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Sachar gives us the full story of Israel from its early-19th-century ideological beginnings through its ensuing growth as a sovereign republic, giving full weight to diplomatic, political, economic, cultural and military factors—always against the matrix of parallel and interacting events in other countries.
Sachar's updating begins with negotiations toward the interim peace accord that became Oslo II signed late September 1995 and the shocking murder of Rabin in November followed by the naming of Simon Peres as his successor. He traces the failed negotiations with Syria regarding the Golan, draconian counter-measures against Hamas violence and attacks on bases in South Lebanon, the Likud victory in 1996, the expansion of West Bank settlements, Clinton-sponsored peace talks, the Labor return to power in 1999, the withdrawal from South Lebanon, Sharon's visit to the Dome of the Rock resulting in the 2nd Intafada, the 2001 ascendancy of Sharon, the mutual violence of 2002 that produced a full-scale occupation of Palestinian areas, the eventual withdrawal from Gaza, the Hamas victory, the recent new Kadima political realignments, and the gaining strength of the idea of complete separation from the Palestinian areas.
A penultimate chapter considers the integration of the flood of Russian immigrants, the Israeli economy and legal system, and the emergence of a strong "moral voice," and a variety of problems from water deficiency to the ethnic and economic gap between the European and Sephardic populations, the Arabs and Ethiopians, and transient foreign workers. The final chapter deals with Israel's external and internal threats from Palestinian guerrilla activity to Iranian belligerency, a national tendency toward distain for law, secular v. religious tensions, and right-wing territorialism and militancy.
From start to finish, Sachar's magisterial volume confirms its critical reception as "a magnum opus."
“With masterful control . . . with an underlying universal compassion and an historical objectivity Sachar has provided the overall picture of the Jewish movement to statehood and since statehood.” —The New York Times
“A magnificent achievement . . . readable and rewarding.” —The Times (London)
“Howard Sachar's monumental study is . . . a triumph of comprehensive scholarship which is also a delight to read.” —Commentary
“A history of Israel that will stand the test of time.” —Foreign Affairs
“Scholarly, complete, excellently detailed.” —Washington Post
“This massive and excellent volume . . . in . . . conception and execution, in the sweep of its presentation, its keen analysis and sensitive interpretation, bears the mark of a magnum opus.”
—American Historical Review