Israel is a tiny state, and yet it has captured the world's attention, aroused its imagination, and, lately, been the object of its opprobrium. Why does such a small country speak to so many global concerns? More pressingly: Why does Israel make the decisions it does? And what lies in its future? We cannot answer these questions until we understand Israel's people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions.
Reviled as a fascist by his great rival Ben-Gurion, venerated by Israel’s underclass, the first Israeli to win the Nobel Peace Prize, a proud Jew but not a conventionally religious one, Menachem Begin was both complex and controversial. Born in Poland in 1913, Begin was a youthful admirer of the Revisionist Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky and soon became a leader within Jabotinsky’s Betar movement.
The Jewish State must end, say its enemies, from intellectuals like Tony Judt to hate-filled demagogues like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even average Israelis are wondering if they wouldn't be better off somewhere else. A country which once restored hope to Jews world-over now feels itself slipping. Increasingly, Israelis wonder how much has really been accomplished and whether they ought to persevere.
"Over promises and under delivers"
Israel's critics in the West insist that no country founded on a single religion or culture can stay democratic and prosperous - but they're wrong. In The Promise of Israel, Daniel Gordis points out that Israel has defied that conventional wisdom. It has provided its citizens infinitely greater liberty and prosperity than anyone expected, faring far better than any other young nation. Israel's "magic" is a unique blend of democracy and tradition, of unabashed particularism coupled to intellectual and cultural openness.
"Book of Tolerance"