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This review is from: History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (Paperback)
Professor Zachar's book commences with Napoleon meeting the French Jewish community's leaders,and ends with the death of Yitzhak Rabin."Comprehensive" is putting it mildly
The early chapters,which spell out the beginings of modern Zionism,mostly in eastern Europe,are great-I knew very little about this prior to reading the book.It then goes on to the begining of the Zionist settlements in the late 19th century and tells the story of both the Jewish and Palestinian communities very well from there onwards.
Two themes mark out Zachar's book from other histories.One is his stress on the role of circumstance,chance and luck in the intertwined histories of the Jews and Palestinians.The idea that there was (or is) some monolithic conspiracy dedicated to doing down either the Jews or the Palestinians is shown to be nonsense.Zachar shows that with just slight differences-slightly higher or lower Jewish immigartion,a more cohesive Palestinian leadership at crucial times,fewer Palestinians fleeing after 1948,a less pro-Israeli US Jewish leadership-it could all have turned out completely differently.
Another is that Zachar investigates and writes about the problems of Palestinians or Israeli Arabs or whatever they like to call themselves,who stayed in Israel after 1948.These people are usually conspicuous by their absence in standard histories of Israel.Zachar redresses the balance here.
Overall,very well written,accurate and(mostly)objective.Recommended.