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Travel Guide 2   >   Israel   >   History


Israeli History

Here are some books about the history of Israel:

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Books about Israeli History

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers (Skeptic's Guide)

By Dale Hanson Bourke

InterVarsity Press
Paperback (144 pages)

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers (Skeptic s Guide)
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With all of the heat surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even the most basic facts can be hard to grasp. How do we make sense of what we read in the Bible―and what we read in the news? In this Skeptic’s Guide™, Dale Hanson Bourke sheds light on the places, terms, history, and current issues shaping this important region. Offering an even-handed presentation of a range of views on the most controversial issues, she provides a framework for American Christians to use in understanding why the conflict occurred, why it continues―and what remains to be done. With maps, charts, photos, and quotes, the guide answers such tough questions as:
  • What is meant by a two-state solution?
  • Who are the Palestinian Christians?
  • Do other countries help or hurt the peace process?
  • How does the Arab spring affect the conflict?
Easy to read and understand, this dynamic guide offers the type of presentation that has made the Skeptic’s Guide™ series so popular with individuals and groups. Offering basic information and simplifying complex issues, it is a helpful reference tool for beginners and experts alike.

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn

By Daniel Gordis

Released: 2016-10-18
Kindle Edition (553 pages)

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn
Product Description:

Winner of the Jewish Book of the Year Award

The first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present day, from Daniel Gordis, "one of the most respected Israel analysts" (The Forward) living and writing in Jerusalem.

Israel is a tiny state, and yet it has captured the world’s attention, aroused its imagination, and lately, been the object of its opprobrium. Why does such a small country speak to so many global concerns? More pressingly: Why does Israel make the decisions it does? And what lies in its future?

We cannot answer these questions until we understand Israel’s people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions. Though Israel’s history is rife with conflict, these conflicts do not fully communicate the spirit of Israel and its people: they give short shrift to the dream that gave birth to the state, and to the vision for the Jewish people that was at its core. Guiding us through the milestones of Israeli history, Gordis relays the drama of the Jewish people’s story and the creation of the state. Clear-eyed and erudite, he illustrates how Israel became a cultural, economic and military powerhouse—but also explains where Israel made grave mistakes and traces the long history of Israel’s deepening isolation.

With Israel, public intellectual Daniel Gordis offers us a brief but thorough account of the cultural, economic, and political history of this complex nation, from its beginnings to the present. Accessible, levelheaded, and rigorous, Israel sheds light on the Israel’s past so we can understand its future. The result is a vivid portrait of a people, and a nation, reborn.

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

By Martin Bunton

Paperback (144 pages)

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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  • Oxford University Press, USA
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The conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the most highly publicized and bitter struggles of modern times, a dangerous tinderbox always poised to set the Middle East aflame--and to draw the United States into the fire. In this accessible and stimulating Very Short Introduction, Martin Bunton illuminates the history of the problem, reducing it to its very essence. Adopting a fresh and original approach, Bunton explores the Palestinian-Israeli dispute in twenty-year segments, to highlight the historical complexity of the conflict throughout successive decades. Each chapter starts with an examination of the relationships among people and events that marked particular years as historical stepping stones in the evolution of the conflict, including the 1897 Basle Congress, the 1917 Balfour Declaration and British occupation of Palestine, and the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the war for Palestine.

Providing a clear and fair exploration of the main issues, Bunton explores not only the historical basis of the conflict, but also looks at how and why partition has been so difficult and how efforts to restore peace continue today.

About the Series:

Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

By Benny Morris

Paperback (544 pages)

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War
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  • Yale University Press
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This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side―where the archives are still closed―is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.


Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout, he examines the dialectic between the war's military and political developments and highlights the military impetus in the creation of the refugee problem, which was a by-product of the disintegration of Palestinian Arab society. The book thoroughly investigates the role of the Great Powers―Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union―in shaping the conflict and its tentative termination in 1949. Morris looks both at high politics and general staff decision-making processes and at the nitty-gritty of combat in the successive battles that resulted in the emergence of the State of Israel and the humiliation of the Arab world, a humiliation that underlies the continued Arab antagonism toward Israel.


