Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century

Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century

Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century

Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century

Synopsis

Most Americans are ill-prepared to engage thoughtfully in the increasingly serious debate about Israel, its place in the Middle East, and its relations with the United States. Essential Israel examines a wide variety of complex issues and current concerns in historical and contemporary contexts to provide readers with an intimate sense of the dynamic society and culture that is Israel today. The expert contributors to this volume address the Arab-Israeli conflict, the state of diplomatic efforts to bring about peace, Zionism and the impact of the Holocaust, the status of the Jewish state and Israeli democracy, foreign relations, immigration and Israeli identity, as well as literature, film, and the other arts. This unique and innovative volume provides solid grounding to understandings of Israel's history, politics, culture, and possibilities for the future.

Excerpt

S. ILAN TROEN AND RACHEL FISH

What does it mean to be literate about Israel, and what does this have to do with you?

American academics, educators, community and religious leaders, students, laypeople, Jews, Christians, and Muslims are regularly confronted with conflicting reports on Israel in newspaper, radio, TV, or online news. Often complex situations are reduced to oversimplified sound bites, and even longer accounts focus on the immediacy of events and invite us to form opinions and take sides on issues we actually know very little about.

One important reason for this is that Israel was not a significant area of study in university curricula until very recently; only within the last decade have courses on Israel been offered on American campuses. As a result, most Americans are ill-prepared to engage seriously in the increasingly serious public debates about Israel as a beleaguered democratic state in the Middle East and its relation to the United States. Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century examines a wide variety of complex issues and current concerns in an essential historical context, and it does so in a single volume that highlights their interconnectedness.

This unique collection of voices develops a grounded, multifaceted mosaic of Israel’s dynamic society and culture and addresses both Israel’s struggle to be a Jewish and democratic state with a place in the Middle East, and US ties to Israel. A highly readable and maximally informative volume, it includes a series of autonomous essays that range . . .

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