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Reading List

Myths and Facts

Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
by Mitchell Geoffrey Bard

The definitive fact book, well organized and well researched, on the key issues underlying the conflict.  An excellent reference.

A Match Made in Heaven A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man’s Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance
by Zev Chafets

Zev Chafets spent a year exploring the bond between Jews and Christian evangelicals and their common love for Israel.  The result — “equal parts history, comedy, travelogue, and political tract” — is an informative, engaging, and entertaining report.

The 188th Crybaby Brigade 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah
by Joel Chasnoff

Joel Chasnoff is a twenty-four years old American graduate of an Ivy League university who volunteers to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.   As a member of the 188th Armored Brigade, Chasnoff finds himself fighting Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.  This account of daily life in the IDF, messy Israeli politics, and Joel’s relationship with his Israeli girlfriend is as hilarious as it is poignant.

The Case for Israel The Case for Israel
by Alan Dershowitz

Dershowitz is “an ardent, eloquent, but not always uncritical defender of Israel. This book is written in the form of a legal brief. He does not seek to defend particular policies of the current Israeli government. In fact, Dershowitz has frequently criticized some Israeli policies toward Palestinians, particularly regarding West Bank settlements. Rather, here he attempts to rebut what he views as the more general and blatantly discriminatory criticisms of Israel as a state and culture. […] Dershowitz is a passionate but generally fair and honest advocate for his position.” —Booklist

Understanding the Holy Land Understanding the Holy Land: Answering questions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
by Mitch Frank

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unlike any other situation in the world today. It’s in the news daily, can spark intense emotional arguments, and influences American foreign policy. Yet, a real understanding of this heated conflict is hard to come by.  Mitch Frank offers straightforward explanations and answers to questions from “What is intifada?” to “Why is peace so hard?,” carefully covering the significant developments of this complex disagreement.

Never Again? Never Again?
by Abraham Foxman

Anti-Semitism remains a pernicious form of ethnic and religious intolerance and an assault on the fundamentals of human dignity and human rights. Exploring the history of anti-Semitism and providing the first comprehensive examination of the new rampant anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, offers a crucial discussion of the steps that must be taken to prevent this century from witnessing a replay of the horrors of the last.

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn
by Daniel Gordis

The first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present day: An overview of Israel’s people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions.

Saving Israel

Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End
by Daniel Gordis

Daniel Gordis offers a new defense of the Jewish state, asking first why Israel is necessary, and then discussing what Israel has to do in order to survive its enemies. Gordis discusses Israel’s purpose and the ways in which Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere. In the process, he grapples with controversial questions about Israel, Israeli Arabs, Muslims, and the International community.

The Other War
by Stephanie Gutmann
An excellent overview of the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explaining how journalists develop and communicate their viewpoints regarding the situation.
Like Dreamers Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation
by Yossi Klein Halevi

The best history of modern-day Israel was not written by a historian. This epic page-turner follows the men of the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade from the dramatic fighting in Jerusalem in 1967 through their paths in the ensuing 40 years. The kibbutzniks and the settlers ended up as religious-Zionist leaders, a musician, an entrepreneur, an artist, and even a spy for Syria.

View from the Eye of the Storm View from the Eye of the Storm: Terror and Reason in the Middle East
by Haim Harari

An insightful and humerous view at life in Israel through the eyes of a “proverbial taxi driver.”

7 Principles of Zionism The 7 Principles of Zionism: A Values-Based Approach to Israel
by Dan Illouz

A simple (and sometimes simplistic) but effective framework for defending and promoting Israel and its values.

Palestine Betrayed Palestine Betrayed
by Efraim Karsh

A detailed and thoughtful analysis, grounded in historical documents, of the sources and causes of the Jewish-Arab confrontation and appropriation in Palestine from the 1920s to the 1947 U.N. Partition resolution. [See here for a review by Daniel Pipes in National Review.]
Right to Exist Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars
by Yaakov Lozowick

“Lozowick, a historian and former peace activist, convincingly asserts that Israel is struggling against opponents whose goal is the eventual destruction of the Jewish state. In examining the entire history of the Zionist enterprise, he illustrates both the moral justification of that enterprise and of the wars Israelis have been compelled to fight to preserve their independence. [….] An eloquent and necessary justification of Israel’s right to defend itself.”–Booklist

Exile Exile
by Richard North Patterson

A work of fiction — a novel — that uses as a backdrop the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A good introduction to the narratives of each sides, the complexities of the situation, and the challenges of finding a solution — presented in a page-turner political thriller.

Ally Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide
by Michael B. Oren
Michael Oren’s memoir of his time as Israel’s ambassador to the United States (2009-2013)—a period of transformative change for America and a time of violent upheaval throughout the Middle East—provides a frank, fascinating look inside the special relationship between America and its closest ally in the region. (See also No Way To Treat An Ally by Gary Rosenblatt, The Jewish Week, June 17, 2015; and video: Michael Oren Interviewed by Daniel Pipes (60’04”), Free Library of Philadelphia, June 24, 2015.)
The Missing Peace
by Dennis Ross
“The ultimate insider’s account of the roller-coaster ride of the Middle East peace process from 1988 to the breakdown of talks in 2001. More than anything else, Ross, the chief U.S. negotiator for Presidents Bush 41 and Clinton, has written an epic diplomat’s handbook.”
Israel: An Introduction Israel: An Introduction by Barry RubinA well-rounded introduction to Israel’s past and present by a leading historian of the Middle East.  “Israel” is organized around six major themes: land and people, history, society, politics, economics, and culture.  If you’re looking for a comprehensive survey of the modern-day Jewish state, including details of every political party and every radio station, look no further!
Start-Up Nation Start-Up Nation
by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

A fascinating expert look at Israel’s meteoric rise in the global economy — with timely hints for a world reeling from financial crisis  How is it that Israel — a country of 7.1 million, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war, with no natural resources — produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful nations like Canada, Japan, China, India, and the U.K.? With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine Israeli culture and government to reveal the secrets behind the world’s first ever “start-up nation.” As countries across the globe restart their own economies, and as businesses try to re-energize their entrepreneurial spirit, we can all look to Israel for some impressive, surprising clues.

Catch The Jew Catch the Jew
by Tuvia Tenenbom

A hilarious, poignant, heartbreaking, and utterly befuddling travelogue of an Israeli-American-German journalist exploring Israel, Palestine, European human-rights activists, and the dietary preferences of Jerusalem’s stray cats.
Company C Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel
by Haim Watzman

What is the Israeli military really like?  How does a liberal-minded American, who is also an Orthodox Jew, fit in?  A fascinating first-hand account.
Israel and the Family of Nations
by Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein

(Reviewed by Seth J. Frantzman in Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2009)

Other Lists: