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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary non-fiction thriller
"The End of Days" is probably one of most extraordinary non-fiction thrillers I've ever read. Mr. Gorenberg's timely book is an intelligent, beautifully written revelation of the importance of the Temple Mount in modern politics and religion. The emotionally charged issue of the religious sovernignty of one of the world's most important religious site in the...
Published on February 22, 2001 by Tina Silverman

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive
The book could have been half the size without sacrificing anything. While there is interesting material it is quite dated.
Published 13 months ago by Alan E. Mack


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary non-fiction thriller, February 22, 2001
By 
Tina Silverman (Kensington, MD USA) - See all my reviews
"The End of Days" is probably one of most extraordinary non-fiction thrillers I've ever read. Mr. Gorenberg's timely book is an intelligent, beautifully written revelation of the importance of the Temple Mount in modern politics and religion. The emotionally charged issue of the religious sovernignty of one of the world's most important religious site in the worlds most holy city is a big story with many different players each with a fascinating role. With much grace, humor and painstaking research Gorenberg explains, edifies and ties together all the real-life players in their struggle for power over a small piece of real estate that has the power to change the political climate of the Middle East . I loved this book and have been recommending it to anyone interested in the Middle East, or the religious fundamentalist movements or anyone who loves to read well-written and enlightning works that deal with current world issues. As the turmoil in the Middle East unfolds it 's great to read a book that made sense of the madness and offered insight into the motives of the principals in the present conflict.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rapturous must read in the wake of Middle East violence, January 9, 2001
Those who avoid this book are doing themselves a disservice. Could you have asked for better timing for this book? Is it any wonder that the film that swept the 2000 Israeli Film Academy Awards, Hahesder, was the story about a religious plot to blow up the Al Aqsa Mosque? Is it a surprise that the Palestinian Authority used the visit of a Jewish Israeli political leader to the Temple Mount as a spark to begin rioting over the peace agreement negotiations (just like Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini did in 1928)? Or that MK Ariel Sharon used his visit to the Temple Mount as a ploy for his party's leadership? Or that a best selling series of books in the USA are based the belief of a coming Rapture? All three Western religions conceived of an End of Days. The Book of Revelations read by Christians expects wars and a Jewish antichrist before the End of Days; while Moslems need a Dajjal, or Jewish false Messiah, for its own End Hour to occur. It is a ticking bomb, an urgency for fundamentalists, all focused on 35 acres in the SE corner of Jerusalem's walled Old City.
Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report, and regular in the pages of The New Republic, moved to Israel in 1977. To write this book, Gorenberg, a journalist focused on the nexus of religion and politics, interviewed Christians, Jews, and Moslems, many of whom hold views of an END OF DAYS. All their scenarios focus on the Temple Mount and Al Haram Al Sharif / Noble Sanctuary. I began to read THE END OF DAYS as I sat in a Jerusalem hotel room, near The King David Hotel, overlooking the Old City's walls. It was almost a week before the holiday of Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, who won back control of the Temple Mount. Jetlagged at 3 AM, with a full moon and a light rain, I started Chapter 1, and the book's story unfolded with heightened suspense. Many Jews believe that Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac on the mount, that King David erected an altar there, that King Solomon and Herod built Temples there, and as Rabbi Levi wrote in 200 CE, that Cain murdered Abel for control of the Mount. Moslems leveled the mount and built the Dome of the Rock there, and Christians believe it will be the site of the Third Temple. What will happen after the year 2000 if the Messiah does not come? How will the fundamentalists of all 3 primary Western religions react? If Jews do not return to Jerusalem and a war occurs, how will the Rapture and Gods Kingdom come to pass? If Jews control the Mount, how will Mecca migrate to Jerusalem for the advent of a Moslem end of time? If Jews do not control the site, how will a Third Temple be built? Gorenberg shows how the future is bound up with the past. The first chapter tells the story of Melody the calf. She was born in August 1996, three years prior to the Year 2000. She was born red, and a red Heifer is required for sacrifices to re-commence in a Third Temple; an event that is needed by Christians in order to bring about the End of Days. Gorenberg describes this disturbing and unusual alliance. Chapters 2-4 tell the story of Christian millenialism and Jewish messianism, and its effects on Cromwell's England, the Puritans, the British Mandate, the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, Dayan's orders to remove an Israeli flag from the captured Mount, and even Christian evangelical attitudes towards the assassination of PM Rabin. Chapter 5 is filled with fascinating portraits of members of American evangelical