A leading commentator considers the meaning of Israel after fifty years.
When Zionists first advocated a national home for the Jewish people, they also propounded a revolution in the values that Jews should live by, a whole new way of thinking about Jewish life and Jewish history. Has this revolution in fact occurred? And what have the consequences been for Jews and their neighbors? Especially given the extraordinary circumstances that link the United States and Israel, Americans may find the answers to such questions vexing--but the remarkable work of Avishai Margalit goes far to clarify the issues and enlighten the debate.
Over the past two decades, Margalit has written major essays for American readers about the political leaders, cultural crises, and historical background of the contemporary Israeli scene. In Views and Reviews these essays are brought together, with new commentary and observations, and their publication in one volume clearly shows that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. From Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu, from "Israeli kitsch" to the meaning of the Holocaust for "the seventh million," Margalit enlightens the whole terrain of Israeli life and history. Views and Reviews brings a tragically conflicted country into sharp and memorable focus.
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Avishai Margalit, a native of Jerusalem, is professor of philosophy at Hebrew University and the author of many books, most recently The Decent Society (1996). A regular political columnist in the Israeli press, he lives in Jerusalem.From Kirkus Reviews:
Sixteen thoughtful, sometimes penetrating essays and long reviews, most of which originally appeared during the past decade in the New York Review of Books, about the outstanding political personalities and societal issues of contemporary Israeli life. Margalit (Philosophy/Hebrew Univ.; The Decent Society, 1996, etc.), a political columnist, notes ``the tendency to describe and think about Israel in allegories'' and the fact that ``much of the criticism of Israel, both internal and external, is directed at its pretensions rather than its reality.'' By contrast, he focuses on the specific character and historical records of such political leaders as Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, the late Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres, as well as on the psychological, ideological, and socio-economic repercussions of such phenomena as the large-scale immigration to Israel from the former USSR. His best essays, ``The Rise of the Ultra-Orthodox,'' ``The Use of the Holocaust in Israel,'' and ``The Kitsch of Israel,'' deal with the mythos of the Jewish state. Usually, Margalit writes as an observer, though hardly a dispassionate one; his ``dovish'' sentiments are evident. His fluid prose also manifests a keen awareness of the many paradoxical and ironical aspects of Israeli life, as when the author observes that right-wing immigrants vacillate between a sense of megalomania about Israeli might, on the one hand, and on the other, feelings of extreme self-pity and powerlessness.'' His writing reveals that with the country's many internal tensions and countervailing trends, not to mention its balkanized party system, nothing is self-evident or simple about current Israeli politics. Readers who want a souvenir album about Israel at 50 should pass on this one. But others will enjoy the resounding uneasiness of Margalits pieces. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Descripción Farrar Straus & Giroux (T), 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110374249415