One has only to look at the headlines or turn on the television news to know that Israel is facing major military and political problems. Hirsh Goodman, a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, takes an evenhanded approach to examining the country’s dilemma. He traces Israel’s history and assesses its security as well as its prospects for peace and prosperity, examining its place in the Middle East and the challenges it faces from its neighbors. Taking an approach that is different from that of most analysts, Goodman notes that Israel’s obsession with threats from the outside obscures the more difficult issues that it faces from within. The fissures in the social and political system and the competence of the country’s leaders pose more danger than a potential attack by Iran. He feels that the country needs to concentrate on a peaceful solution so that “no Arab country will have moral justification for going to war with Israel in the future.” This means sharing Jerusalem as an international city and creating a society where all share equally in benefits and commitments. This is an important book with a timely message.
Barbara M. Bibel is a librarian at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, CA; and at Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA.