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The Anatomy of Israel's Survival Hardcover – September 6, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews, July 7, 2011

“[A] chronicle of the existential insecurity that has tipped Israel’s fall from grace, and a strong plea to quit its role as occupying power to the Palestinians…Tapping into his access to the defense structure, Goodman does a solid job depicting Israel’s ‘ball of thorns.’”

Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, August 23, 2011
“The book is lucid and lively, utterly fascinating, and full of surprises… ‘The Anatomy of Israel’s Survival’ is provocative, to be sure, but Goodman is a persuasive advocate. At a time when so many commentators are reduced to fatalism and despair, he sees a path to peace and security even if he always reminds his reader that the way forward is treacherous…Goodman shows himself to be an optimist with open eyes and clear vision, common sense and real courage.” ‘
Jerusalem Post, August 26, 2011
“Goodman is a good storyteller, and intersperses his narrative with anecdotes to illustrate his thesis….An easy read (I finished it in a night), it should be of interest to anyone who cares about Israel’s future.”

Washington Jewish Week, October 6, 2011
“Whether or not you agree with the author's assessment, The Anatomy of Israel's Survival is a thoughtful analysis of the formidable problems facing the Jewish state written in a clear, no-nonsense style by an Israeli insider. If you care deeply about Israel, this book is for you.”

Moment magazine, November/December 2011

“Its mosaic of worries and prescriptions offers unusual clarity. That’s no surprise: Reporting from Israel in the 1980s, I knew Hirsh Goodman as a good man to call when I wanted to hear something sensible.… He has now done something rare in the literature of Middle East analysis by being unpredictable and unvarnished in his comprehensive appraisal of his country’s life expectancy.”


Jewish Journal of Greater LA
“a lucid, lively, utterly fascinating and ultimately surprising take on the strategic predicament of the Jewish state.”
Jewish Ideas Daily

“It is a relief… to read veteran Israeli journalist Hirsh Goodman's new book, The Anatomy of Israel's Survival. Goodman is no apologist for Israel, but his book makes what has become a novel argument: Why not recognize that Israel is a complex, dynamic, and democratic country and, well, sort of leave it alone?

JTNews (Washington state)

“Summarizing Israel’s history and place in the Middle East, he reviews the challenges to its survival, both internal and external. He offers a hopeful stance that conflict is not inevitable.”


About the Author

Hirsh Goodman is a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University where he directs the Bronfman Program on Information Strategy. Prior to joining INSS, Goodman was the vice president of the Jerusalem Post. In 1990 he founded The Jerusalem Report and served as its editor-in-chief for eight years. Between 1986 and 1989 he was the strategic fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and four children. This is his fourth book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586485296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485290
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hirsh Goodman says he once resented it when the question was raised as to whether or not Israel could survive. The question was not after all raised about other countries. But his long years of experience and many recent developments bring him to a sense that the question is a real one, and should be addressed. In this book he addresses the question outlining the various threats Israel faces, externally and internally, and suggesting the right path for it to go in.
Among the major dangers is the nuclear program of Radical Islamic Iran. Goodman gives a painfully accurate description of the geographical tinyness and vulnerability of Israel. Between Haifa and Tel Aviv along the coast is the heartland of productive and economically successful Israel. Israel is according to Goodman one nuclear weapon away from total destruction. Despite this Goodman also outlines Israel's superior offensive military capabilities and suggests that even Iran is unlikely to risk the kind of devastation Israel could inflict upon it. He does not say this but in fact Israel could put an end to Iran by destroying the greater Tehran area.
Goodman also talks about other threats including internal ones. He sees the growing Haredi community as a threat. But presents the optimistic idea that this population will choose to integrate economically into the state. He also outlines the problem of the Arab minority of Israel and suggests that their integration depends in part upon their willingness to do national service. He does not suppose that this will make them forget their Palestinian Arab identity but will rather give them a real stake in the state they live in. Goodman explains the negative role a number of treasonous Palestinian Israeli, or Israeli Arab members of Parliament have played.
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I'm hard-pressed to write anything as in-depth and articulate as the other two reviewers so far. I agree with both of them, and they've given a good summary of the book for anyone interested in an overview of the subject matter.

I particularly found hope in his discussion of the choices that Israel and Israelis face going forward, and that peace can actually be a choice of the Israeli people. Both sides seem to continually point fingers in the other direction as to what is stopping peace. Goodman puts forth the case that there is a lot that Israel can do to make the prospects for peace much better, such as solving the Heredim welfware problem in Jerusalem, integrating all Jews (orthodox or no), Israeli Arabs and Bedouin into some form of national service. And of course, stopping settlement expansion is a key thing too.

He is correct in postulating that the majority of younger, up-and-coming Palestinians in the West Bank itself do want peace, and furthermore they want a secular future, not the one Hamas is creating in Gaza. However, Israeli occupation will undermine that and make them susceptible to the ideas of Hamas and others. He also claims that young Israeli politicians are more moderate and peace-wanting than the current crop of political opportunists that currently occupy high positions.

Goodman does not whitewash the fact that some key figures in Israel, such as Avi Lieberman, have extreme and racist views, and reports with matter-of-factness what some Israeli Arab MKs have done that is entirely outrageous and the racism that exists there as well.

As far as I can tell this book is about the fairest recounting of the situation, and hope for the future that I've ever read from the Israeli point of view.
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The blurb for this book is rather misleading. It is not so much an academic or intelligence analysis of Israel's threat environment, but rather a veteran journalist's look at the major internal and external challenges to Israel. Each chapter covers a separate subject The historical review concentrates on the last two decades. This is a good overview for someone who has some grounding in the history and politics of modern Israel but wants to learn more. It would be good for a basic undergrad course on Israel, but is too basic for grad students who already have a good background in Israeli politics. The author was the Jerusalem Post's military correspondent for many years and the editor of the Jerusalem Report.
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Many statements made are incorrect or half complete. For example page 225 and 226: since the war of independence there have been many cases of expulsion of Arabs in Israel; for example from Jaffa, Galilea and Negev. See Ilan Pape The Making of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Shlomo Sand The invention of the Jewish people and Oren Yiftachel Ethnocracy. Not on the scale as operation Dalit and not pushed out of its controlled area, but taken from their properties with no prospect to return or compensation.
Page 129 Eizenkot doctrine is old: its the Iron Wall from Vladimir Jabotiski, see Avi Shlaim Iron Wall. Page 115 after conquest of the Golan in 1967 all Syrians, 131.000, were expelled except the 7000 Druze.
Missing in the anatomy of Israel's survival is whether or not it will be a state for all its inhabitants. The state imposed hafrada (segregation) measures should be waived and it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex. The control off 6 million over 6,6 million (exclusive 1,5 million refugees outside its controlled area's) and treat them as second class or lock them up in Bantustans is not endurable and inhumane. From its position of strenght it can initiate, stear and realize this process. Than it will an economic power in the region and will made a big step forward in development.
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