Suggested Readings

Challenges in Israeli Society

Israeli Economy: Successes and Challenges

Israel and Its Neighbors

Easy Reads

  • Friedman, Thomas. From Beirut to Jerusalem. New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1989 (a New York Times correspondent’s view of the Lebanese Civil War and Israel’s role in the still unresolved turmoil).
  • Wouk, Herman. The Hope. New York: Little Brown, December 1993 (an account of the establishment of the state of Israel and its struggle through three wars during its first two decades of existence).
  • Oz, Amos. In The Land of Israel. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc., 1983 (a brief and poignant account of Israelis’ perceptions of Palestinians and vice versa; leading Israeli author; any of his books are suggested for insight into contemporary Israeli views).
  • Uris, Leon. Exodus. New York: Doubleday, July 1958 (a story about the ingathering of Jewish refugees fleeing Europe after the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel). or The Hajj (also by the same author).
  • Collins, Larry and Lapierre, Dominique. O Jerusalem! London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1972 (a lively telling of the story of Israel’s War of Independence from the perspective of its Jewish and Arab participants).

Historical and Political Books

  • Avineri, Shlomo. The Making of Modern Zionism. New York: Basic Books, 1984 (excellent overview of the history and ideology of Zionism).
  • Frankel, Glenn. Beyond the Promised Land: Jews and Arabs on a Hard Road to a New Israel. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994 (an analysis of social and political changes in Israel which led the country to Oslo and beyond).
  • Fromkin, David. The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 1989.
  • Ghali, Boutros Boutros. Egypt’s Road to Jerusalem: A Diplomat’s Story of the Struggle for Peace in the Middle East. New York: Random House, 1997.
  • Gorenberg, Gershom. The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of Settlement 1967-1977. New York: Times Books, 2000 (an account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism).
  • Heller, Mark and Nusseibeh, Sari. No Trumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Hill and Wang, 1991 (a view of a binational solution to the conflict by an Israeli and a Palestinian).
  • Hertzberg, Arthur. The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader. New York: Atheneum, 1972 (another excellent overview of the history and ideology of Zionism).
  • Khalidi, Rashid. Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.
  • Kimmerling, Baruch and Migdal, Joel S. Palestinians: The Making of a People. The Free Press, 1993 (an historical portrait of the evolution of Palestinian society from the Ottoman period to the present).
  • Laqueur, Walter and Rubin, Barry (eds). The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict. New York: Penguin Books, 7th ed., 2008 (fundamental to an understanding of the conflict).
  • Lewis, Bernard. The Middle East and the West. New York: Harper and Row, 1974 (paperback; for a basic understanding to the region).
  • Morris, Benny. One State, Two States. Yale University Press, 2010.
  • Netanyahu, Binyamin. A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World. New York: Bantam Books, 1998 (traces the origins, development and politics of Israel’s relationship with the Arab world and the West).
  • Oren, Michael. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Peretz, Dan and Gideon Doron. The Government and Politics of Israel. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1997 (this is a comprehensive overview of the origins of Israel’s democracy and the modern day political system).
  • Quandt, William. Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israel Conflict since 1967 3rd edition. Brookings Institution Press and University of California Press, 2005 (a general history of American diplomacy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1967-2004).
  • Rabinovich, Itamar and Reinharz, Yehuda. Israel in the Middle East. Oxford University Press, 1984 (documents and readings on Israeli society, politics, and foreign relations from 1948 to the present).
  • Ross, Dennis. The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. Farrar, Straus and Giroux August 2004 (“[H]is provocative inside story of the Middle East peace process, Dennis Ross recounts the search for enduring peace in that troubled region with unprecedented vividness, candor, and insight,” from inside flap).

Religious Issues

  • Colbi, Saul P. Christianity in the Holy Land: Past and Present. Tel Aviv: Am Hasefer, 1969.(out of print).
  • Colbi, Saul P. A History of Christian Presence in the Holy Land. Landham, Maryland and London: University Press of America, 1988.
  • Esposito, John. Islam: The Straight Path. Oxford Academic Press, 1992.
  • Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews. New York: Harper and Row, 1987.
  • Nasr, Seyyed. Ideals and Realities of Islam. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.
  • Pragai, Michael J. Faith and Fulfilment: Christians and the Return to the Promised Land. London: Vallentine, Mitchell & Co., 1985.
  • Rossing, Daniel. “The Christian Communities and the State of Israel” in Christian Jewish Relations, 19 (3), September 1986, pp. 16-26.
  • Wigoder, Geoffrey. “Interfaith Relations in Israel” in Christian Jewish Relations, 19 (3), September 1986, pp. 7-15.
  • Wouk, Herman. This is My God. New York: Little, Brown Inc., 1988.

Biographies and Autobiographies of Israeli Figures

  • Begin, Menachem. The Revolt. New York: Nash, 1981.
  • Ben Gurion, David. Israel: A Personal History. New York: Herzl Press, 1972.
  • Dayan, Moshe. Story of My Life. New York: Morrow, 1976.
  • Horovitz, David, ed. Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin. The Jerusalem Report Staff. New York: New Market Press, 1996
  • Meir, Golda. My Life. New York: Dell, 1978 (paperback).
  • Peres, Shimon. The New Middle East. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1993.
  • Kurzman, Dan. Soldier of Peace: The Life of Yitzhak Rabin. New York: Harper Collins, 1998.
  • Rabin, Yitzhak. The Rabin Memoirs. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1979.

Special Interest

  • Rebhun, Uzi and Chaim I. Waxman (eds.), Jews in Israel: Contemporary Social and Cultural Patterns. University Press of New England,
  • Bar-Am, Micha. Israel: A Photobiography: The First Fifty Years. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998 (features photographs taken over the course of Israel’s history with an essay by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman).
  • Furstenberg, Rochelle. The Women’s Movement in Israel. New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994 (traces the development of Israeli feminism, with emphasis on its American components; out of print).
  • Grossman, David. Conversations with Palestinians in Israel–Sleeping on a Wire. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993 (recorded conversations among Israeli Arabs, as well as their encounters with other Palestinians and Jewish Israelis).
  • Liebman, Charles S. and Don-Yehiya, Eliezer. Religion and Politics in Israel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984 (describes the dynamics of religion in Israeli society from the perspective of modern Orthodox Jews).
  • Melman, Yossi. The New Israelis: An Intimate View of a Changing People. Carol Publishing, 1992 (a dramatic and intimate view of how the Israeli people face their changing nation and it implications for the future of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora).
  • Raphael, Chaim. The Road From Babylon: The Story of Sephardi and Oriental Jews. New York: Harper and Row, 1985.
  • Shipler, Richard. Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.
  • Sprinzak, Ehud. The Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991 (examines the origins, convictions, and political impact of the radical right in Israel).


  • Beyond the Walls, directed by Uri Barbash. Tel Aviv: April Films Ltd. 1984 (life and Jewish-Arab coexistence in an Israeli prison).
  • Cup Final, directed by Eran Riklis. New York: First Run Features. 1992 (an Israeli is held captive by a PLO unit during the 1982 Lebanon War but both captor and captive are avid soccer fans who are trying to get to the World Cup).
  • Exodus, directed by Otto Preminger. United Artists. 1960 (Video 1992) (based on the novel by Leon Uris, this drama unfolds in pre-war Palestine and details the founding of the State of Israel and the War of Independence).
  • Late Summer Blues. Ergo Media. 1987 (a group of Israeli teens awaits induction into the army prior to the 1973 War).
  • Trumpet in the Wadi. 2001(an impossible love story).
  • The Wonder of Israel. Washington, D.C.: Kidsnet. 1997 (award-winning video detailing the history, culture and politics of Israel that includes a thorough teacher’s guide and map of Israel).