The Pen and the Sword: Israeli Intellectuals and the Making of the Nation-State

Michael Keren, Author Westview Press $50 (120p) ISBN 978-0-8133-0633-9
Jewish intellectuals helped define the political, spiritual and cultural parameters of Zionism. Yet Israel's intelligentsia became articulate critics of the new state, challenging the application of messianic ideals to politics. This transformation is the theme of a thoughtful, lucid study by Keren, political scientist at Tel Aviv University. He shows how Israeli writers took up modernist trends from surrealist to absurdist; how a new generation of teachers challenged bureaucratic control of education. For Keren, the Six Day War of 1967 was a turning point, after which Israeli thinkers increasingly accepted nationalist assumptions uncritically and helped reinforce the status quo. Still, he argues, some intellectuals have resumed an actively critical role, spurred by the Begin government's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, a move they condemned as unethical and megalomaniacal. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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