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Zion's Dilemmas

How Israel Makes National Security Policy

by Charles D. Freilich

In Zion's Dilemmas, a former deputy national security advisor to the State of Israel details the history and, in many cases, the chronic inadequacies in the making of Israeli national security policy. Chuck Freilich identifies profound, ongoing problems that he ascribes to a series of factors: a hostile and highly volatile regional environment, Israel's proportional representation electoral system, and structural peculiarities of the Israeli government and bureaucracy.

Freilich uses his insider understanding and substantial archival and interview research to describe how Israel has made strategic decisions and to present a first of its kind model of national security decision-making in Israel. He analyzes the major events of the last thirty years, from Camp David I to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, through Camp David II, the Gaza Disengagement Plan of 2000, and the second Lebanon war of 2006.

In these and other cases he identifies opportunities forgone, failures that resulted from a flawed decision-making process, and the entanglement of Israeli leaders in an inconsistent, highly politicized, and sometimes improvisational planning process. The cabinet is dysfunctional and Israel does not have an effective statutory forum for its decision-making-most of which is thus conducted in informal settings. In many cases policy objectives and options are poorly formulated. For all these problems, however, the Israeli decision-making process does have some strengths, among them the ability to make rapid and flexible responses, generally pragmatic decision-making, effective planning within the defense establishment, and the skills and motivation of those involved. Freilich concludes with cogent and timely recommendations for reform.

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Zionism and the Roads Not Taken

Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn

Noam Pianko

Today, Zionism is understood as a national movement whose primary historical goal was the establishment of a Jewish state. However, Zionism's association with national sovereignty was not foreordained. Zionism and the Roads Not Taken uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism's central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state: historian Simon Rawidowicz, religious thinker Mordecai Kaplan, and political theorist Hans Kohn. Although their models differed, each of these three thinkers conceived of a more practical and ethical paradigm of national cohesion that was not tied to a sovereign state. Recovering these roads not taken helps us to reimagine Jewish identity and collectivity, past, present, and future.

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Zionism in Arab discourses

Uriya Shavit

Zionism in Arab discourses presents a ground-breaking study of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Through analyses of hundreds of texts written by Arab Islamists and liberals from the late-nineteenth century to the 'Arab Spring', the book demonstrates that the Zionist enterprise has played a dual function of an enemy and a mentor. Islamists and liberals alike discovered, respectively, in Zionism and in Israeli society qualities they sought to implement in their sown homelands. Focusing on Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian political discourses, this study uncovers fascinating and unexpected Arab points of views on different aspects of Zionism; from the first Zionist Congress to the First Lebanon War; from gardening in the early years of Tel Aviv to women's service in the Israeli Defence Forces; from the role of religion in the creation of the state to the role of democracy in its preservation. This study presents the debates between and within contesting Arab ideological trends on a conflict that has shaped, and is certain to continue and shape, one of the most complicated regions in the world.

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Zionism

Past and Present

Traces the dialectical connections between Zionism’s past and present. In Zionism, the late Nathan Rotenstreich traces the dialectical connections between Zionism’s past and present based on his contention that the Jewish nation comprises both the State of Israel and the Diaspora. He also addresses relations between both Israel and the Diaspora, on the one hand, and Israel and the Arab world, on the other. Written a short time before Rotenstreich’s death, Zionism can be regarded as his spiritual and ideological legacy.

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Zionism without Zion

The Jewish Territorial Organization and Its Conflict with the Zionist Organization

Gur Alroey

While the ideologies of Territorialism and Zionism originated at the same time, the Territorialists foresaw a dire fate for Eastern European Jews, arguing that they could not wait for the Zionist Organization to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. This pessimistic worldview led Territorialists to favor a solution for the Jewish state "here and now"-and not only in the Land of Israel. In Zionism without Zion: The Jewish Territorial Organization and Its Conflict with the Zionist Organization, author Gur Alroey examines this group's unique perspective, its struggle with the Zionist movement, its Zionist rivals' response, and its diplomatic efforts to obtain a territory for the Jewish people in the first decades of the twentieth century. Alroey begins by examining the British government's Uganda Plan and the ensuing crisis it caused in the Zionist movement and Jewish society. He details the founding of the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) in 1903 and explains the varied reactions that the Territorialist ideology received from Zionists and settlers in Palestine. Alroey also details the diplomatic efforts of Territorialists during their desperate search for a suitable territory, which ultimately never bore fruit. Finally, he attempts to understand the reasons for the ITO's dissolution after the Balfour Declaration, explores the revival of Territorialism with the New Territorialists in the 1930s and 1940s, and describes the similarities and differences between the movement then and its earlier version. Zionism without Zion sheds new light on the solutions Territorialism proposed to alleviate the hardship of Eastern European Jews at the start of the twentieth century and offers fresh insights into the challenges faced by Zionism in the same era. The thorough discussion of this under-studied ideology will be of considerable interested to scholars of Eastern European history, Jewish history, and Israel studies.

