JEWISH STATE OR ISRAELI NATION? by Boas Evron

JEWISH STATE OR ISRAELI NATION?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A jaded, outdated manifesto of post-Zionism by an Israeli journalist. Evron made a splash with the Tel Aviv cafÇ set (rather than Israel's academic crowd) with the Hebrew publication of The Quality of Freedom and A National Reckoning, from which this book is drawn. Taking a cue from the pre-state school of ``Canaanites'' who wanted to blend secular Jews and Arabs into a nation of Levantine pagans, the author denies the existence of or need for a Jewish state. Displaying ignorance of normative Jewish thought, the author's thesis requires Judaism and nationalism to be incompatible. Overlooking the majority of religious Israelis, who are nationalists and ultrantionalists, Evron seems to only be aware of the Satmar hasidic approach, which posits that only the messiah can return the Jews to their homeland. Evron also touts Napoleon's Jews, ``Frenchmen of the Mosaic persuasion,'' in demonstrating that ``assumptions and ideologies about the nature of the Jewish people and the Jewish State...have largely been refuted by historical developments.'' He claims that Jewish culture and law only flourished ``under foreign rule.'' His post-Zionism resting on a post-post-Holocaust sensibility, Evron even denies the need for Israel as a Jewish national refuge. A lot of water has flowed down the Jordan since his 1988 publications. Just as the barrage of ethnic cleansing following the dissolution of the Soviet Union has sent large waves of Jewish refugees fleeing to Israel, so Muslim and Jewish extremism has forced Israel to seek internal peace through divorce rather than marriage with the area's non-Jews. But Evron still has some powerful points to score about the secularists he does know best. He writes that Israelis like himself ``lack a national consciousness, a religious backbone...and the non-Jews' opinions of them have a decisive influence in determining their opinions about themselves.'' A pseudo-intellectual drive-by with a misfiring Uzi.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-253-31963-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Indiana Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1995




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