Israel: A History in 100 Cartoons

A visit to the Israel Cartoon Museum in Holon several years ago first gave me the idea of telling Israel’s history through cartoons. It was undoubtedly the hardest of all my books to write. Which episode in a year to highlight; which cartoon to select, which events to record? Clearly there could have been an … Read more

Netanyahu in Cartoons

Benjamin Netanyahu’s long tenure in power has been a boon to cartoonists and satirists — and never more so than during the current quagmire of his own making in turning to the far Right and hinting at authoritarianism. Recently, Eran Wolkowski in Ha’aretz showed Netanyahu and Itamar Ben-Gvir driving past a gathering of demonstrators — the balloon … Read more

On Bruno Kreisky

Kreisky, Israel and Jewish Identity by Daniel Ashheim Published by University of New Orleans Press, 2022, pp.225 Bruno Kreisky was the longest serving Chancellor of Austria (1970-1983). He was also a Jew who had fled to Sweden when Hitler annexed the country to the Third Reich. More than 20 family members perished in the Shoah, … Read more

Israel’s Start-Down Government

“We seek to strengthen every citizen’s freedoms and the country’s democratic institutions and to bring Israel more closely in line with the liberal American model.” These soothing words were not those of Ben-Gurion or of Begin in the past, expressing their admiration for the values of the American Revolution of 1776, but were part of … Read more

The Origins of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry in the UK

One hundred years ago, on 30 December 1922, four republics, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia, agreed to form a union of states — the Soviet Union. This was to be ‘a decisive step on the path of unification into a World Socialist Soviet Republic’. The same year also saw the first trials of Zionists in … Read more

Rafi Eitan’s Memoirs

The late Rafi Eitan was – as the title Capturing Eichmann: The Memoir of a Mossad Spymaster suggests – an intelligence operative, a maverick with a finger in many pies.  Working on this account until a few days before his death in 2019, this posthumous publication relates many fascinating episodes in his life: how he killed two German Templars … Read more

The New Israeli Government damages Jewish National Interests

Last Friday, the Likud signed an agreement with the Kahanist party, Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), to give it an expanded range of responsibilities in the new government, covering the Public Security Ministry, the Development Ministry for the Negev and Galilee and a Jewish Heritage Ministry. It is likely that Itamar Ben-Gvir will now run the … Read more

On Eleanor Roosevelt

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt Published by Bloomsbury 2022, pp. 557 Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was a leading liberal voice in post-war America. She had been a committed advocate of womens’ suffrage, an architect of the welfare state, a diplomat, a journalist and a social activist committed to the ideals of the newly established United Nations … Read more

29 November 1947

When the result of the vote was announced, ‘a feeling that grips a man but once in his lifetime came upon us. High above us we seemed to hear the beating of the wings of history.’ So recalled David Horowitz, a member of the Jewish Agency delegation, on hearing the result of the historic vote … Read more

Benjamin Netanyahu: His Story?

Bibi: My Story Benjamin Netanyahu Published by Threshold Editions, 2022, pp.726 When he was asked by a student in 2018, what is the most important subject to study for a political career, Benjamin Netanyahu replied that there were three answers: ‘History, history and more history’. In writing his own history during the Bennett-Lapid interregnum, dictated … Read more