Bernard Avishai, Adjunct Professor of Business, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, splits his time between Jerusalem and Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Israel: The Divisions of ‘Unity’

For Americans who have been disheartened listening to Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir speak for Israel during the past seven years, the visit of Shimon Peres in October must have been something of a relief. In Washington Peres talked of a plan for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon. Instead of …

Jordan: Looking for an Opening

“How can Israeli soldiers fight a ten-year-old boy who wants to die? Or a teen-ager at the wheel of an exploding truck—smiling because he knows that in ten seconds he will be in Heaven? This is the generation I am afraid of!” The speaker, though she had just come from …

Can Begin Be Stopped?

Is the Reagan plan dead? On April 10, King Hussein announced that Jordan would neither act “separately nor in lieu of anybody else in Middle East peace negotiations.” This has seriously undermined hopes that President Reagan’s call on September 1 for Palestinian self-rule in association with Jordan would revive the …

Looking Over Jordan

Last September President Reagan called for “self-government by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan.” He did not refer to the PLO except to acknowledge its forced “evacuation” of Beirut. For a while Reagan’s proposals seemed to be having some success, notwithstanding Prime Minister Begin’s immediate …

The Road to Disaster

“There are two camps on the West Bank today,” the Bethlehem journalist Jamil Hamad told Rafik Halabi after the Camp David accords were signed: “PLO supporters and PLO members.” In West Bank Story, his chronicle of the relations between Israeli authorities and local Palestinian leaders, Halabi reluctantly arrives at much …

The Victory of the New Israel

The Palestinian scholar Walid Khalidi said to me recently that Menachem Begin may yet succeed where Nasser failed in bringing unity to the Arab world. No doubt this is why Yasir Arafat expressed satisfaction in June at the good prospects for Begin’s reelection. Yet the diplomatic and military pressures now …

Do Israel’s Arabs Have a Future?

For Israelis, one of the most disturbing facts of life is that so many of the five hundred thousand Arabs who are Israeli citizens are increasingly militant supporters of the PLO. In the elections of 1977 over half of them voted for Rakah, Israel’s pro-Moscow Communist Party, which claims to …

Friends and Enemies

By, “the Palestinians” the British television journalist Jonathan Dimbleby means the hundreds of thousands of people in South Lebanon—what Israelis call “Fatahland”—who are the children of the refugees who fled Palestine in 1948. They are the main body of the national movement whose vanguard is the PLO. Having spent their …

Whose Peace Now?

The indefatigable editors and sponsors of New Outlook, the monthly of Israel’s peace camp, convened an international symposium in Washington on October 27. “Eminent scholars and statesmen,” as the announcement put it—Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans—were invited to talk about solving the Palestinian problem. As with an earlier New Outlook conference …

Begin vs. Begin

When President Sadat came to Jerusalem in November 1977 he stole the initiative from Arab “rejectionists”—not only Syria, Iraq, Libya, but all the important factions of the PLO. Among these are Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, the Syrian-backed Saika, the Iraqi-backed ALF, Naif Hawatme’s PDFLP, and George Habash’s PFLP. What seems forgotten …

In Cold Blood

Though nothing can be immortall, which mortals make; yet, if men had the use of reason they pretend to, their Common-wealths might be secured, at least from perishing by internall diseases…. Therefore when they come to be dissolved, not by externall violence but by intestine disorder, the fault is not …

You Can’t Go Home Again

If Napoleon wins, the better for the Jews; if he loses, the better for Judaism. —Scheneur Zalman of Lyadi (1804) American Jews will be disturbed by Hillel Halkin’s articulate and nervous “letters” from Israel. A former American himself, Halkin prophesies that “Jewish life in the [American] diaspora is doomed.” …

A New Israel

Political revolutions can be compared to kicking through rotting doors, and Israel’s Labor Alignment provided just such a barrier to Likud’s[^1] stunning victory on May 17. It is now well known that the Labor Party was broadly perceived to be corrupt, suspected of hoarding illegal slush funds. Quite aside from …

Israel Letter: The New Trap

—Jerusalem, early October The recent Sinai agreement was negotiated in an atmosphere of growing confusion that is new and disturbing for Israelis. Although the economic recession has led to a sharp rise in emigration—some estimates range as high as 20,000 a year during 1974 and 1975—there is no feeling …

The Jewish State in Question

When Ford and Brezhnev recently met, they announced, predictably, that it would be desirable to revive the Arab-Israeli peace talks. But even if a new conference at Geneva had their backing, it would be hard to imagine a more difficult time for the shaky Rabin government to accept an invitation …

Israel: The Threat from the Right

—Jerusalem, mid-April, just before Yitzhak Rabin’s election Ever since the December elections the right-wing coalition in Israel—the Likud—has been a looming presence here and one often misunderstood abroad. The Likud now commands thirty-nine seats in Israel’s Knesset (roughly a third of the total). It is often mentioned as a …

Israel: The Last Hurrah

—Jerusalem, early April, before Golda Meir’s resignation No historical struggle, no cultural revival has been more deliberate and self-conscious than that of the Jews in Israel. They are fanatics about individual liberty and personal independence—often to a point of being impudent and undisciplined—and in bearing immense burdens they have …

The New Struggle for Palestine

—Jerusalem Your duty is to beat off attacks, but the smell of blood must not go to your heads. Remember that justice is in our name, defense [Haganah]; our aim is to provide security for creative work. Your organization is subordinate to this ideal—not its master. —Havlagah (“Self-restraint”) Haganah …