"A provocative blend of psychological profile and foreign policy analysis...illuminating and full of fresh insights into contemporary geopolitics...fascinating." --Publishers WeeklyIsraelis are bold and visionary, passionate and generous. But they can also be grandiose and self-absorbed. Emerging from the depths of Jewish history and the drama of the Zionist rebellion agai"A provocative blend of psychological profile and foreign policy analysis...illuminating and full of fresh insights into contemporary geopolitics...fascinating." --Publishers WeeklyIsraelis are bold and visionary, passionate and generous. But they can also be grandiose and self-absorbed. Emerging from the depths of Jewish history and the drama of the Zionist rebellion against it, they have a deeply conflicted identity. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for the collective, but also to sacrifice that very collective for a higher, and likely unattainable, ideal. Resolving these internal conflicts and coming to terms with the trauma of the Holocaust are imperative to Israel's survival as a nation and to the stability of the world.Alon Gratch, a clinical psychologist whose family has lived in Israel for generations, is uniquely positioned to confront these issues. Like the Israeli psyche that Gratch details, The Israeli Mind is both intimate and universal. Intelligent and forthright, compassionate but sometimes maddening, it is an utterly compelling read. Drawing on a broad cultural and historical canvas, and weaving in the author's personal and professional experience, The Israeli Mind presents a provocative, first-hand portrait of the Israeli national character....
|Title||:||The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World|
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World Reviews
“Israelis are bold and visionary, passionate and generous. But they can also be grandiose and self-absorbed.....They are willing to sacrifice themselves for the collective but also to sacrifice that very collective for a higher, and likely unattainable, ideal.” In THE ISRAELI MIND, Ilan Gratch describes how all these qualities affect the way Israelis react to their world. Gratch is a seventh-generation Israeli and a New York-based clinical psychiatrist. Using the knowledge garnered from his life experiences and professional training, he analyzed the Israeli people to determine how the nation’s history has shaped its character. He wrote that the overall psychological description would be paranoid-narcissistic. He used the peoples’ history, primarily its inception and the Holocaust to arrive at his diagnosis and used it to suggest ways in which to use that diagnosis to bring about a peace treaty. It appears that he came up with his diagnosis first and then proceeded to find the evidence to prove it. His children were raised in the United States where he lived with his Jewish-American wife. He wanted them to feel totally American so they did not learn to speak Hebrew. Many immigrants to the United States raise their children to be bilingual. He wrote of the experience of American preacher David Millard, when he traveled through the area in 1843 and saw a large native Arab population tilling the soil and populating the cities. He did not mention Mark Twain’s experience when he took the same trip in 1867 and saw very few people or signs of occupancy (though he did travel to a limited number of locations) nor does he mention that during the years before the State of Israel was declared, the British allowed mass immigration into what was to become Israel for Arabs but refused to allow Jews to enter even though it meant their deaths during the Holocaust. While he does focus on the Israeli Jews and what they are like, he barely mentions the activities of the Palestinian leaders who have refused to sign any permanent peace treaty and who raise their children to want to become martyrs, kill the Jews, and destroy Israel. He doesn’t mention that of all the millions of refugees in the world since 1949, only the Palestinians are still considered refugees and have not been resettled. He doesn’t mention that there were about the same number of Jews living in Arab lands who were driven out, many leaving all their possessions, but who have all found new homes. When he was writing this book, he visited his dying father who was in a hospital on Mt. Scopus. He doesn’t mention that the hospital, probably Hadassah Hospital, was erected at that location before 1947 but was cut off from the new Jewish State after the 1948 war until the Six Day War in 1967. He wrote that the Israelis are like adolescents but not that the Palestinians are the ones who have refused to make the concessions necessary for a final agreement. On the whole, the book is well-written. I wish it had been a more honest, unbiased account. I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.
A critical, though slanted, look at the Israeli mind and its mess of contradictions stemming from a confluence of factors -- Holocaust, Middle East wars and regional history being particularly high on the list. The people he describes seem to have collective PTSD, as well as father issues. He is often acerbic, himself married to an American and living in this country. Might this book be a sort of justification for leaving the country? He sounded like someone possibly alienated from the start. He mentions his early years away, and probably a desire to stay away.This book, though well crafted, is difficult to read because of my own religious bias. It was Zionism that created the secular state, where land took primacy over faith, and Zionism that shamed the mentality of the demographic on whom he focuses. He explains well the blustery narcissism and (I hate to say it) looniness of his countrymen who, like him, seem a bit stunted and often irritating. I do not imply moral superiority of the Torah-observant residents, many of whom I've encountered here and found equally boorish. But they at least have a reason for living there. His landsmen possess, deservedly, a lot of pride, but little Jewish pride. Like many secularists, he disparages the Bible, and the concept of miracles, which largely explains our continued existence there. Apparently they view the Akeidah, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac, as a story of murder, instead of the beginning of our distinctiveness. Our relationship and commitment to a Higher Being might be why we survived while other nations didn't, even while in the Diaspora.His suggestions on how to effect peace with the Arabs seems naïve and, probably at this point, dated. We had bravely fought for our land, and over the years have had to resort to unpleasant retaliatory tactics, yet toward the Palestinians he is far more sympathetic, so the left-wing agenda is pretty apparent. He seems pessimistic about the country's future, as far as leadership and civic involvement when everyone behaves like a caveman. Nevertheless, he does attribute the national character to Israel's remarkable economic, military, and cultural growth. Might this also be a miracle? The Israeli mind is, basically, the Jewish mind on steroids. There are enough high-tech start-ups and scientific/medical breakthroughs to justify our contribution to the world, besides monotheism.As someone not Israeli, I can neither judge that society nor condemn its crazily hyper-masculine environment. Unless I am living there day to day, putting in long, high-taxed hours and fighting Arabs and often fellow Jews, I probably should instead admire their willingness to place their lives on the forefront. For this reason I found this book fascinating yet had to suppress the urge to defend not only the citizens but my whole culture. This book does help to make me understand why so many of them act the way they do, but offers little compassion.
The most incisive sign of this book’s effectiveness was the reaction I had while reading the litany of terror, death, and losses by Jews before and during the establishment of Israel. I felt the anxiety and sorrow in my kishkes, a sign that Gratch had his finger on an important truth. His book retells the insights of others more than adding his own, but he does dig more deeply than most writers into common stereotypes such as the pushiness, insubordination, paranoia, or argumentativeness of Israeli Jews. For instance, he illustrates how one of the Israeli’s most important and valuable traits--adaptability--can lead to incoherent actions and sudden reversals, as when Ariel Sharon turned away from expansionist policies and evacuated settlers from the Gaza Strip. Political conservatives will be angry with Gratch at times, because he takes it for granted that their core passions are irrational (their conviction that Israel is surrounded by implacable enemies, for instance). But he convincingly shows that a great deal of irrational behavior is taking place. I wish that he had said more about daily life and areas of policy besides the Israeli/Arab conflict, which dominates the book.
Review by Micah D. Halpern for the Jewish Book Council.
Wow! What a book! Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
Fascinating combination of psychological analysis and foreign policy.