Alon Gratch shares a compelling and disturbing portrayal of the Israeli national character with his readers. The insight is worthwhile, the analysis is sharp and the anecdotes are touching, funny and at times disturbing — this is, after all, a psychoanalysis of Israel and Israelis.
Psychoanalyzing an entire people, a whole nation — especially a nation like Israel — is very difficult and yet, he makes it seem effortless. The people Gratch writes about are plagued by the memory of the Holocaust; they possess an arrogance and a know-it-all-ness that is unparalleled; they are both successful and guilty over their successes.
Gratch describes what he calls Israel’s post-traumatic stress. And at the same time, he explains, Israelis have a persecution complex. On the one hand they strive to be simply normal, on the other and at the same time, they want or need to be exceptional.
And then there are the real conflicts that Israel faces. Here Gratch suggests that Israelis must directly confront these conflicts and not simply see them as a threat or try to shut them out and say there are no solutions. These conflicts could ultimately cause the demise of Israel.
In The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World, Gratch writes a very informative and sometimes funny analysis. He weaves together wonderful stories allowing his readers to understand his arguments. Many books have been written about Israeli society, but seldom are they so easy and fun to read while at the same time forcing the reader to sit up and ask some serious questions.