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

Capital Offense

History explains why America has never moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is likely to ignore history and caution, and the holy city will pay the price.

AP Photo/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi, File
AP Photo/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi, File An Israeli border policemen guards the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv as other Israelis line up for U.S. visas. S omewhere around 3 a.m. on the Saturday after next, America's newly inaugurated chief insomniac is likely to tweet, “Moved U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Huge!” Yes. It will be a huge mistake. Among experts, the most optimistic estimation is that the diplomatic and security impact on Israel and the United States will be merely awful, not apocalyptic. I do not take comfort even from such “upbeat” assessments, perhaps because I live a few hundred meters from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem—which, with the switch of a sign, will become the embassy, and quite possibly the focus for violent protests. Mr. Trump, I'd like to tell him, if I could hold his attention for long enough, if you want to mess with the sanity of a city, please pick a different one, in your own country. Mine has enough troubles. Now, to acknowledge the obvious:...

The Last Thing Netanyahu Wants to Say Is 'Annexation'

Facing an Israeli court deadline and a possible Security Council resolution on settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid admitting what his real policy is. Waiting for Trump is easier.

Abir Sultan, Pool via AP
Abir Sultan, Pool via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, December 11, 2016. Update: Late Wednesday night, the Amona settlers rejected the compromise offered by the Israeli government, and prepared to resist evacuation. The decision is likely to lead to a major confrontation between settlers and police at the mountaintop outpost and to a crisis in Israel's government coalition—or to a diplomatic crisis, depending on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds. D ecember 25 is usually an ordinary day in Israel. This year, though, it has been marked prominently on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calendar. It signifies a deadline he has sought to delay and a reckoning on his West Bank policy that he wants to postpone—if possible, forever. Netanyahu's policy is to protect and expand settlements. He thereby shows that he regards Israeli rule as permanent. All the while, he aims to maintain the...

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;...

Pages