The Birth of the Likud

Fifty years ago, in mid-July 1973, the outgoing head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Ariel Sharon, held a retirement party in the garden of his Beersheba home. His farewell speech evolved into a tirade against David Elazar, the IDF Chief of Staff — there was no love lost between the two. Elazar had swept away … Read more

Yigal Amir and Itamar Ben-Gvir

Last week, Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, celebrated his 53rd birthday in Ramon prison. He has spent more of his life behind bars than in freedom. He has served more time in prison than Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa and, unlike most Israelis sentenced to life imprisonment, it is highly unlikely his … Read more

The Four Tribes of Israel

The demonstrations every Saturday night against “the judicial overhaul” continue in Israel unabated and remain deeply defiant. Even the hiatus of a rocket barrage from Gaza by Islamic Jihad did not mean an abandonment of protest. Unlike in Türkiye and Hungary, many Israelis are not prepared to roll over and whisper their thoughts in private. … Read more

Israel at 75: Remembering Amos Oz

Amos Oz: The Legacy of a Writer in Israel and Beyond edited by Ranen-Omer-Sherman, published by the State University of New York press 2023, pp.414 Amos Oz once said that he had two pens on his desk — one to write stories, the other ‘to tell the government to go to hell’. Today his voice … Read more

Israel at 75: Will the State of Israel survive until 2048?

In 1970, Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik, published his famous essay, “Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984?” Amalrik was killed in a car crash in Spain in 1980, so didn’t live to see the collapse of the USSR in 1991. His essay, however, has become more prescient in a wider international sense — and with … Read more

Israel at 75: Lament and Indecision

The founding of a Hebrew republic in the Land of Israel in May 1948 changed history. For Jews, there is only before and after. The proclamation of the state took 32 minutes. A few hours later Egyptian aircraft were bombing Tel Aviv as worshippers rushed home from shul. The Chief Rabbi’s Office in London issued … Read more

Netanyahu’s Woes: A Tale of Two Cities, London and Jerusalem

“We made a mistake in navigation,” admitted a chastened Amihai Chikli, the Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs — and called for a halt to the so-called “judicial reforms”. In the wake of airport closures, walkouts at universities, port stoppages, embassies and consulates shuttered until further notice, bank closures, a looming shut-down of the hi-tech industry … Read more

One Year after the Invasion

One year ago, the world awoke to the news that war had broken out in Europe after almost 80 years of relative peace. British Jews were stunned by this turn of events — especially those whose ancestors had escaped Tsarist persecution in Ukraine. For Putin, the fall of the USSR in 1991 — like the … Read more

Israel 2023: Everyone Has Choices

A Survation poll last week, commissioned by The Jewish News in the UK, indicated that 52% of British Jews felt their view of Israel was impacted by the presence of the far-Right in Netanyahu’s government. Some 42% felt that it was not. It also showed that older people were more reticent to criticise an Israeli government than younger people … Read more

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