The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul Paperback – 4 May 2001
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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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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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