Israel - Introduction to a Difficult Country
Israel: Torn between Democracy and Theocracy
Why is Israel, a country with a population of less than eight million people, in the world’s headlines almost every day? Why does it evoke such polarized emotions? And why have Israel’s policies, for decades, ostensibly prevented any movement towards a peace settlement with the Arab world?
In Israel, Introduction to a Difficult Country, Carlo Strenger, philosopher, psychoanalyst and political commentator for Israel’s leading liberal newspaper Haaretz gives a provocative answer to these questions.
Israel, Strenger claims, is misleading. It looks like a modern high-tech superpower, but it is a belated country that has come into existence only sixty-three years ago. Through his encounters with Israeli politicians, rabbis and intellectuals Strenger shows that there is no such thing as Israeli society: Israel is torn into five sub-culture that hardly communicate with each other and have very different visions for the country’s future.
Will Israel be a liberal democracy, a theocracy or a mix between the two?
The chips, Strenger argues, are not yet down, and the fight for Israel’s identity is harder today than ever. Placed at the birthplace of monotheism, haunted by the memory of the holocaust, each Israeli group believes in the absolute righteousness of its position.
A synthesis between colorful description and psycho-historical analysis, Israel, Introduction to a Difficult Country provides unique insight into Israel’s unique plight, but it is also a passionate call for a pragmatic politics beyond self-righteousness.
Carlo Strenger is a philosopher and psychoanalyst, professor of psychology at Tel Aviv University and chair of clinical psychology. The author of six previous books he is a internationally renowned commentator on Israeli affairs, writing primarily for Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal newspaper, but also for The Guardian, Huffington Post, The New York Times and other outlets.