Impossible Takes Longer: 75 Years After Its Creation, Has Israel Fulfilled Its Founders' Dreams? by Daniel Gordis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
2023 is the 75th year of Israel’s re-founding. In May 1948, the leaders of the Jewish community declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The “Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel” was read aloud by David Ben-Gurion. Broadcasted live on the radio, the text of the declaration was also sent out to the world’s media.
Daniel Gordis takes the ideas and principles expressed in this declaration, unpacks them, and asks how well the state has lived up to the vision expressed by the founding generation of Zionists in this momentous document.
This ingenious method of exploration Israel’s 75 years of modern statehood allows Gordis to focus in on some of the central questions about Zionism and the rationale for a Jewish State as well as the achievements and failures of Israel. By exploring the meaning of the founding principles and visions, and then looking at how Israeli society, culture, and governance have either met and surpassed that vision, or have at times fallen short of those principles, we get a clear set of themes and standards to consider and evaluate.
Gordis provides a balanced approach, one that pulls few punches in criticizing Israel when appropriate. He does not shy away from pointing out the internal tensions in the founders’ visions and principles, and the sometimes inconsistency of the application. This allows Gordis to also express his profound love and admiration for the breathtaking achievements of Israel’s 75 years.
This is a wonderful book that helps reiterate the purpose and need for Israel, as well as understanding Israel within the context of its founding purposes. Reading this after the pogrom of Oct 7 and subsequent explosion of world-wide antisemitism was heartening and reaffirming.
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