groups, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane (Michael King), the Jewish Temple Mount Faithful, Gush Emunim settlers, Banch Davidians at Waco, the American Jewish loner who shot up the Dome in 1982, and the Australian Christian paranoid schizophrenic who nearly succeeded in burning part of Al Aqsa Mosque in 1967. Later chapters portray the people who are preparing for a Third Jewish Temple (such as the men who are producing priestly garments of flax and linen, to the rabbi who seeks to raise observant boys of the priestly class who have never been in contact with the dead so that they can sacrifice a red heifer, to the Christian Zionists who come to Israel for the Tabernacles festival); as well as the Temple Faithful activists who sue each year for greater access; Bassam Jirrar of Ramallah, who calculates the end of Israel through his mathematical analysis of the Koran; the popular writings of Egyptian author Sa'id Ayyub and Palestinian writer Fa'iq Da'ud; a Texan who hopes to drill for oil near the Dead Sea as per the Lord's instructions; and other unique characters. This book is an enlightening decoder and story, and it is a must read for anyone interested in peace in the Middle East.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ, November 22, 2000
By 
After four decades travelling in Israel and reading everything I could get my hands on about Israel and the Middle East conflict, I thought I knew my stuff pretty well. Then I read this book. It not only provided me with a wealth of information that I had never read before, but it opened a dozen new windows onto the complexity of what's going on in Jerusalem. It is smart. It is beautifully written - crisp, concise, insightful. And it is stunningly sensitive to the multitude of religious conflicts colliding in Jerusalem's ground zero. So whether you're a Christian looking for some insight into the Christian dimension to this conflict, a Jew interested in broadening his or her view of the Temple Mount, or a secular person just trying to figure out why peace seems such an impossibility, you will have a real treat in store for you. Frankly, this should be the first textbook in current Middle East politics 101 since Gorenberg takes you right into the heart of what is going on today.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for understanding passions in the Middle East, November 28, 2002
This review is from: The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount (Paperback)
I have read a large number of books dealing with the situation in the Middle East, but this fascinating volume is one of the best that I have encountered for understanding precisely why so many individuals feel so passionately about their particular stake in the area. Gorenberg, a journalist and scholar raised in the United States but now living in Jerusalem, does a masterful job of taking the reader into the mental and spiritual lives of fundamentalist Jews, Christians, and Islam as he focuses on their respective beliefs concerning the fate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The specific issue in question is the desire of marginal factions of Jews to rebuild the Temple on the current site of the Dome of the Rock, a Moslem Holy Site, in Jerusalem. In particular, he focuses on the millenarian hopes of extremist Jews who believe that building a Temple will usher in a messianic period of world peace, the dreams of Christian millenarian dispensationalists who believe that these same Jews building a temple is a necessary prelude to the impending return of Jesus, and of the varying reactions of Muslims. Some Muslims, Gorenberg points out, share their own millenarian dreams that are similar to those of fundamentalist Christians, in which a Jewish Antichrist is defeated by a Jesus sent by Allah, who will defeat Jesus and create a one world Islamic society.
Most of the book is spent focusing on the Jewish and Christian participants in this story. Gorenberg is especially good in dealing with the myriad of ways in which Christians are profoundly dependent upon and encouraging of Jews performing their roles as actors in a Divine drama. He details the ways in which both Christians and Jews use each other in their attempts to bring the Temple Mount story to a conclusion incompatible to the desires and hopes of the other. He is also superb at showing how horrifically this could end, possibly bringing about World War III, if either Christians or Jews are able to avoid Israeli or Palestinian security and destroy the Dome of the Rock.
This book is a powerful antidote to simplistic thinking about the Middle East in general, or the possibility or desirability of rebuilding the Temple in particular. It is not, perhaps, in the end a particular hopeful book. The reader can come away from it with a sense that there is probably no way to bring about a Middle Eastern solution that will satisfy all Jews or Muslims. A solution that satisfies all Jews will certainly lead to a Holy War carried out by Muslims, and one that satisfies all Muslims will certainly not satisfy many Israelis. The value of the book primarily lies in exposing the enormously complex nature of the situation, and explicating how passionately the various parties conceptualize the state of things.
Apart from the pedagogical value of the book, this is a flat out fascinating read. The cast of characters is varied and colorful. Gorenberg recounts complicated stories lucidly. My only complaint with the book is that the overall narrative is told somewhat unsystematically. This in part perhaps reflects the complex nature of the story he has to tell. But even so, I feel the chapters could have been arranged a little more clearly.
