My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel



A great book that covers the brief history of Israel from the start of WWI and WWII to modern times. As someone who was curious about Israeli history but did not want to waste time on reading all the important battles and the names involved (cuz who can remember them a year down the road anyway…), this book gives the historical importance of those key events like the seven days war. 


In some ways, Israel is like the US. It is a multinational and multicultural, and yet those people formed a strong bond among them due to the same religious belief and the same hope for a new life in a “virgin” land. Of course later people actually admit that the land was not really “virgin”, but inhabited by people who were forced to form a national identity around the fact that they were driven out by Isralians. Nevertheless, like the protestants who arrived in the US, the Jews who migrated built an amazing country that stands as one of the most prosperous nations. 


One interesting perspective provided in the book is that the modern generation do not possess a strong religious and patriotic zeal that has driven Jewish people from all over the world to form a new nation. And that is perhaps because of the inherent contradiction in Israel. On one hand Israel is the land of hope for all the Jews on earth. It’s their promised land. But on the other hand they took the land from an equally innocent group of people. In order to justify this act, the government was forced to adopt a perhaps extreme ideology, which can do nothing but distort the true facts in history. And the price paid for such distortion is that the newer generation, who see through the lense put in front of them, drifts away from their nation and their religious practice. Thus the club scenes in Tel Aviv.


Overall this is a good book that I would recommend 100% for people who want to know about Isaeli history and culture.