Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997 - 307 עמודים
Among commentators on Israeli affairs, Yaron Ezrahi is distinguished by his analytical brilliance, his twin passions for Jewish tradition and the tradition of liberal democracy, and his ability to see behind current events to their causes, some of them three generations in the making, some three millennia. In Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel, he offers an uncommonly insightful analysis of the ways the history, politics, and national character of Israel come to bear on current affairs there. Ezrahi regards surprising and divisive recent events - such as the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu's defeat of Shimon Peres in the subsequent ministerial election - as signs of an ongoing, fundamental conflict in Israeli society. This conflict is between "collectivist" national aspirations, upon which the Israeli state was founded in 1948, and the ever more clamorous voices of individualism, called forth by Israel's tradition of liberal democracy. Ezrahi explores ways in which the conflict is felt in diverse aspects of Israeli life and culture, from the social dimensions of military service and the development of the modern Hebrew language to Israelis' attitudes toward nature and the status of women. As Ezrahi sees it, the use of rubber bullets - meant to wound but not to kill - against Palestinian agitators in 1987 epitomized the new Israeli ambivalence about military power, which reflects a more general one between the claims of national identity and those of the self.
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