The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli Nation­al Char­ac­ter Shapes Our World

  • Review
By – May 20, 2015

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.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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