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Books on Israel, Volume IV
Original review essays that provide critical commentary on recently published books and films on Israeli society, culture, politics, and religion. This book is part of a series of review volumes sponsored by the Association for Israel Studies that provides a framework for discussion of research and scholarship on all aspects of Israeli society. It brings together original review essays commenting on issues in Israeli society, culture, politics, religion, literature, and film. The authors’ evaluations of recently published books go beyond critical commentary on the works themselves to include the state of scholarship and social conditions. Among the issues addressed are the conflict over water resources, the human dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, local governance, and the court system. The book provides reviews and commentary, not only on scholarly works but also on memoirs of military leaders at the time of the Yom Kippur war, Sephardi novels on the shock of immigration and on Israeli orthodox Judaism, and politically oriented cinema and literature of the 1980s and 1990s.
The Christian World in Israel's Foreign Policy, 1948-1967
The official establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948 constituted the realization of the Zionist vision, but military victory left in its wake internal and external survival issues that would threaten this historic achievement for decades to come. The refusal of the international community to recognize the political, geographic, and demographic results of the War of Independence presented Israel with a permanent regional security threat, while isolating and alienating it in the international arena. One of the most formidable problems Israeli foreign policy faced was the stance of the Christian world toward the new state. Attitudes ranged from hostility and categorical non-recognition by the Catholic Church, through Protestant ambivalence, to Evangelical support. Cross on the Star of David presents the first scholarly analysis, based on newly declassified documents, of Israeli policymaking on this issue. Uri Bialer focuses on the impact that modes of thinking rooted in the historical tradition of Jewish-Christian interactions had on Israeli policymakers and concludes that they were not innocent of the perceptions and biases that influenced the Christian world's behavior toward Israel. The result is a fine-grained, original interpretation of an important dimension of Israeli foreign policy from the founding of the State to the 1967 War.
For centuries travelers have been drawn to the stunning and mysterious Dead Sea and Jordan River, a region which is unlike any other on earth in its religious and historical significance. In this exceptionally engaging and readable book, Barbara Kreiger chronicles the natural and human history of these storied bodies of water, drawing on accounts by travelers, pilgrims, and explorers from ancient times to the present. She conveys the blend of spiritual, touristic, and scientific motivations that have driven exploration and describes the modern exploitation of the lake and the surrounding area through mineral extraction and agriculture. Today, both lake and river are in crisis, and stewardship of these water resources is bound up with political conflicts in the region. The Dead Sea and the Jordan River combines history, literature, travelogue, and natural history in a way that makes it hard to put down.
A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy
Defending the Holy Land is the most comprehensive analysis to date of Israel's national security and foreign policy, from the inception of the State of Israel to the present. Author Zeev Maoz's unique double perspective, as both an expert on the Israeli security establishment and esteemed scholar of Mideast politics, enables him to describe in harrowing detail the tragic recklessness and self-made traps that pervade the history of Israeli security operations and foreign policy. Most of the wars in which Israel was involved, Maoz shows, were entirely avoidable, the result of deliberate Israeli aggression, flawed decision-making, and misguided conflict management strategies. None, with the possible exception of the 1948 War of Independence, were what Israelis call "wars of necessity." They were all wars of choice-or, worse, folly. Demonstrating that Israel's national security policy rested on the shaky pairing of a trigger-happy approach to the use of force with a hesitant and reactive peace diplomacy, Defending the Holy Land recounts in minute-by-minute detail how the ascendancy of Israel's security establishment over its foreign policy apparatus led to unnecessary wars and missed opportunites for peace. A scathing and brilliant revisionist history, Defending the Holy Land calls for sweeping reform of Israel's foreign policy and national security establishments. This book will fundamentally transform the way readers think about Israel's troubled history. Zeev Maoz is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He is the former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, as well as the former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces' National Defense College. Cover photograph: Israel, Jerusalem, Western Wall and The Dome of The Rock. Courtesy of Corbis.
Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter
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 Neighbors boldly 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.
Courageous and deeply compelling, Defining Neighbors is a landmark book that fundamentally recasts our understanding of the modern Jewish-Arab encounter and of the Middle East conflict today.
Explores and illustrates how domestic and international factors shape the direction of democratization process with special reference to constitution making process in Turkey. Describes how all five Turkish constitutions were, by and large, the products of indigenous effort, although borrowing could be felt in certain limited areas. Argues that the constitutional reforms in the post-1983 period were the outco me of broad inter-party negotiations and agree ments as a response to the society’s demands for a more democratic and liberal political system. Finally, the constitutional revisions adopted since 1995 were strongly conditioned by Turkey’s hope of accession to the European Union. With these reforms, Turkey was successful in meeting the political criteria and started accession negotiations with the EU.
Private Salvation in Contemporary Israel
The author examines the varieties of religious and secular salvation that have recently appeared in Israel as evidence for Israelis’ willingness to embrace private salvation in the face of immense cultural upheavals. Drawing on interviews, field observations, clinical data, and media reports collected over ten years, he surveys four roads to private salvation: the return to Judaism, new religions (sects or cults), psychotherapy movements such as est, and occultism. These dramatic forms of conversion are unique to Israeli society within the last decade, and Beit-Hallahmi provides a social history and social psychology of this transformation.
