Author(s): Diana Pinto
Israel has changed. The country was born in Europe's shadow, haunted by the Holocaust and inspired by the Enlightenment. But for Israelis today, Europe is hardly relevant, and the country's ties to the broader West, even to America, are fraying. Where is Israel heading? How do citizens of an increasingly diverse nation see themselves globally and historically? In this revealing portrait of the new Israel, Diana Pinto presents a country simultaneously moving forward and backward, looking outward and turning in on itself. In business, Israel is forging new links with the giants of Asia, and its booming science and technology sectors are helping define the future for the entire world. But in politics and religion, Israelis are increasingly self-absorbed, building literal and metaphorical walls against hostile neighbors and turning to ancient religious precepts for guidance here and now. Pinto captures the new moods and mindsets, the anxieties and hopes of Israelis today in sharply drawn sketches of symbolically charged settings. She takes us on the roads to Jerusalem, to border control at Ben Gurion Airport, to a major Israeli conference in Jerusalem, to a hill overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, to the heart of Israel's high-tech economy, and to sparkling new malls and restaurants where people of different identities share nothing more than a desire to ignore one another. Vivid and passionate but underpinned by deep analysis, this is a profound and sometimes unsettling account of a country that is no longer where we might think.
In every chapter vivid colors depict in exquisite detail some delimited aspect of life. Diana Pinto has an eye for the telling detail that helps us feel the complexity, the nuance, the texture, and the flow of social, economic, cultural, and political life in Israel today. -- Tony Smith, Tufts University Diana Pinto's book is brilliant. She draws a portrait of Israel as a living entity, warts and all, caught between the euphoric power of its creativity, and the weaknesses of its historical contradictions and political impasses. Studded with multi-layered illuminating anecdotes and metaphors, the book could easily pass as a fascinating travel journal. But rigorous intellectual categories lurk behind the highly readable style. -- Saul Friedlander, University of California, Los Angeles A terrific book, so well written that it is hard to put down while offering deep and analytical insights that must be taken seriously by anyone concerned with contemporary Israel. -- Susan Neiman, Director, Einstein Forum Brilliant and beautifully written. Even those who disagree with Pinto's analysis cannot deny its force and her deep love and concern for Israel. An equally anguished and powerful rebuttal can be expected from Jerusalem. -- Shlomo Avineri, author of The Making of Modern Zionism
Diana Pinto is an intellectual historian and policy analyst living in Paris.