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The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul Paperback – 4 May 2001

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Amazon Review

The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul is a powerful assessment of "post-Zionist" Israeli culture--the Jewish movement that seeks to overturn traditional notions of Israel as a Jewish state. Author Yoram Hazony, who has been a participant in some of the most significant stages of the Middle East peace process, investigates the cultural and political history of post-Zionism, the extent of its current influence, and its potential effects in the future. The Jewish State includes a previously unknown story about some of this century's most important Jewish intellectuals--including Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, and Gershom Scholem (They opposed the establishment of Israel, and later leveraged the power of Hebrew University to depose David Ben-Gurion and defame the Labour Zionism that helped give birth to Israel). Ironically, Hazony takes succour from this story because he says that it offers "the lesson of how a small fellowship of intellectuals, without the benefit of exceptionally sensible ideas or especially cogent means of expressing them, nonetheless succeeded in changing the life of a nation, against all odds". So, Hazony imagines that a few individuals with more sensible ideas, better attuned to the desires of Israel's people, might be able to re-establish that nation "as a guardian of the Jews and a source of strength to them". Hazony is a sturdy thinker and a persuasive polemicist, and The Jewish State may prove to be a very influential book. --Ali Perry-Gallagher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Yoram Hazony is the founder and former president of the Shalem Center, where he is currently a senior fellow. He is the author of The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther (Shalem Press, 1995) and The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul (New Republic/Basic Books, 2000), and has written for newspapers and magazines including The New Republic and The New York Times. Hazony received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Ph.D from Rutgers University, and served as a member of the Israeli delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9248ef48) out of 5 stars 21 reviews
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91398714) out of 5 stars Israel, a post-Jewish state 30 April 2000
By Leonid Petlakh - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The author raises some controversial and challenging questions in his new book. Observing vanishing Zionist idealism, self-sacrifice and the disappering reason d-etre for having a Jewish state, the author confronts and exposes those intellectuals in the Jewish state who want to do away with the Jewish charachter of the state of Israel. The author poignantly shows how dangerous the elite idealogues are for the conscience. This book is a critical response to those who want to accomplish what the enemies of Israel were unable to do: to destroy the state of Israel, not physically but spiritually, from within, under the banner of progressive cosmopolitan liberalism. It's these post-Zionists, whose roots are in German Jewish philosophy transplanted to Israel by immigrants of the 30's (Buber, Arendt, Sholem) that have provided inspiration to the post-Zionists in today's Israel. By exposing their hostility to the Zionist state, as envisioned by the fathers of the Jewish state, the author shows the peril to the Jewishness of the state of Israel from these revisionist authors.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91398978) out of 5 stars Essential Reading 9 Jan. 2005
By Monty Rainey - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book takes you through the evolution of Zionism over the last 100+ years. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn about the unending problems of the land of Palestine.

Hazony is an excellent writer. The book begins as a slow, lumbering read, hard to get into, but you must get through the Introduction and first few Chapters. Then the book begins to roll and you will find yourself unable to put it down. The only complaint I have of this book is that mine is the paperback edition and the print font is too small. Spend a few extra dollars and get the hardback if you are over 40 and need reading glasses.

Yoram Hazony writes and expresses so clearly what has been on so many of our minds when we see Israel today. The anti-Jewish influence shows up on Israeli TV, in Israeli schoolbooks, Meretz party, and such anti-Zionist newspapers as Ha'aretz. Hazony tells us who these people are and what their background is.

The book describes in great detail, the workings of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Buber. The inner workings of modern Israeli government are carefully dissected. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the intellectual struggle that is as important to the State as relations with its Arab neighbors. Hazony's unimpeachable scholarship and his fluid writing style makes it an enjoyable must read.

Monty Rainey

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By Allen Roth - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who believes that all Israelis believe that there should be a Jewish State needs to read Hazony's THE JEWISH STATE. Hazony clearly and convincingly demonstrates that Israel's intellectual elite has opposed the concept of a Jewish State from the begining. This book is an eye opener as it documents the power and the arguments of the post-zionists. This is especially relevant now that one of their leaders Shimon Peres is likely to become Israel's next President.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the intellectual struggle that is as important to the State as relations with its arab neighbors. Hazony's unimpeachable scholarship and his fluid writing style makes it an enjoyable must read.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91598780) out of 5 stars Not simply for intellectuals 5 Jan. 2001
By Colin P. Davy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First some background about me! I was 11 yrs. old in 1939 and grew up with an interest in world history at a time when history was being made. I admit to inheriting a lot of misconceptions and incomplete information on the subject of the Middle East, Palestine, Israel, the Balfour Declaration and the Jews. I took this book with me as holiday reading material and had to persevere to get through the Introduction and Part One which is essential reading to benefit from the whole volume. Coming to the second part which deals with the History of the Jewish State I simply could not put it down! In a way I wish that Mr.Hazony had included more explanatory detail and that the Notes, contained at the end of the book, had been printed as footnotes, for it is important to read them along with the text. However, this book has defintely prompted me to pursue a new phase of an old interest and I shall certainly be searching the catalogue of my local library for further reading. And isn't that what a good book, well researched and well written should do for an active and enquiring mind?
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x915986f0) out of 5 stars The ideas of "The Jewish State" 27 Aug. 2000
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Zionism, the ideology that brought the modern state of Israel to life, cast a parabolic arc over the twentieth century. Launched by Theodor Herzl just before the century began, the Zionist movement reached its blazing apogee at mid-century when David Ben-Gurion led Israel through its War of Independence. Since then, according to Yoram Hazony in his new book "The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul", the trajectory for Zionism has been an ever-steepening descent toward the horizon of Jewish consciousness. In Hazony's view, the gravitational force for this descent has been provided in large part by the writings of the great Hebrew University sociologist Martin Buber and his academic and literary descendents.
The labors of these three men; Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Buber, described concisely but with insight and passion, provide the narrative thread for Hazony's book. His views are of course much more in line with the nation-state ideas of Herzl and Ben-Gurion, but he treats the universalist ideas of Buber with intellectual rigor and fairness. This is not suprising, because for Hazony, ideas are what matter most. Herzl's famous phrase "No man is strong or wealthy enough to move a people, only an idea can do that," is a good one sentence summary of Hazony's main theme. Ideas created modern Israel. Ideas have brought it to its current self-doubting impasse. What Israel needs now, more than anything else, are ideas big enough to, in Hazony's eloquent closing words "assist the Jewish people to again become a nation of grandeur and a blessing to all who befriend them, perhaps even to all the families of the earth."
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