The Anatomy of Israel's Survival


By Hirsh Goodman

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The question “Can Israel survive?” has echoed loud for Israelis — and Jews, their supporters and adversaries worldwide — since the Holocaust. The recent upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond have raised it anew. Israeli journalist and security analyst Hirsh Goodman set out to answer it, through rigorous factual assessment of each of the challenges his country faces, and by consulting experts and participants on all sides of every complex issue. But what he learned was that this once ‘essential question’ has become a dangerous distraction.

In this provocative and deeply informed book, Goodman shares his clarifying analyses both of recent political events and of Israel’s strategic position. He shows how the country’s obsession with dangers posed by outside forces has obscured the harder issues facing it from within ever since its leaders disregarded Ben Gurion’s advice to leave the territories captured during the Six Day War. By yoking itself to the demographic timebomb of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel propelled itself towards an invidious choice: democracy or Jewish identity. Now, Goodman argues, Israel’s survival is jeopardized more by the competence of its leaders and fissures in its social and political system than by any outside threat — even the apocalyptic-sounding ones from Iran.

  • Washington Jewish Week, October 6, 2011
    “Whether or not you agree with the author's assessment, The Anatomy of Israel's Survival is a thoughtful analysis of the formidable problems facing the Jewish state written in a clear, no-nonsense style by an Israeli insider. If you care deeply about Israel, this book is for you.”
    Moment magazine, November/December 2011

    “Its mosaic of worries and prescriptions offers unusual clarity. That's no surprise: Reporting from Israel in the 1980s, I knew Hirsh Goodman as a good man to call when I wanted to hear something sensible.… He has now done something rare in the literature of Middle East analysis by being unpredictable and unvarnished in his comprehensive appraisal of his country's life expectancy.”

    Jewish Journal of Greater LA
    “a lucid, lively, utterly fascinating and ultimately surprising take on the strategic predicament of the Jewish state.”
    Jewish Ideas Daily

    “It is a relief… to read veteran Israeli journalist Hirsh Goodman's new book, The Anatomy of Israel's Survival. Goodman is no apologist for Israel, but his book makes what has become a novel argument: Why not recognize that Israel is a complex, dynamic, and democratic country and, well, sort of leave it alone?
    JTNews (Washington state)

  • Kirkus Reviews, July 7, 2011

    “[A] chronicle of the existential insecurity that has tipped Israel's fall from grace, and a strong plea to quit its role as occupying power to the Palestinians…Tapping into his access to the defense structure, Goodman does a solid job depicting Israel's ‘ball of thorns.'”
    Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, August 23, 2011
    “The book is lucid and lively, utterly fascinating, and full of surprises… ‘The Anatomy of Israel's Survival' is provocative, to be sure, but Goodman is a persuasive advocate. At a time when so many commentators are reduced to fatalism and despair, he sees a path to peace and security even if he always reminds his reader that the way forward is treacherous…Goodman shows himself to be an optimist with open eyes and clear vision, common sense and real courage.” ‘
    Jerusalem Post, August 26, 2011
    “Goodman is a good storyteller, and intersperses his narrative with anecdotes to illustrate his thesis….An easy read (I finished it in a night), it should be of interest to anyone who cares about Israel's future.”

On Sale
Sep 6, 2011
Page Count
288 pages

Hirsh Goodman

About the Author

Hirsh Goodman is a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University where he directs the Bronfman Program on Information Strategy. Prior to joining INSS, Goodman was the vice president of the Jerusalem Post. In 1990 he founded the Jerusalem Report and served as its editor-in-chief for eight years. Between 1986 and 1989 he was the strategic fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and four children.

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