This book will be of enormous interest to anyone interested in the situation in the Middle East, and especially in Jerusalem. I put this book right alongside Fromkin's A PEACE TO END ALL PEACE, which chronicles how the modern Middle East was mindlessly created after WW I by the victors in Europe, as essential to understanding the contemporary situation in Israel.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Scary and Still Timely, June 29, 2002
By 
"krchicago" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
If you believe in a just, all-powerful and merciful God, explaining why good people suffer is a terrible problem. One solution is eschatology -- the belief that at the end of days, God will replace the current order with a new, perfect Kingdom of God, where believers will be rewarded and the wicked punished. As Christianity and Islam became established mass religions, themselves playing significant roles in the current world order, their leaders tended to downplay hopes for an immediate or literal arrival of the Kingdom of God (and the overthrow of their own present power), looking instead for a metaphorical Kingdom of God, a goal that we strive for but never reach. The leaders of Judaism, having no secular power themselves, attempted to protect a persecuted minority by avoiding overt challenges to authority, with the result that they too disavowed any immediate, literal, messianic expectations. As a result, both "mainstream" followers of these religions and secular intellectuals tend to look down their noses at those who anticipate the imminent arrival of the literal Kingdom of God.
Millenial and messianic threads have nevertheless remained present in all of the monotheistic religions, and resurgent fundamentalism has insisted on a literal, imminent Kingdom of God. Gershom Gorenberg does not attempt to explain the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in the late 20th Century, but he amply demonstrates how millenial or messianic thinking has influenced and been influenced by the course of recent history in the Middle East, from the Balfour Declaration through the first Intifada and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Gorenberg has spent hours with leaders of Christian millenial and Jewish messianic movements, many of whom see the rebuilding of the Temple as the key to bringing the end times. Of these, a certain number are not willing to wait for God to act, but have taken it upon themselves to bring about the Kingdom of God, whether by stopping the peace process or by destroying the Dome of the Rock so that the Temple can be built in its place. Since they expect battle, they are not afraid to bring on war; since they see themselves as already living under the "new" law of the "redeemed" world, they feel free to ignore the laws of this present one.
Gorenberg emphasizes (rightly, in my view) that we cannot dismiss what so many believe as "crazy" or as the product of "cults." He lets the leaders of these movements present their views in their own words, even as he criticizes the potential implications for those of us who live in this world. Having read this book, I better understand the thinking of groups who view the peace process as inimical to God's work (though I still disagree with them), and I wonder even more what Sharon could *possibly* have been thinking when he went to the Temple Mount and brought on the present crisis. Although Gorenberg's book was published in 2000 and therefore does not discuss the most recent events in the Middle East, he makes the point that disappointed millenial believers are perhaps even more dangerous than those still awaiting the date. Equally important, the context Gorenberg provides for the impact of the 1967 War and reactions to the Oslo accords will be valuable to anyone interested in current events in the Middle East.
This is an important book, which takes millenial and messianic thinking seriously and details them in a way that I have seen no where else. You cannot understand what a dangerous game politicians play in courting fundamentalists without reading this book. And any peace process must take the likely fundamentalist reaction into account. The only deficiency I found was that 90% of the book deals with Christian and Jewish fundamentalism, and only 10% with Islamic views. I got the distinct impression that Gorenberg does not speak Arabic, and therefore had to rely on the scholarship of others and a few interviews in assessing Islamic fundamentalism. Despite this weakness, the presentation of Christian and Jewish millenial thinking is so important and so powerful that I must recommend this to everyone interested in the future of the Middle East.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An urgent plea for relativism and humility, October 15, 2002
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Deciphering the signs pointing to all-out war in the Middle East is the passionate purpose of this book, which analyzes the motivations of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians who support Israel in its struggles against the Palestinians in general and in its often violent disputes over the Temple Mount in particular because their literal interpretations of Scriptural passages lead them to believe that these current events represent enactments of the "Endtime" in which the Messiah will reappear and perform the Final Judgment. A decidedly unbenign corollary of such beliefs, of course, is the expectation that the majority of Jews will be killed during the ensuing Armageddon, and that only the few who convert in time will join the ranks of true believers who enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In tracing these volatile beliefs, summarized under the rubric of "dispensational premillennialism," along with the parallel convictions of Jewish messianists and the unswerving commitments of Muslims to the defense of the sacred precincts on the Mount, Gershom Gorenberg contrasts the literalism with which a "political arrangement over thirty-five acres," the area of the Temple Mount, "is described as a cosmological defeat of light by darkness" - i.e., an accommodation preventing the destroyed Temple's rebuilding, an essential precondition to fulfillment of the Doomsday scripts of both Christian and Jewish fundamentalists - with the moderate evangelicals' rejection of the Crusades as a betrayal of Jesus, who "saw the image of God in every person he met." The author alternates passages of philosophical reflection with folksy descriptions of meetings with rabbis, ministers, scientists, politicians, and philosophers, and even with an analogy of the current crisis in the Middle East to the 1993 conflagration in Waco, Texas, which he interprets as a salient and pertinent example not only of the importance of understanding symbols in any dialogue or confrontation between adherents of different religions or cultures but also of the inevitable consequences of failing to heed or to speak one's interlocutor's symbolic language.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Information about religious elements not widely know, March 6, 2007
By 
Eric Maroney (Trumansburg, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount (Paperback)
Gorenberg's book seems like a precursor for his much more successful, and more fully realized, The Accidental Empire. There, Gorenberg shows how the struggle over land capture in the Six Days War has been effectively controlled by religious Zionists. In The End of Days, Gorenberg illustrates how both Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, in their struggle over the Temple Mount, continually bring the world to the brink of war. [In fact as I was reading this book, there was a clash on the Temple Mount between Israeli police and Muslim worshippers.] As long as the Temple Mount is a holy site for two major religions, Gorenberg's book will have merit and be relevant. There is also interesting information here for people who do study these topics: the centrality of the red heifer for the rebuilding of the Temple and Muslim apocalyptic notions. Both are subjects not widely discussed in the West, and in this book, Gorenberg provides an approachable summary of them.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNDERSTANDING WHY JERUSALEM IS NOT YET A CITY OF PEACE, November 6, 2000
By 
P. Allen Krause (Mission Viejo, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have been a fan of Gershom Gorenberg for a long time, seeing him to be one of the premier Israeli journalists, writing first for the Jerusalem Post and then for the Jerusalem Report. All the skills that he has honed over the years have been put to good use in this excellent volume which explores the depth of emotion focused on David's City, the city whose name contains the word for peace, but whose ruins speak of centuries of war.
