From Publishers Weekly
Zionism has been co-opted by violent right-wing extremists and misunderstood by left-wing post- and anti-Zionist intellectuals, argues Rubinstein in this very dense and complex but illuminating account of the movement that resulted in the modern-day State of Israel. The fruit of this co-optation was the 1996 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, he contends. Rubinstein, who has long been a journalist, human rights activist and member of Knesset (he was also a minister in Rabin's government), advocates a return to what he calls the original tenets of Zionism, a movement that sought to establish a democratic home for the Jewish people, not a state governed by Mosaic law. "Only by returning to original Zionism," writes Rubinstein, can Israel continue as a Jewish state and live in peace and security. His most compelling chapter, "Toward Rabin's Assassination," chronicles the rise of religious nationalist extremism, which Rubinstein dates to Israel's victory in 1967's Six-Day War. He traces the rise of Gush Emunim, the ultra-Orthodox group whose members, despite Israeli prohibitions, moved to the Arab-occupied West Bank, forcing the Israeli government to protect them. He also quotes Yigal Amir, who, during an interrogation by the police after he assassinated Rabin, cited newly coined ultra-Orthodox rabbinic statements that he interpreted as sanctioning violence against anyoneAJew, Arab or otherwiseAwho disagreed with their vision of the Zionist ideal. Rubinstein's assessment may count in the long runAclearly he has the ear of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who contributes a foreword to this book. (Sept.)
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"...[A] moderate member of the Israeli Parliament for the past quarter-century...has written a book that...has vigor and depth." --New York Times Book Review / Sept. 3, 2000