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The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland [Kindle Edition]

Shlomo Sand , Geremy Forman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Groundbreaking new work from the controversial author of Invention of the Jewish People.

What is a homeland and when does it become a national territory? Why have so many people been willing to die for such places throughout the twentieth century? What is the essence of the Promised Land? Following the acclaimed and controversial The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand examines the mysterious sacred land that has become the site of the longest-running national struggle of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Invention of the Land of Israel deconstructs the age-old legends surrounding the Holy Land and the prejudices that continue to suffocate it. Sand’s account dissects the concept of “historical right” and tracks the creation of the modern concept of the “Land of Israel” by nineteenth-century Evangelical Protestants and Jewish Zionists. This invention, he argues, not only facilitated the colonization of the Middle East and the establishment of the State of Israel; it is also threatening the existence of the Jewish state today.

Product Description


A thought-provoking, readable, and important work. --Publisher's Weekly

His achievement consists in debunking a nationalist mythology which holds sway in large sections of popular opinion. It also normalises Jews, since it challenges the belief in exceptionalism... Truth-telling may be painful but necessary. --Donald Sassoon, Guardian

Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book. --Tony Judt, In praise of The Invention of the Jewish People

About the Author

SHLOMO SAND studied History at the University of Tel Aviv and at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He currently teaches Contemporary History at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People and On the Nation and the Jewish People.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1079 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1781680833
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (3 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G2DO8R0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,863 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
In 2008 the Israeli historian Sand published “The Invention of the Jewish People” (see my Amazon review). Four years later he has followed it up with this volume which has much the same agenda: to destroy a myth which has been fostered by the State of Israel to give itself a legitimacy based on history. Whatever reasons there are for supporting the existence of the State of Israel, but historical legitimacy, according to this book, is not one of them:

He begins by pointing out that there is no reference in the Hebrew Bible to the Land of Israel: God promised the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants; the kingdom of Israel referred to the northern kingdom and excluded Jerusalem; the title of the Hasmonean kings and of Herod when they ruled over the two old kingdoms and other lands was King of Judea; the New Testament refers to the area as Judea (except for one exception in Matthew 2:19-21 where Joseph is bidden to take his family from Egypt to the Land of Israel); later the area between the sea and the Jordan was referred to, even by Jews, as Palestine. Sand goes on to stress that Abraham, the four matriarchs, Moses and the Israelites who conquered and depopulated Canaan were all born outside the Promised Land.

The motives of the Jewish revolts in Judea and in Egypt were religious, not territorial. So was the spiritual attachment to Jerusalem of the diaspora Jews in the ancient world, and the same is true of the expression “the land of Israel” which we begin to find in the Talmud. One passage in the Talmud specifically warns Jews against collective migration to the Land of Israel, though another passage urges Jews to live there, and so did the Karaites.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very courageous 24 Sept. 2013
As a Muslim, there is a great lesson of self reflection to be learnt from this critical analysis for creation of the 'myth' of land of Israel, conjured up by Zionists in order to justify forced annexation of Palestine. I have to give credit to Jewish culture for relatively more accepting alternate views instead of rejecting any criticism like my own Islamic culture. This way all the positive and negative aspects of any contentious issue can be very effectively ring fenced within, instead of leaving voids for outsiders to take shots at, like Islam has to go through repeatability.

Sholomo makes a very convincing case against the whole legality of Israel especially when he points out that there was no tradition of pilgrimage in Jews unlike Christianity and Islam. He calls this shift towards pilgrimage 'Christian Zionism'. But I don't really see his objective, for even if Jewish traditions were relatively late in adopting pilgrimage aping Christians, Jewish pilgrimage is here to stay. For I know that in Islam pilgrimage to Kaaba made prominence after the death of the Prophet, for during his life he only made one proper pilgrimage. His first attempt to get to Kaaba was thwarted and he had to make the pilgrimage away from Kaaba, a tradition never really adopted by popular Islam. In this regards I do agree with the author when he suggests that history is directed by a select few writers and scholars of that time who may not be reflecting the view of ordinary masses of that era. I guess the author is attempting to convey his alternate fringe point of view so that future generations can objectify. I don't seriously believe that public opinion will ever change in Israel due to his work though.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A further undermining of Zionist mythology 29 Nov. 2012
By Germinal TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 'The Invention of the Land of Israel', Sand follows up from the
earlier 'The Invention of the Jewish People' and responds to the
challenge of critics to that book who charged Sand with trying to break
the bond of the 'Jewish People' with the 'Land of Israel'. Sand here
sets out to demonstrate that that bond is not of the nature that
Zionists maintain and that the concept of the 'Land of Israel' is itself
a modern creation not of Jewish making.

The book is a good example of an exercise in analysing the creation of a
nationalism via the imaginings and mythologising of politicians and the
reflecting of this mythology back into history in order to,
anachronistically, justify modern belief and practice.

Sand examines the concept of the 'Land of Israel' through history by
examining the Bible, where the 'Land of Israel' appears only once and that is in the
Book of Matthew. In Rabbinical Judasim the Land of Israel begins to be mentioned but, in the Talmud, among medieval philosophers like Maimonides all of whom regarded Jerusalem as holy and special but for whom there there is only a spiritual yearning. Many Jews had the chance to live in the 'Holy Land' and yet chose not to and argued against the small minority who desired to do so such as the Karaites.

Sand demonstrates that the idea of 'The Land of Israel' only really takes off among Protestant Anglicans in the nineteenth century and becomes mixed up with hostility to Jews and to Jewish immigration, with imperialism and with colonial projects to assert ethnic domination and that this is where the origin of both Zionism and of the notion that there ever was a 'Land of Israel' and that it is the home of the Jews lies.

It's a good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very informative and well argued. I have learnt a lot from this book.
Published 2 months ago by penny
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 months ago by cindy d'lequez-sage
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite
Excellent--very well researched, informative and debunks myths that have destroyed people's lives. A must read for anyone who is interested in the Middle East or claims to know its... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vitally Important Book
This is an extremely important book and should be required reading for all who choose to comment on the present problems in the Middle East. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dr. R. Brandon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very important book
Published 8 months ago by Aly Mahmoud Erfan
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting
shlomo is an out spoken academic this work shows how the idea of israel being the promised land has evolved over the years how the idea has been promoted by a cadre of zionist... Read more
Published 10 months ago by m. dosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Invention of the Land of Israel
The book brings together historic views of Israel, and shows the gradual evolution of attitudes in Israel. Read more
Published 10 months ago by chris mellor
4.0 out of 5 stars A voice that should be heard
I purchased this book as a result of a review in the London Times and on investigation soon discovered the strong feelings that it has aroused. Read more
Published 11 months ago by M. K. Barritt
5.0 out of 5 stars Objectivity
It has been well-nigh impossible to come across an objective account of the subject, given the passions aroused by it on both sides, and by the propaganda and spinning thus... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Rev. S. Cunnane
5.0 out of 5 stars Feed back
We'll constructed study. Unbiased really worth reading. This is not a bed time reading. Thoroughly recommend it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mohamed Menabawey
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