Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

Who by Fire

Israel's leaders were quick to blame Palestinians for disastrous wildfires. The real culprit is global warming, which threatens both peoples.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit Israeli firefighters work in Haifa, Israel, Friday, November 25, 2016. T he wildfires have finally died out. The fires in Israel began early last week and were only extinguished early this week. They spread into the well-off neighborhoods of Haifa, the ones close to the forests and far from the port, and destroyed hundreds of apartments. They swept through the hills west of Jerusalem. Even in places far from the flames, the smell of smoke mixed with the smell of dust in the dry wind blowing day after day from the desert. Remarkably, no one died. The last Israeli fire disaster, also in forests near Haifa, took 44 lives in 2010. Yet the fires this time blackened nearly as much land and cut deeper into built-up areas. Immediately, inevitably, fire became a subplot in Israeli-Palestinian politics. Evidence suggested arson in several blazes. Police arrested Palestinian suspects. Right-wing Israeli politicians seized on the incidents. “Only someone to whom the land...

What If Election Day Were a Holiday, and Everyone Was Registered?

After this dark campaign, there are several lessons that America could  learn from Israel about how to run an election. Really.

AP Photo/John Minchillo
AP Photo/John Minchillo A line of early voters wait in queue at the Franklin County Board of Elections, Monday, November 7, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. Heavy turnout has caused long lines as voters take advantage of their last opportunity to vote before election day. I n a sane year, the very definition of chutzpa would be for an Israeli to give Americans advice about how to create a better democracy. Israel rules over the West Bank, where Israeli settlers can vote and the Palestinian majority it can't. It still has Ottoman-era laws that put religious authorities in charge of marriage and divorce. I wouldn't normally dare to hold it up as a model to Americans. But this is 2016, the year of hallucinatory politics in America, when demons have risen from suppressed memory into conscious life, when picture ID requirements have been conjured up to replace literacy tests and polling places serving minorities evaporated in places with a history of voting suppression in the past. Reading reports...

Polls From a Distant Land: Israelis and Palestinians Despair, But Shouldn't

If each side understood what the other wants, they'd have more hope for peace. If a responsible U.S. president pays attention, she should jack up the pressure.

Gili Yaari/NurPhoto/Sipa via AP Images
Gili Yaari/NurPhoto/Sipa via AP Images Peace activists protest in Tel-Aviv on October 24, 2015. E ven while living seven time zones east of Washington, it's hard to avoid fixation on the U.S. election. The Hebrew press covers it heavily, both because America looms so large in Israeli life and because this year's campaign, like a disaster movie, inspires fearful fascination. So I suffer from Poll Anxiety Disorder, constantly checking my phone for the latest numbers from America. Enough. As a replacement drug, I decided to take a dive into Israeli and Palestinian polling about the chances for peace. The figures show hopelessness on both sides—and provide good reason to believe the pessimism is unjustified. Assuming that America elects a sane president, this could be important for her foreign policy team to know. Let's start with some basics: The latest Peace Index shows that 63 percent of Israelis strongly or moderately support peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority;...

The Strange Sympathy of the Far Left for Putin

Jill Stein and Jeremy Corbyn have been among the apologists for Russia's crimes in Syria—alongside Donald Trump.

Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik via AP
Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik via AP Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting meeting with representatives of international sports organizations taking part in the International Sports Forum on October 11, 2016. J eremy Corbyn, the grim, controversial, and recently re-elected leader of Britain's Labour Party, rejects the idea of protesting outside Russia's embassy in London against that country's brutal bombing of Syria. “The focus on Russian atrocities or Syrian army atrocities,” said a Corbyn aide this week, distracts attention from “very large scale civilian casualties as a result of the U.S.-led coalition bombing.” In case this is a bit obtuse, let's go over to Britain's Stop the War coalition, which Corbyn chaired before he was elected Labour leader. In a radio interview, current vice-chairman Chris Nineham said that protesting Russian atrocities would increase “hysteria and jingoism.” The way to end the Syria conflict, he said, was to “oppose the West.” In another words, when we say...

The Reinventor

Which Shimon Peres will be remembered depends on what his successors do.

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File The late Israeli President Shimon Peres listens during a meeting at the president's residence in Jerusalem on October 28, 2013. S himon Peres had a superhumanly long career in politics. By the time he'd been in public life for 60 years or so, it seemed fair to expect that three things would never happen: that he would win an election, that he would die, and that it would be possible to make an accurate assessment of what he believed, finessed, and accomplished. In 2007, Peres finally won election to the ceremonial post of president of Israel. Yesterday he died. The accurate accounting, if it's ever possible, will have to wait much longer. If a CV of public service were enough to attract voters, Peres certainly had one. On the eve of Israeli independence, still in his early 20s, he was put in charge of manpower and arms acquisition in the Haganah, the militia that became Israel's army. In a standard account, he wanted to move to a combat role, but...

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