About Israel from the Inside
Imagine that someone said to you, “Tell me what the United States is about and what has long made it an extraordinary experiment in government.” Now imagine that you responded, “Well, there was a War of Independence, a War of 1812, the Civil War, then World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam.” Your answer, of course, would be absurd, because no one can understand America, its great accomplishments as well as its failings, through just its conflicts. Those wars are part of America’s history, but they are not “America.”
Yet that is how too many of us think about Israel. If asked to list milestones in Israeli history, we think War of Independence, Sinai Campaign, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War, the Intifada’s, etc. And when we speak about Israel, it’s almost always in some way about the conflict. Obama was good for Israel, or not. Trump was good for Israel, or not. Iran. Lebanon. Hamas. Hezbollah. Annexation. Palestinians. Occupation. And more.
Those conversations reduce Israel to conflict, just like our imaginary conversation about America. And therefore, all those conversations miss the point of Israel, its grandeur and its failures, its potential and its challenges. Israel is much more than conflict, and Israel from the Inside is meant to understand the soul of Israel and, as events unfold, the background we need to know to appreciate what is really happening, why – and what it might mean for Israel’s future.
Israel from the Inside is meant for people who see Israel not as either hopelessly flawed or beyond critique, but rather, as the stage on which the Jewish people is reimagining itself and its future. If you’re curious about understanding Israel and Israelis, without reducing it to the toxic politics and histrionics, Israel from the Inside is for you.
I’m delighted to have you as a partner in the conversation.
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Daniel Gordis is one of the founders of Shalem College in Jerusalem, Israel’s first and only liberal arts college. The author of twelve books, two of which have won the National Jewish Book Award, he writes about Zionism and contemporary Israel, exploring the souls of the people who are the Jewish state.
The Forward has called Gordis “one of the most respected Israel analysts around.” In 2014, the Jerusalem Post listed him as one of the world’s 50 most influential Jews, while Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic wrote, “If you asked me, ‘of all the people you know, who cares the most about the physical, moral and spiritual health of Israel?’ I would put the commentator and scholar Daniel Gordis at the top of the list.”
Gordis’ history of Israel, Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn has been translated into six languages. His latest book is We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel.