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Jewish Terrorism in Israel (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) Hardcover – October 30, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0231154468 ISBN-10: 0231154461 Edition: First Printing

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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; First Printing edition (October 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231154461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231154468
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Israeli academics Pedahzur (The Israeli Secret Service and the Struggle Against Terrorism) and Perliger (Middle East Terrorism) point out that Muslim extremists don't hold a monopoly on terrorism: Israel has seen hundreds of attacks by Jewish terrorists—most directed against Palestinians, but some against the state itself. The authors present a carefully constructed theoretical model, positing that radicalization within a specific counterculture, fostered by a threatening external event and portrayed by spiritual leaders as catastrophic precipitate violence—not just by Jewish extremists but any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology. Indeed, the authors see clear parallels between Jewish terrorist cells and their Muslim counterparts, and stress that mere faith isn't enough to create violent intent (they note that religious terrorist groups... made up less than 15 percent of all terrorist groups active in the 20th century). Pedahzur and Perliger occasionally slip into academese and assume a close knowledge of Israeli political minutiae, but in combining exhaustive analysis with straight-forward language and compelling nonfiction narrative, they provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality. (Nov.)
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Jewish Terrorism in Israel addresses a huge lacuna in the field by providing the first systematic, in-depth treatment of Jewish terrorism from ancient times to today. It concludes with vitally important developments in Jewish extremism over the past nine years, making a signal contribution at a moment when interest in terrorism and counterterrorism is high, when more attention than ever is being focused on terrorism motivated by religion, and when we most need insight into the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

(Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism)

Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger provide us with an intelligent, sensible, and compelling story of terrorism among a people more famously known as historical victims rather than perpetrators. Their use of multiple research methods—including first-hand observations and interviews—is admirable; their insight into the interaction among religious, political, social, and psychological forces is convincing; and their accounts of informal networks and ideological socialization are especially revealing. This book is a model of scholarship on a topic most resistant to dispassionate analysis.

(Neil J. Smelser, University of California, Berkeley)

This engaging book documents the dark side of Jewish political activism in Israel from ancient times to the present. These gripping accounts, which describe the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the anti-Arab vitriol of Meir Kahane, and the strident opposition of the settler movement, show that terrorism has been in the shadows of Jewish politics in Israel, just as it has been in every other religious tradition around the world. Jewish Terrorism in Israel should be required reading for anyone concerned about the moral dilemmas of Jewish activism, peace in the Middle East, and the rise of religious violence everywhere.

(Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence)

[Pedahzur and Perliger] provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality.

(Publishers Weekly (starred review))

This work is timely, objective, and bold... highly recommended. Choice

(Choice 1900-01-00)

Sets a high bar for subsequent works.

(L. Carl Brown Foreign Affairs)

[ Jewish Terrorism in Israel] provides rich, detailed exploration of a form of terrorism often little noted within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(Rebecca L. Torstrick H-Levant)

Most, perhaps all, religious traditions have produced their own long intermittent and unique histories of terrorism. Yet this remarkable, engrossing study is the first to put the story of one religion together. It will surely stimulate studies of other religious traditions, a subject everyone needs to know more about.

(David Rapoport, author of Inside Terrorist Organizations)

More About the Author

Professor of Government and the Arnold S. Chaplik Professor in Israel and Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The authors, considered experts on terrorism, begin with a short review of terrorism in ancient Israel (Jews in Judea carried out stealth assassinations against their Roman occupiers), and then summarize numerous terrorist acts by Israeli Jews from 1948 to 2007. Included are the acts of terrorism against British soldiers and the Arab population in Israel's early quest for independence, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte (U.N. appointed mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-48), Baruch Goldstein's massacre (entered a Hebron mosque in 1994 while wearing his army uniform and opened fire - killing 29 and wounding 150), the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for his support of the Oslo Accords, the 2002 attempted bombing of a Palestinian girls' school, and additional terrorism acts. Studying these acts and interviewing 'retired' perpetrators, they conclude that religious terrorism is not a 'one-faith phenomenon,' but rather flourishes in any totalistic ideology.

The authors concluded that more than 90% of Jewish terrorists are men, 51.3% unemployed, 56.9% single, and 82% under the age of 27. Members have experienced a sense of crisis, typically a personal loss or assault to their core beliefs. They also contend that resolution of territorial conflict between Israelis and Palestinians would usher in a new era of terrorism, as Jewish terrorists would likely turn to even more extreme objectives, such as removal of mosques on the Temple Mount.

"Jewish Terrorism in Israel" is a well-balanced examination of the topic. There were 309 Jewish terrorist attacks in Palestine and Israel from 1932-2008 - too many to list in their entirety. However, there are some strange omissions, such as the 50,000-some ideological Jewish occupiers of the West Bank.
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Format: Paperback
Pedahzur and Perliger provide an important, engaging, well-written book on Jewish terrorism. The first of its kind, Jewish Terrorism in Israel sheds a fascinating light on a very timely subject that no doubt will have a few more chapters written to it as the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continues to exact a bloody price from both societies.
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By Peter Barath on July 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The meticulous scientific research, which gives the legitimacy to the book, makes it a great source, aw-inspiring but a little hard reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Suarez on February 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this is an invaluable book for "fringe" Israeli ("Jewish") terrorism, the authors fail on two very serious grounds. One, they inexplicably (and in violation of their claimed principles and definitions) treat the Hagana's (and Palmach's) atrocities as somehow not terrorism, nor do they those of the Israeli state itself. Yet (secondly), they treat ancient Jewish (Biblical) terrorism as somehow relevant, thus implicitly connecting the modern nation-state (to which I assume the "Israel" in the title refers) to the Biblical kingdom, in doing so tacitly accepting one of the worst of the terror groups' justifications for expropriating Palestine.
The authors are comfortable when their terrorists are those considered the loonies. They bend reality and violate their professed purpose when the terrorism is committed by state itself, or (pre-1948) the Jewish Agency.
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