Khirbet Khizehby S. Yizhar cover

Book Review // Khirbet Khizeh

On 1979, an Israeli censorship committee chaired by the justice minister deleted five evocative paragraphs from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s memoir: his first-person account of the expulsion of Arab residents from the towns of Lydda and Ramle during Israel’s War of Independence in 1947-49. The description contradicted the heroic official line, which pictured Arabs as fleeing the fighting, not being deliberately forced out by Israeli forces.

Continue reading

The Lie by Hesh Kestin cover

Book Review // The Torture Trap

This thriller about the Israeli-Arab conflict comes with rare praise from one of the masters of suspense fiction and with a premise that suggests exploration of deep moral dilemmas. The endorsement comes from Stephen King, who says the book is “about the lies we tell ourselves until the truth is forced upon us,” and is “what great fiction is all about.”

Continue reading

Whither Israel’s Grand Strategies?

Mainstream Sunni Arab countries—traditionally adversaries of Israel—are now its potential allies in the struggle against Iran and militant Islam.   One of the signal characteristics of Israel’s security thinking in the country’s early decades was its development of grand strategies—concepts for coordinating the nation’s resources toward attaining its existential objectives in war and peace. It would be hard to find another country anywhere that, starting from scratch, honed its strategic thinking to such a degree in order to deal with adversity. Beginning even before independence in 1948, David Ben-Gurion and a handful of aides and advisors sought to develop a series of concepts for overcoming the hostility of the entire Arab world. Judging by Israel’s triumph and rise to prosperity through the decades, they did a good job. Yet a brief reexamination of those original grand strategies (italicized below),...

Continue reading