Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its History

!!> Reading ➵ Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its History ➭ Author Rich Cohen – Johndore.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its History
  • Rich Cohen
  • English
  • 03 July 2019
  • 0374177783

About the Author: Rich Cohen

RICH COHEN is the author ofSweet and Low FSG, 2006 , Tough Jews, The Avengers, The Record Men, and the memoirLake Effect His work has appeared in many major publications, and he is a contributing editor atRolling Stone He lives with his family in Connecticut.Forinformation, please see


Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its HistoryIt S A Great Irony That Israel Was Secure As An Idea Than It S Ever Been As A Nation With An Army In AD , When The Second Temple Was Destroyed, A Handful Of Visionaries Saved Judaism By Reinventing It By Taking What Had Been A National Religion, Identified With A Particular Place, And Turning It Into An Idea Jews No Longer Needed Jerusalem To Be Jews Whenever A Jew Studied Wherever He Was He Would Be In The Holy City In This Way, A Few Rabbis Turned A Real City Into A City Of The Mind In This Way, They Turned The Temple Into A Book And Preserved Their Faith Though You Can Burn A City, You Cannot Sack An Idea Or Kill A Book But In Our Own Time, Zionists Have Turned The Book Back Into Atemple And Unlike An Idea, A Temple Can Be Destroyed The Creation Of Israel Has Made Jews Vulnerable In A Way They Have Not Been For Two Thousand Years In Israel Is Real, Rich Cohen S Superb New History Of The Zionist Idea And The Jewish State The History Of A Nation Chronicled As If It Were The Biography Of A Person He Brings To Life Dozens Of Fascinating Figures, Each Driven By The Same Impulse To Reach Jerusalem From False Messiahs Such As David Alroy Cohen Calls Him The First Superhero, With His Tallis As A Cape And Sabbatai Zevi, Who Led Thousands On A Mad Spiritual Journey, To The Early Zionists Many Of Them Failed Journalists , To The Iconic Figures Of Modern Jewish Sparta, David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, And Ariel Sharon, Cohen Shows How All These Lives Together Form A Single Story, A Single Life In This Unique Book, Cohen Examines The Myth Of The Wandering Jew, The Paradox Of Jewish Power How Can You Be Both Holy And Nuclear , And The Triumph And Tragedy Of The Jewish State How The Creation Of Modern Israel Has Changed What It Means To Be A Jew Anywhere

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10 thoughts on “Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and Its History

  1. Jeremy says:

    I ve spent a lot of time reading about the Middle East It has haunted me for years This is, by far, the best book I ve read explaining the history and background of the case made by the nation of Israel It is simple and succinct It never reads like a textbook As an ancient history major and as a student of the Old Testament as far as it is translated correctly, of course , I found Cohen offering new light on oft discussed ancient incidences I learned a lot from his descriptions of history I ve spent a lot of time reading about the Middle East It has haunted me for years This is, by far, the best book I ve read explaining the history and background of the case made by the nation of Israel It is simple and succinct It never reads like a textbook As an ancient history major and as a student of the Old Testament as far as it is translated correctly, of course , I found Cohen offering new light on oft discussed ancient incidences I learned a lot from his descriptions of history of the Jewish people If you re going to read one book about modern Israel, this is your book

  2. Rupin Chaudhry says:

    Its witty, satirical, humorous, scandalous, tragic and euphoric account of an idea called Israel The author captures the Jewish history from the ancient times of Romans and Pharaohs to the present day world The story doesn t culminate into any ending because Israel is still evolving and it is still unstable but the concept of promised land leads to some degree of fruition wherein a Jew, in any part of the world, has a country he can call home This country is his and like all other countries Its witty, satirical, humorous, scandalous, tragic and euphoric account of an idea called Israel The author captures the Jewish history from the ancient times of Romans and Pharaohs to the present day world The story doesn t culminate into any ending because Israel is still evolving and it is still unstable but the concept of promised land leads to some degree of fruition wherein a Jew, in any part of the world, has a country he can call home This country is his and like all other countries it is capable of bringing the best and the worst deeds The most moving text that captures this sentiment goes like When a Jew cop is chasing a Jew criminal, it means the Jews have a home of their own.Each episode in the history of Israel is written from an ancient unfinished story Rightly the creation of the Jewish nation happened because of many such stories met at a conducive alignment Ottoman empire collapsed, Arabs were in decay, allies had won the war, Britain went broke, cold war was on, six million jews were dead and the remaining wanted an end to oppression We in India admire Israel for the sense of nationalism this country teaches The episodes of 6 day war and Yom Kipur war capture the sentiments very well The book is highly recommended for history enthusiasts and all Indians who must know that nationalism is just not a sentiment but an action

  3. Avi says:

    I don t necessarily agree with all of Cohen s ideas and theses, but the book is fantastic Its a great read, and Cohen does an incredible job tying a plethora of history into a relevant and fascinating work It could have been very boring, but Cohen s adlibs, dry humor, and thought provoking comments throughout the book kept me highly engaged in my reading I had a tough time putting the book down An 8.5 on a scale of 10.

