An examination of the 60 years of Israel's existence, 1948-2008.
This work focuses on the evolution of political parties, power, and ideology in independent Israel, which has its 60th birthday in May. Shindler (Israeli & modern Jewish studies, Univ. of London) emphasizes the ongoing search for security for the new state, providing a solid, detailed overview of the growth of the Zionist vision and six decades of Israeli development through the intifada and the Lebanese war in 2006. While Israel became a populous, prosperous, and militarily dominant nation, peace with its neighbors remained elusive. Progress toward peace was undermined both by the increasing strength of right-wing nationalist and religious parties in Israel and corruption, disorganization, and emerging Islamist militancy among Palestinians. The hopes raised by negotiations through the 1990s were eroded by increasing violence. Shindler provides a rich portrait of the shifting party configurations and alliances, along with vibrant sketches of key political leaders. He assumes that his readers have a general knowledge of Israeli history, enabling them to follow his careful political and ideological analysis. An important, up-to-date volume for serious readers in both general and academic libraries.