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Israel: Challenges to Identity, Democracy and the State

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Israel: Challenges to Identity, Democracy and the State
by Clive Jones and Emma C. Murphy. (London, Routledge: 2002. Pg. 146) ISBN: 0-415-27088-X.


Reviewed by Anna Dogole - July 21, 2002

Israel: Challenges to Identity, Democracy and the State, by Clive Jones and Emma C. Murphy offer reader a brief overview of the state of Israeli politics and social cohesiveness, or lack thereof. Rather than being a generic history or work of political science, this book takes on the task of looking at the various problems and potential problems that face the young state. Using these problems as a base, they have tried to discern how they will affect the future of the state.

Fairly up to date, this book ends with the election of Arial Sharon, and hence does not touch upon the current round of ongoing confrontations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Throughout, the authors have tried to illustrate the multitude of challenges facing the state, and offering their insights on how they feel challenges should be met. In addition, they strive to show how these challenges are causing Israelis to rethink their identity. According to the authors the internal challenges faced by Israel are potentially fatal, or at least disabling enough to bring the long term viability of Israel into question.

Overall, Jones and Murphy's thesis is compelling, and they have done a fine job of backing-up their contentions. This book includes a glossary of Hebrew terms, a chronology of Modern History of Palestine and Isreal, a variety of informational tables, and a map of Israel. In additon, the authors have included exhaustive notes at the end of each chapter. However, whether you find their thesis credible or not will depend upon your own mind set and how you perceive Israel's role in the world.


Related Reviews:

Israel: A History, by Martin Gilbert.
This book primarily concentrates on the first fifty years of Israeli statehood, Gilbert also details the events and figures that contributed to the formation of the state, including the pogroms in Russia that helped to foster the growth of Zionism, and the Holocaust which made the establishment of the state so vital as a safe harbor for the survivors.

History of the Jews in the Modern World, A, by Howard M. Sachar.
A general, comprehensive reference guide on Jewish history from the late 1700's through 2004.

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