  4. Emily says:

    As a person who did not have much retained knowledge in biblical history, Israel, or Jewish history, I found this book to be a great comprehensive overview I really appreciated the author s perspective and he made it clear when he was expressing his viewpoint which may not necessarily be reflective of other populations I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learningabout Jewish Israeli history and attempting to understand present day Israel As a person who did not have much retained knowledge in biblical history, Israel, or Jewish history, I found this book to be a great comprehensive overview I really appreciated the author s perspective and he made it clear when he was expressing his viewpoint which may not necessarily be reflective of other populations I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learningabout Jewish Israeli history and attempting to understand present day Israel

  5. Louise says:

    While there are manycomplete and precise books on the history of Israel, I doubt any of them is so much fun to read I would imagine the breezy and sometimes glib prose and the metaphors relating people and places to movie characters and sets grates on the purists, but for those who want to know how things got the way they are, it gives a good outline The general reader should come away understanding of main events in the history of Israel.The book is written from a Jewish perspective b While there are manycomplete and precise books on the history of Israel, I doubt any of them is so much fun to read I would imagine the breezy and sometimes glib prose and the metaphors relating people and places to movie characters and sets grates on the purists, but for those who want to know how things got the way they are, it gives a good outline The general reader should come away understanding of main events in the history of Israel.The book is written from a Jewish perspective but probably not a mainstream one Cohen uses the first person plural in referring to the Jewish people i.e Now that we have a country, we can cheer for a soccer team Cohen relates historical personages accents, appearances and attitudes to people in his family More definitively, his love for Israel comes through when he writes about the impact of the past and the magnetic pull of the country.Cohen coins phrases, such as Jerusalem syndrome and the new Jew to describe what he feels are common emotional responses to Israel and its history Metaphors surrounding David, the book and the Second Third Temple abound.There is a lot of great human interest material on the famous such as Theodore Herzl and Moshe Dayan and the not so famous such as Samuel Zemurray, and Moshe Levinger The notorious such as Yitzhak Rabin s assassin, Yigal Amir, are described in an engaging way too.If you are knowledgeable about Israel this will probably not suit you If you are a Zionist, it may make you angry If you have a bit of knowledge about Israel, you will find many books to help you that arecomplete The benefit of this one is that it will hold your attention

  6. Kathy says:

    This book reads like a chat with the author, albeit a really long involved chat It begins with the destruction of the second temple and takes us through the history of Israel up to the present Cohen has a way of putting archaic concepts into terms that I can understand I particularly appreciated when he compared medieval stories of the Khazars a colony of warrior Jews to his boyhood book of Great Jewish Sports Heros.Israel has a long and often bitter past, but Cohen is a gentle guide on an This book reads like a chat with the author, albeit a really long involved chat It begins with the destruction of the second temple and takes us through the history of Israel up to the present Cohen has a way of putting archaic concepts into terms that I can understand I particularly appreciated when he compared medieval stories of the Khazars a colony of warrior Jews to his boyhood book of Great Jewish Sports Heros.Israel has a long and often bitter past, but Cohen is a gentle guide on an important journey towards understanding

  7. Flow says:

    In preparation for a trip to Israel, I realized I needed to learnabout the country and its history Based on Goodreads reviews, I read Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis and based on a personal reference, I also read Israel is Real by Rich Cohen I m rating these two books the same 4 stars but they have pretty different styles Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn is an awesome chronicle of the history of Israel,factual than Israel is Real In preparation for a trip to Israel, I realized I needed to learnabout the country and its history Based on Goodreads reviews, I read Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis and based on a personal reference, I also read Israel is Real by Rich Cohen I m rating these two books the same 4 stars but they have pretty different styles Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn is an awesome chronicle of the history of Israel,factual than Israel is Real but does a great job highlighting artists of the region and their takes on certain historical events to soften the fact based approach My only wish for this book is that it would have spenttime in the deep, biblical era history of the region Israel is Real is a lighter read based on Cohen s writing style but still has a lot of the facts you will need to pass basic to moderate Israel history He interjects his personal experiences and opinions into the bookso than Gordis does, but it never comes across as trying to persuade you to take any sides In general, I d say Cohen provided apleasurable, leisure read and actually touches on the ancient history of the regionthan Gordis, but Gordis providesdetails overall Which one you choose to read will be depend on your preferred writing style and or what you hope to get out of the book Or you can do what I did, read Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn and then Israel is Real this is the order I d recommend.Of note both books are written from the Jewish Israeli perspective If you d like to hearfrom the Muslim Arab side of things, you will need a different book I think hearing accounts from the other side would be a great compliment these books and that might be my next step in learning about the regiontime for somebook research

