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

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

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

Ben-Gvir Rides Again: The Israeli Election 2022

In a few days, the Israeli electorate will enter the polling booth for the fifth time in almost four years. Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies will aspire to a bloc majority of 61 seats in the Knesset. The current polls suggest that it will be touch-and-go for Netanyahu to overcome his opponents, led … Read more

The Decline of the Labour Party in Israel

Tal Elmaliach, Hakibbutz Ha’Artzi, Mapam and the Demise of the Israeli Labor Movement, translated from the Hebrew by Haim Watzman (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2020), 299 pp. Avi Shilon, The Decline of the Left Wing in Israel: Yossi Beilin and the Politics of the Peace Process, translated from the Hebrew by Ira Moskowitz (London: … Read more

Breaking History: A White House Memoir

by Jared Kushner Published by Broadside Books 2022, pp.492 Jared Kushner’s account of his four years in the Trump White House produces several interesting revelations. It is all there: the incremental friction with China, impeachment, John Bolton, Russian subversion, Hunter Biden, the wooing of Kim Jong-un, the 6 January assault on the Capitol, the murder … Read more

Sergei Lavrov’s Words

A few weeks ago, the urbane Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, came out with a bizarre statement to Italian television that Hitler was of “Jewish blood” and that “the most ardent antisemites are, as a rule, Jews”. Jews, therefore, only had themselves to blame for millennia of persecution and extermination. They had brought it upon … Read more

1982 Revisited

‘No more silence; no more compromise, no more acquiescence; no more vacillation, no more appeasement’. So spoke a young deputy at a Board of Deputies meeting in September 1982, defiantly challenging its leadership. It was directed at the Board’s Israel policy in the aftermath of the massacre of Palestinians by Christian Phalangists in the Lebanese … Read more