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

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

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

A Window of Opportunity

Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949. By Jeffrey Herf. (Cambridge University Press 2022). 500 pp. NAZIS AND COMMUNISTS AFTER 1945 The author of this highly informative book, Jeffrey Herf, is a distinguished researcher of prewar Nazi Germany and, through his numerous publications, the ties between nationalists and Islamists … 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

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

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

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