  8. Alan says:

    This is a very weird book It s not quite history as it is a highlighting of certain interpretations of Jewish history Zionism, according to Cohen, is rooted in ancient Israel and is best portrayed by the Zealots a group of religiously fanatic warrior Jews who went the way of the dodo along with the Second Temple The other type of Jew, the Yavne Jew, is one that survives the Romans through submission and abstracting his religion Cohen seems to paint Jewish history as a struggle between thes This is a very weird book It s not quite history as it is a highlighting of certain interpretations of Jewish history Zionism, according to Cohen, is rooted in ancient Israel and is best portrayed by the Zealots a group of religiously fanatic warrior Jews who went the way of the dodo along with the Second Temple The other type of Jew, the Yavne Jew, is one that survives the Romans through submission and abstracting his religion Cohen seems to paint Jewish history as a struggle between these types of archetypes, with the Yavne Jew being Jewish history s dominant mode, and the creation of Israel being a re kindling of the Zealot way It s a weird paradox, but makes for an interesting read Overall the book is entertaining, but not very academic There are typos and some technical mistakes like how Yavne is north of Tel Aviv when it s actually south It does elucidate some troubling points worth considering about Israeli and Jewish history, but overall is quite positive about the journey To be honest, I m not quite sure who this book is for There areprecise and well written histories on both the Jews and Israel out there for those interested in learning the facts I found Israel is Real most useful in its emphasis on pre political Zionism Cohen s scope of history emphasizes the Jewish yearning for nationhood and a return to the land of Israel throughout all of Jewish history This is an often overlooked narrative In this, Cohen s writing makes for a great book that focuses on the historical sources of Zionism from the beginning of Jewish history to Herzl

  9. Mary says:

    Lent to me by a friend, I found this an invaluable read A secular Jew outlines the mystery, the history and the eternality of the nation He describes the miracle of the 6 day war where even atheists felt the press of God He marches through the centuries, outlining the mission of the Jews, the failed messiahs, the issue of Jewish self esteem, the political rise of Zionism, and provides the best description of anti semitism I ve ever understood, admitting that Jews themselves are guilty som Lent to me by a friend, I found this an invaluable read A secular Jew outlines the mystery, the history and the eternality of the nation He describes the miracle of the 6 day war where even atheists felt the press of God He marches through the centuries, outlining the mission of the Jews, the failed messiahs, the issue of Jewish self esteem, the political rise of Zionism, and provides the best description of anti semitism I ve ever understood, admitting that Jews themselves are guilty some wanted a state so that they could be Jews, some wanted a state so that they could stop being Jews p.159 He develops the struggle so well, speaking of how the old 20th c warriors were gloomy, the fact that you could win and win and still not win Then on p271 The creation of Israel in 1948 and its conquest of Jerusalem in 1967 are not ordinary history For those inclined to hear them, they are divine proclamation that the hour is near

  10. Alvaro H. says:

    This is my second read by author Rich Cohen after the mezmerizing The Fish that Ate the Whale and it did not disappoint Cohen manages to regail us with the history story of the jewish people and Zionism with clinical insight and brilliant wit He has a gift for finding the rhyming poetry and the timeless archetypes in political and territorial turnmoil that spans many centuries and a wide array of players Israel Is Real is a great primer for those who have a cursory and muddled unde This is my second read by author Rich Cohen after the mezmerizing The Fish that Ate the Whale and it did not disappoint Cohen manages to regail us with the history story of the jewish people and Zionism with clinical insight and brilliant wit He has a gift for finding the rhyming poetry and the timeless archetypes in political and territorial turnmoil that spans many centuries and a wide array of players Israel Is Real is a great primer for those who have a cursory and muddled understanding of the Palestine Israel conflict as I did when I first picked it up Highly recommended My only critique is that I wish it hadmaps to illustrate the region s ever shifting borders and insurmountable toponyms that mix ancient nomenclature and modern settlements