ISRAEL OBSERVED: An Anatomy of the State by William Frankel

ISRAEL OBSERVED: An Anatomy of the State

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Israel without unrealistic illusions is the theme of this balanced assessment of the post-1977 Jewish state. Frankel, former editor of England's Jewish Chronicle, provides a ""book on how Israel works"": how Israelis manage amid inflation, war, and terrorism. Also, how antitheses, or the negative and positive, coexist: on the one hand, pervasive political patronage, an endemic old-boys' network (which controls important jobs), a lumbering labyrinthine bureaucracy, the black market, organized crime, and the waning influence of Labor Zionism; on the other hand, flourishing kibbutzim, an equitable system of justice, a basically efficient army (though the army has still not fully recovered from the shock of '73), and a germinating private-enterprise sector. Based on first-hand observation and official reports which rarely reach the general press, Frankel's concise factual survey of Israeli institutions is augmented by pointed biographical sketches of influential personalities in politics--Likud, Labor, National Religious Party leaders, and gadflies Uri Avneri and Shulamit Aloni--as well as of important bureaucrats, soldiers, businessmen, educators, and scientists. Plus: Israeli Arabs who have recently emerged as power brokers and are rarely idolized by the media. Although the emphasis is on the Begin era, short historical surveys in this topically-arranged volume place the social problems which the Begin government inherited but has neglected (because of preoccupation with the peace process?) into perspective. Enhanced by a useful glossary and selective bibliography, this readable handbook is an excellent introduction for the general reader.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1981
Publisher: Thames & Hudson--dist. by Norton