For Heaven's Sake: Squardon 201 and the Yom Kippur War

By Aviram Barkai

Released: 2017-04-18
Kindle Edition (578 pages)

For Heaven s Sake: Squardon 201 and the Yom Kippur War
Product Description:
For Heaven’s Sake is the story of the Israeli Air Force in the Yom Kippur War through the eyes of the commanders and fighters of “The One” – the pioneering and most famous of the F-4 Phantom squadrons which produced ten colonels, seven brigadier generals, two major generals, two Air Force Chiefs and one Chief of the General Staff.

Aviram Barkai penetrates battlefronts, government meetings, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the General Staff, and Intelligence in its various offshoots and tries to crack what exactly happened in a war that changed everything.

The Six Day War: The History and Legacy of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Its Impact on the Middle East

By Charles River Editors

Charles River Editors
Released: 2017-11-25
Kindle Edition (67 pages)

The Six Day War: The History and Legacy of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Its Impact on the Middle East
Product Description:
*Includes pictures
*Includes a bibliography and online resources for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

In early June 1967, the Israelis captured Jordanian intelligence that indicated an invasion was imminent, and at 08h10 on June 5, 1967, the Israel Broadcasting Authority aired an Israeli Defense Force communique. “Since the early hours of this morning,” it read, “heavy fighting has been taking place on the southern front between Egyptian armored and aerial forces, which moved against Israel, and our forces, which went into action to check them.” This was followed up a little over two hours later by a publicly aired message to the armed forces of Israel, released by Israeli Minister of Defense Moshi Dayan in his first day in office. “We have no aims of conquest,” was Dayan’ simple message. “Our only aim is to frustrate the attempt of the Arab armies to conquer our country, and to sever and crush the ring of blockade and aggression which has been created around us.”

By then, the Israeli Air Force had been in action over the skies of Egypt since 07h45 that morning, and as a consequence, almost the entire Egyptian Air Force lay smoldering on the tarmacs of various forward Egyptian airbases. Having neutralized Egypt’s air strike potential in a matter of hours, the IAF then began to turn its attention to Jordan, Iraq and Syria, as IDF ground forces, back in the Sinai, moved in to take care of the more punishing business of destroying Egyptian ground forces.

Over the next six days, the Israelis overwhelmed the Egyptians in the west, destroying thousands of tanks and capturing the Gaza Strip and the entire Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, Israel drove the Jordanians out of Jerusalem and the West Bank, and it captured the Golan Heights from Syria near the border of Lebanon. In the span of a week, Israel had tripled the size of the lands it controlled. Israel had gone from less than 10 miles wide in some spots to over 200 miles wide from the Sinai Peninsula to the West Bank. Israel also unified Jerusalem.

The results of the Six Day War created several issues that have still not been resolved in the Middle East. Israel now found itself in possession of territories that were the home of over a million Arabs. Of these territories, Israel officially annexed only East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, leaving the inhabitants of the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, and Gaza Strip in limbo regarding citizenship status.

Despite attempts to create peace, the Arab nations refused to recognize Israel, and Israel refused to withdraw from any of the land it captured in 1967. After conquering the territories, Israel began encouraging Jewish settlement in the new territories. In the 1970s, more than 10,000 Jews moved into the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Sinai Peninsula, a figure that grew to over 100,000 by the early ‘80s and is now over 500,000 today. Some in Israel note that Jewish settlements in 1967 had simply reestablished Jewish communities in places they had lived prior to 1948, including Jerusalem, Hebron, and Gush Etzion, as well as Gaza City in the Gaza Strip. They also argue that the legal status of the territories was never officially determined due to the Palestinian rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan. Still others assert that Israel’s settlements do not breach international law or the Geneva Convention because it fought the Six Day War in self-defense and did not forcibly transfer civilian populations onto occupied territories. However, despite those arguments, the vast majority of the world considers Jewish settlements on land captured by Israel in 1967 to be illegal, including the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the international community.