Who should control Jerusalem is not a topic which lends itself to rational discussion. This in fact is the great strength of Gorenberg's book: he manages to throw a dispassionate light on what Jews, Muslims and Christians believe about the city, and especially about what Jews call the Temple Mount. The rhetoric about the Temple Mount has inflamed passions on all sides; indeed, it was a key factor, if not the key factor, in derailing the Camp David peace talks in 1999. Most Jews see that piece of property as being sacred turf, the holiest site on this earth, and they reject any possibility that it is even remotely as important to any other religious group. Muslims on the other hand see it as the site of the Farther Mosque -- the spot from which Muhammad ascended on his visit to heaven. That is why they built the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque on it, and that is why they insist that Muslim control of it be part and parcel of any settlement with Israel. Gorenberg makes each side's arguments crystal clear, making it understandable, possibly for the first time in a single volume, what each side is bringing to the table on this tremendously sensitive issue. This makes his book not only excellent social history, it makes it also required reading for anyone who wants to move beyond the rhetoric to understanding.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-fiction that reads like a novel, November 23, 2000
By A Customer
In a time of fundamentalist fervor, Gershom Gorenberg's superb look
at what makes them tick is essential reading. A compilation of
anecdotes and interviews with the true and extreme believers of the
three major faiths brings the reader up close and personal with a
world we really know little about. Most important, "The End of
Days" isn't a scholarly book in the conventional (boring)
sense. It's storytelling at its best, beautifully written and
engrossing from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Fundamentalist Christians and Israeli-Jewish Extremists are collaborating to bring about the Third Temple and the Apocalypse, October 7, 2012
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From the title "End of Days," it would appear this is just another apocalyptic prediction of the Rapture followed by "the great wrap up." Nothing could be further from the truth. I read this book because I knew the author to be American-born Israeli historian, journalist and blogger, specializing in Middle Eastern politics who has written great books such as "The Accidental Empire" (which deals with the post 1967 settler movement of Judea and Samaria.)
In fact, this book focuses on the center of three different religions Messianic aspirations--the Temple Mount. No doubt he borrows his title from Christian Pre- Millenniumists who focus on the Third Temple and the role of the Jews and Israel in the End Time. A significant portion of the book is devoted to these various Christian groups and their predictions of Israel's place and specifically, the Temple Mount. But, being both a thorough journalist and containing the natural curiosity of the same, Gorenberg looks at (what he calls) "fringe" Israeli groups such as the Temple Mount Faithful and how they are encouraging the Messianic expectations of the evangelicals. Gorenberg's own opinion seems to be that the "Christian extremists" (his idea) coupled with their encouragement for the "Israeli-Jewish extremists" could actually bring about the Temple-T3 and the subsequent apocalypse just by their focusing on it. He seems to be convinced another Temple is NOT needed; that the Jews are doing just fine without it and the "bloody sacrifices" and giving up this vision is in the long term interest of "peace and security."
The book is solid investigative journalism and makes a solid contribution to examining the "players" in the Temple-T3 story, ALL the players, both Christian Fundamentalists and Israeli Jewish. Gorenberg is stingy with his own opinions, but the careful reader can see where Gorenberg is personally on this issue and it is NOT a vote for T-3, which he sees as a threat to the tenuous peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. I STRONGLY recommend this book for ANYONE interested in the subject of another Temple--T3.
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The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount
The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount by Gershom Gorenberg (Paperback - May 16, 2002)
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