THE MODERN HISTORY OF ISRAEL by Noah Lucas

THE MODERN HISTORY OF ISRAEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An exceptionally good history of Israel by a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield. The book begins with the turn-of, the-century collapse of Eastem European Jewry's existence, and the earliest Jewish settlers in Palestine, who much resembled the French plantation colonizers in Algeria. The second wave of immigration brought a semi-socialistic and proto-nationalistic spirit with the pioneer youth and the paradoxes they found in trying to ban cheap Arab labor. Lucas combines a dry detachment with a close knowledge of economic aspects and internal politics, a combination rarely found in such studies. He shows the lack of unanimity around Ben-Gurion's idea of statehood -- or even around the idea of a national centralized army. The leftists tended toward an accommodation with the Arabs on the first question, while the right feared a mass citizens' army as a potential threat to property. The book also provides a useful map of the Haganah, the Palm. ach, the Irgun, and the Stem Gang (Lucas asserts that Abraham Stern himself wanted to make a deal with Hitler to help the latter conquer Palestine in 1940 if he would release Jews). The ArabIsraeli wars are coolly and briefly described; more striking are the military-governmental intrigues, including intricate discussions of the two Lavon. Ben-Gurion affairs, and the post-1948 arrival of masses of non-Zionist refugees, which helped justify the Mapai affirmation of clear, pro-capitalist social democracy. Lucas succeeds in making the Israelis into an actual, evolving, heterogeneous group instead of an emotional construct, providing an excellent basis for the inevitable polemical discussions.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Praeger