The Six Day War: The History and Legacy of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Its Impact on the Middle East looks at one of the most important turning points in the region.

Israel: A History

By Martin Gilbert

William Morrow
Released: 1998-03-18
Hardcover (768 pages)

Israel: A History
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Israel is a small and relatively young country, but since the day of its creation half a century ago, its turbulent history has placed it at the center of the world stage. In this new account, Martin Gilbert traces Israel's history from the struggles of its pioneers in the nineteenth century up to the present day. Along the way, he describes the defining moments in the history of the Jewish people, among them the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the United Nations Partition Resolution of 1947; and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

The desire for statehood long preceded the declaration of the State: For two millennia the Jews, dispersed all over the world, prayed for a return to Zion. The prayer "Next Year in Jerusalem" seemed a fantasy--until Theodor Herzl, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, transformed Zionism into a modern political movement. Soon the earlier trickle of Jewish immigrants turned into a flood as Jews sought fulfilment of their national aspirations or fled persecution in Europe.

The declaration of Statehood in May 1948 and the War of Independence were only the beginning of the drama. Israel's subsequent development was dominated by the conflicts of Suez, the Six Day War, the October War, the Lebanon and the Intifada, as well as by diplomatic watersheds--from the early armistice agreements to the Camp David negotiations, the Madrid conference, and the Oslo peace process. Guiding us through the events that have shaped modern-day Israel, Gilbert examines not only Israel's political history and personalities from Ben-Gurion to Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu, but also its society, culture, and economy.

Israel is often at the center of world attention--usually because of wars, political and social divisions, conflict with her Arab neighbors and the Palestinians in her midst, and the stark intrusion of acts of terror into daily life. But even though conflict has been so much a part of everyday existence, the history of Israel ultimately uplifts and inspires. During the past fifty years, the quality of life has been transformed: Israel is a vibrant and flourishing nation that has made significant achievements in science, agriculture, trade, and industry--and has grown in population from just over half a million to almost six million.

Basing his narrative on a wealth of contemporary documents and eyewitness accounts, as well as on his own intimate knowledge of the country, Martin Gilbert provides a riveting and moving account of the history of Israel.

This is a riveting account of the history of Israel on its fiftieth anniversary by one of the world's preeminent historians.The founding of the State of Israel in May 1948 was a dramatic event in the history of the twentieth century. In Israel: A History, Martin Gilbert tells the gripping story of the events and personalities in the half century leading up to the declaration of statehood, and of Israel's subsequent development. It is a story punctuated by the conflicts of the War of Independence, Suez, the Six-Day War of 1967, the October War of 1973, the Lebanon and the Intifada, as well as by the diplomatic watersheds, from the armistice agreements of 1949 to the Camp David negotiations, the Madrid conference, and the Oslo accords. As Gilbert chronicles the growth of this flourishing but often troubled nation, he examines not only Israel's political history from Ben-Gurion to Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu, but also its society, culture, and economy. Based on contemporary documents and eyewitness accounts, and rooted in the author's intimate knowledge of the country and its people, Israel: A History will be essential reading on the nation's fiftieth anniversary.

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

By Ari Shavit

Spiegel Grau
Released: 2015-02-03
Paperback (512 pages)

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
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  • Spiegel Grau
Product Description:

Winner of the Natan Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today
Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.
We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country.

As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.

Praise for My Promised Land

“This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. [Shavit’s] accomplishment is so unlikely, so total . . . that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East.”—Simon Schama, Financial Times
“[A] must-read book.”—Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times
“Important and powerful . . . the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read.”—Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review
“Spellbinding . . . Shavit’s prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear.”—The Economist
“One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years.”—The Wall Street Journal

A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time

By Howard M. Sachar

Howard M Sachar
Released: 2007-05-15
Paperback (1270 pages)

A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time
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Second Edition, Revised and Expanded


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