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A Zionist among Palestinians

Hillel Bardin. Foreword by Mubarak Awad and Edward (Edy) Kaufman

A Zionist among Palestinians offers the perspective of an ordinary Israeli citizen who became concerned about the Israeli military's treatment of Palestinians and was moved to work for peace. Hillel Bardin, a confirmed Zionist, was a reservist in the Israeli army during the first intifada when he met Palestinians arrested by his unit. He learned that they supported peace with Israel and the then-taboo proposal for a two-state solution, and that they understood the intifada as a struggle to achieve these goals. Bardin began to organize dialogues between Arabs and Israelis in West Bank villages, towns, and refugee camps. In 1988, he was jailed for meeting with Palestinians while on active duty in Ramallah. Over the next two decades, he participated in a variety of peace organizations and actions, from arranging for Israelis to visit Palestinian communities and homes, to the joint jogging group "Runners for Peace," to marches, political organizing, and demonstrations supporting peace, security, and freedom. In this very personal account, Bardin tries to come to grips with the conflict in a way that takes account of both Israeli-Zionist and Palestinian aims.

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The Zionist Churches in Malawi

History - Theology - Anthropology

Ulf Strohbehn

This book presents an African Christian movement full of vitality and creativity. The reader will meet believers who drink milk so that they may dream about angels, reports about funerals where the mourners dance with the coffin on their shoulders and church members who are ritually not allowed to fertilize their fields or wear neck ties. The author’s unique insight into Malawi’s Christian community addresses important issues in society. Why have ‘Spirit Churches,’ including Pentecostalism, been so successful in Malawi? Why do some religious groups still refuse medical help, up to the point that children die of cholera? How did the independent churches deal with the colonial trauma? In this masterful portrait, Strohbehn takes the reader from industrial mine compounds to rural colonies, where churches have set up their own spiritual and political rule. He carefully dissects the fine lines between traditional notions and Christianity’s influence. We find a spiritual portrait of the Ngoni people, a fascinating cultural analysis of dancing and an encounter with a unique style of preaching.

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The Zionist Ideas

Visions for the Jewish Homeland—Then, Now, Tomorrow

Gil Troy

The most comprehensive Zionist collection ever published, The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland—Then, Now, Tomorrow sheds light on the surprisingly diverse and shared visions for realizing Israel as a democratic Jewish state. Building on Arthur Hertzberg’s classic, The Zionist Idea, Gil Troy explores the backstories, dreams, and legacies of more than 170 passionate Jewish visionaries—quadruple Hertzberg’s original number and now including women, mizrachim, and others—from the 1800s to today.

Troy divides the thinkers into six Zionist schools of thought—Political, Revisionist, Labor, Religious, Cultural, and Diaspora Zionism—and reveals the breadth of the debate and surprising syntheses. He also presents the visionaries within three major stages of Zionist development, demonstrating the length and evolution of the conversation. Part 1 (pre-1948) introduces the pioneers who founded the Jewish state, such as Herzl, Gordon, Jabotinsky, Kook, Ha’am, and Szold. Part 2 (1948 to 2000) features builders who actualized and modernized the Zionist blueprints, such as Ben-Gurion, Berlin, Meir, Begin, Soloveitchik, Uris, and Kaplan. Part 3 showcases today’s torchbearers, including Barak, Grossman, Shaked, Lau, Yehoshua, and Sacks.

This mosaic of voices will engage equally diverse readers in reinvigorating the Zionist conversation—weighing and developing the moral, social, and political character of the Jewish state of today and tomorrow.
 

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The Zionist Paradox

Hebrew Literature and Israeli Identity

Yigal Schwartz

Many contemporary Israelis suffer from a strange condition. Despite the obvious successes of the Zionist enterprise and the State of Israel, tension persists, with a collective sense that something is wrong and should be better. This cognitive dissonance arises from the disjunction between “place” (defined as what Israel is really like) and “Place” (defined as the imaginary community comprised of history, myth, and dream).

Through the lens of five major works in Hebrew by writers Abraham Mapu (1853), Theodor Herzl (1902), Yosef Luidor (1912), Moshe Shamir (1948), and Amos Oz (1963), Schwartz unearths the core of this paradox as it evolves over one hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s.

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Zionists in Interwar Czechoslovakia

Minority Nationalism and the Politics of Belonging

Tatjana Lichtenstein

This book presents an unconventional history of minority nationalism in interwar Eastern Europe. Focusing on an influential group of grassroots activists, Tatjana Lichtenstein uncovers Zionist projects intended to sustain the flourishing Jewish national life in Czechoslovakia.The book shows that Zionism was not an exit strategy for Jews, but as a ticket of admission to the societies they already called home.It explores how and why Zionists envisioned minority nationalism as a way to construct Jews’ belonging and civic equality in Czechoslovakia.By giving voice to the diversity of aspirations within interwar Zionism, the book offers a fresh view of minority nationalism and state building in Eastern Europe.

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