Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict

Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict

Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict

Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict

Synopsis

The modern State of Israel is a product of centuries of Jewish history that affect all aspects of Israel's society and culture, its politics, and its policies. Professors Reich and Kieval introduce us to a nation seeking to maintain and enhance its traditions while struggling to deal with present domestic and foreign challenges. They examine the land and people of Israel and the division between Jews of Oriental and Ashkenazi backgrounds as well as the division between Jewish and Arab citizens, before turning to the economic concerns facing a country virtually devoid of natural resources. Their discussion of Israel's history provides the background for a detailed consideration of the dynamics of its political system. This new edition offers a comprehensive analysis of the implications of the 1988 and 1992 elections, the far-reaching impacts of the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, and the evolution of Israel's special relationship with the Reagan and Bush administrations. Reich and Kieval also offer a thoughtful discussion of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, focusing on the rise of the intifada and the current peace negotiations.

Excerpt

Israel is a state imbued with tradition and beset by conflict. It was born of Jewish tradition with thousands of years of history but has been beset by conflict deriving from the Arab-Israeli dispute and from internal tensions arising from the division between Arabs and Jews and between Jews of differing traditions and backgrounds.

The modern State of Israel is a product of centuries of Jewish heritage and history that affect all aspects of its national life. Yet, at the same time, it is the result of a unique confluence of forces and events that have characterized the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including two world wars and the Holocaust. Other states have achieved independence in this same period and have been influenced by similar forces, but Israel remains unique because of its Jewish and Zionist heritage.

Israel's special role as the world's only Jewish state, and its consequent linkage to Jews everywhere, has had a manifold and multifaceted effect on its activities and has generated interests and policies, and created situations, unparalleled elsewhere. It sees itself as a spiritual center for world Jewry and as a haven for its persecuted numbers: Israel has been the focal point for worldwide Jewish concern and cultural, philanthropic, and political activity.

Although small in size and population, Israel elicits substantial international interest as a consequence of its unique situation. Its rapid development and impressive accomplishments in the social and scientific arenas have been widely admired, and it has been the region's most politically and socially innovative state. Notwithstanding its estrangement from much of the Third World with which it shares numerous characteristics, it has become increasingly important as a central actor in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict has been the focal point of attention of much of the international community.

Although Israel is a modern country the historical forces that formed it, led to its independence, and shaped its society and culture, its . . .

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