Sarah Bringhurst's Reviews > The Unmaking of Israel

The Unmaking of Israel by Gershom Gorenberg
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's review
Apr 27, 12

bookshelves: middle-east, history, judaism
Read from April 25 to 27, 2012

This is a valuable book for anyone seeking deeper insight into what makes Israel tick. The author, an Israeli by choice who immigrated there from the U.S. at the age of thirty, gives us a well-researched and cogent explanation of how Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians and Occupied Territories developed. Even more valuable, he helps the reader understand how this crucial and contentious issue overshadows and shapes internal policy, leading to unintended and disastrous consequences in many areas of Israeli civil life.

Gorenberg contends that Israel's current situation arises from decades of short-sighted solutions to immediate problems, and the inability of the State to convert itself from a struggling movement into a fully-functioning government where rule of law obtains.

Most of the book centers on the problem: how covert funding of illegal settlements, massive government subsidies for extremist religious groups, mass radicalization of the army, and the blatant unwillingness of the parliamentary branch of the government to respect judicial rulings have created and compounded the current crisis.

The author does present his version of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the final chapter. What primarily distinguishes it from the many other solutions that have been proposed is his assertion that the Israeli government as it presently operates is seriously flawed, and must be internally reformed before resolution is possible.

I found the book very illuminating, since I had never really had a glimpse inside of Israeli politics and policy. I certainly agree with another reviewer, that The Unmaking of Israel should be required reading for all U.S. presidential candidates. And indeed anyone else interested in a successful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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