Arab-Jewish Encounters in Israel
Explores Arab-Jewish encounters and relations in Israel from both conflict resolution and educational perspectives. This is the first study to introduce the subject of Arab-Jewish relations and encounters in Israel from both conflict resolution and educational perspectives. Through a critical examination of Arab and Jewish encounter programs in Israel, the book reviews conflict resolution and intergroup theories and processes which are utilized in dealing with ethnic conflicts and offers a detailed presentation of intervention models applied by various encounter programs to promote dialogue, education for peace, and democracy between Arabs and Jews in Israel. The author investigates how encounter designs and processes can become part of a control system used by the dominant governmental majority’s institutes to maintain the status quo and reinforce political taboos. Also discussed are the different conflict perceptions held by Arabs and Jews, the relationship between those perceptions, and both sides’ expectations of the encounters. Abu-Nimer explores the impact of the political context (Intifada, Gulf War, and peace process) on the intervention design and process of those encounter groups, and contains a list of recommendations and guidelines to consider when designing and conducting encounters between ethnic groups. He reveals and explains why the Arab and Jewish encounter participants and leaders have different criteria of their encounter’s success and failure. The study is also applicable to dialogue and coexistence programs and conflict resolution initiatives in other ethnically divided societies, such as South Africa, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Sri Lanka, where the minority and majority have struggled to find peaceful ways to coexist.
Since 9/11, Pakistan has loomed large in the geopolitical imagination of the West. A key ally in the global war on terror, it is also the country in which Osama bin Laden was finally found and killed—and the one that has borne the brunt of much of the ongoing conflict’s collateral damage. Despite its prominence on the front lines and on the front pages, Pakistan has been depicted by Western observers simplistically in terms of its corruption, its fundamentalist Islamic beliefs, and its propensity for violence. Dispatches from Pakistan, in contrast, reveals the complexities, the challenges, and the joys of daily life in the country, from the poetry of Gilgit to the graffiti of Gwadar, from an army barrack in Punjab to the urban politics of Karachi.
This timely book brings together journalists, activists, academics, and artists to provide a rich, in-depth, and intriguing portrait of contemporary Pakistani society. Straddling a variety of boundaries—geographic, linguistic, and narrative—Dispatches from Pakistan is a vital attempt to speak for the multitude of Pakistanis who, in the face of seemingly unimaginable hardships, from drone strikes to crushing poverty, remain defiantly optimistic about their future. While engaging in conversations on issues that make the headlines in the West, the contributors also introduce less familiar dimensions of Pakistani life, highlighting the voices of urban poets, rural laborers, industrial workers, and religious-feminist activists—and recovering Pakistani society’s inquilabi (revolutionary) undercurrents and its hopeful overtones.
Contributors: Mahvish Ahmad; Nosheen Ali, U of California, Berkeley; Shafqat Hussain, Trinity College; Humeira Iqtidar, King’s College London; Amina Jamal, Ryerson U; Hafeez Jamali, U of Texas at Austin; Iqbak Khattak; Zahra Malkani; Raza Mir; Hammad Nasar; Junaid Rana, U of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign; Maliha Safri, Drew U; Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Lahore U of Management Sciences; Ayesha Siddiqa; Sultan-i-Rome, Government Jahanzeb Postgraduate College, Swat, Pakistan; Saadia Toor, Staten Island College.
Understanding the New Middle East
The Arab Spring unleashed forces of liberation and social justice that swept across North Africa and the Middle East with unprecedented speed, ferocity, and excitement. Although the future of the democratic uprisings against oppressive authoritarian regimes remains uncertain in many places, the revolutionary wave that started in Tunisia in December 2010 has transformed how the world sees Arab peoples and politics. Bringing together the knowledge of activists, scholars, journalists, and policy experts uniquely attuned to the pulse of the region, Dispatches from the Arab Spring offers an urgent and engaged analysis of a remarkable ongoing world-historical event that is widely misinterpreted in the West.
Tracing the flows of protest, resistance, and counterrevolution in every one of the countries affected by this epochal change—from Morocco to Iraq and Syria to Sudan—the contributors provide ground-level reports and new ways of teaching about and understanding the Middle East in general, and contextualizing the social upheavals and political transitions that defined the Arab Spring in particular. Rejecting outdated and invalid (yet highly influential) paradigms to analyze the region—from depictions of the “Arab street” as a mindless, reactive mob to the belief that Arab culture was “unfit” for democratic politics—this book offers fresh insights into the region’s dynamics, drawing from social history, political geography, cultural creativity, and global power politics. Dispatches from the Arab Spring is an unparalleled introduction to the changing Middle East and offers the most comprehensive and accurate account to date of the uprisings that profoundly reshaped North Africa and the Middle East.
Contributors: Sheila Carapico, U of Richmond; Nouri Gana, UCLA; Toufic Haddad; Adam Hanieh, SOAS/U of London; Toby C. Jones, Rutgers U; Anjali Kamat; Khalid Medani, McGill U; Merouan Mekouar; Maya Mikdashi, NYU; Paulo Gabriel Hilu Pinto, U Federal Fluminense, Brazil; Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College, CUNY; Ahmad Shokr; Susan Slyomovics, UCLA; Haifa Zangana.