcover, 192 pages. ISBN 978-1138823808. 145$)
This book challenges the classical contention according to which security crises must lead to a balance between security and basic rights. Instead of taking this dichotomy for granted, the book investigates how the relation between security, rights and the notion of democracy is framed by lawmakers. It examines 40 debates held in the Knesset on security-oriented laws enacted before, during and after the second Palestinian intifada and demonstrates that two main narratives have constantly competed: one narrative anchored in basic rights and one defensive democracy narrative, which has become dominant and deeply affected the boundaries and meaning of the Israeli democratic regime. The book ultimately opens the possibility to rethink the conventional approach of the security-democracy dilemma and to reflect on processes in other states, such as the United Kingdom or the United States, during security crises. This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, Israeli politics, democracy studies, political theory or International Relations.

 

A Nation Like All Nation: Towards the Establishment of an Israeli Republic

By Moshe Berent
(Israel Academic Press, New York 2015. 412 pages. ISBN: 978-1885881397. Paperback $19.99)
Is there an Israeli nation? How is it related to the historical “Jewish People”? How is it related to the Zionist movement? Under what conditions could non-Jews become equal members of this nation? These and other questions stand at the center of the Moshe Berent’s “A Nation Like All Nations: Towards the Establishment of an Israeli Republic”. The mission of the Zionist movement was to work toward the normalization of Jewish existence: to become “a nation like all nations.” Israel, contrary to that aspiration, is not a normal nation-state, since according to the formal national ethos it belongs to the “Jewish people” and there is no recognized Israeli nation. Dr. Berent asserts that the fusion of nationality and religion, together with the absence of a normal nation-state are the source of Israel’s basic problems and are responsible for Israel’s powerlessness to solve problems – i.e. the status of religion in public life; The relations between seculars and religious; the status of non-Jews, especially Arabs; the absence of a constitution; the inability to agree about borders, or to decide about peace and war. “A Nation Like All Nations: Towards the Establishment of an Israeli Republic” makes the case that a separation between nationality and religion, the recognition in the existence of an Israeli nation, and the establishment of Israel as a republic – as the State of the Israeli nation is a pre-condition for finding the solution of all of these problems.

 

Levi Eshkol – Political Biography 1944-1969 (in Hebrew)

By Arnon Lammfromm
(Resling and Yad Levi Eshkol, 2014, 576 pages + 16 pages of photographs, Paperback, 82 NIS)
The book explores Eshkol's rise to power from his position as MAPAI's secretary in 1944, thru important key positions in Israel in its first years until he became Prime Minister of Israel. Eshkol is the second important leader of Israel in its first 30 years. Only David Ben-Gurion was more important than him. Eshkol directed the Great Settlement (1948-1952), built the Ma'abarot (transition camps, since 1950), conducted the Israeli economy as Finance Minister (1952-1963) and led it to outstanding rise. Finally, as Prime Minister, he founded the strategic alliance between Israel and United States and strengthened IDF – the key points for Israel greatest military victory in 1967.
The book deals with some historical problems in the biography of Eshkol and the history of MAPAI (and later the Labor Party), the dominant party in the Yishuv and Israel until 1977. The main problem is how Eshkol could achieve these great successes without being a charismatic leader gifted with rhetoric abilities? The main answer is that Eshkol was an example of a bureaucratic leader (according to Max Weber's terminology). This was the most important reason for his rise to power until its victory in elections of 1965. In the aftermath of this election Eshkol's position as a bureaucratic leader was weakened. This was one the reasons for losing the Defense Ministry in favor of Moshe Dayan, a charismatic leader, on the eve of the Six Days War.
 

The Cameri Theatre (1945-1961): The Success, the Crisis and Its Healing (in Hebrew)

By Leah Gilula
(Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Press, 2014. 319 pages. ISBN 978-965-217-373-7. Hardcover, 105 NIS).
The Cameri Theatre's first performance, Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters (1945), was an instant success. The new theatre differed from the leading theatres in Palestine, Habima and Ohel, in its choice of repertoire, the Hebrew heard on its stage, the directing and acting style and also in opening its doors to actors and artists that the veteran theatres did not welcome. The great success of The Cameri induced the other theatres to adopt its innovations.
In the 1950s The Cameri was the most popular theatre in Israel. The prosperity, the success and the inauguration of a new theatre building overclouded the inner conflicts, the rivalries and the pressing economic problems. The hidden conflicts finally erupted in "The Big Crisis" (1958). Thanks to the nomination of a new managing director and new work-regulations The Cameri succeeded to recover from its ills and to regain the audience's sympathy.
The book deals with the Cameri as an artistic-cultural institution. It researches the artistic aspects as well as the organizational and the economical aspects of its development, uncovering and highlighting The Cameri's cultural centrality in the 1950s, its profound influence on other theatres and its contribution to the Israeli theatre as well as to the Israeli culture at large. 
 

The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture

by Jonathan Rynhold
(Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781107476400. Paperback, $29.99
This book surveys discourse and opinion in the United States toward the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1991. Contrary to popular myth, it demonstrates that U.S. support for Israel is not based on the pro-Israel lobby, but rather is deeply rooted in American political culture. That support has increased since 9/11. However, the bulk of this increase has been among Republicans, conservatives, evangelicals, and Orthodox Jews. Meanwhile, among Democrats, liberals, the Mainline Protestant Church, and non-Orthodox Jews, criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians has become more vociferous. This book works to explain this paradox.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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