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

This Is Your Brain on War: A Dispatch From Jerusalem

Why both sides in the Gaza conflict saw irrational decisions as reasonable

AP Photo/Hatem Moussa
AP Photo/Hatem Moussa Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, as Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations along the coastal area and diplomatic efforts intensified to end the two-week war. A s I write, the livestream from Gaza of news about death continues. If I give a casualty count, it may be outdated before I finish typing it. It won't include those Palestinians—civilians and Hamas fighters—who may be buried in rubble in the Sajaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, which the Israeli army has invaded in search of rockets and of tunnels leading into Israel. Nor will it include recent deaths of Israeli soldiers; the military often delays such announcements for hours. Collapsing under the weight of the Gaza reports is whatever initial support Israel had in the West as its cities came under rocket fire. The same reports have fed criticism of Hamas in the Arab world. The war isn't a hurricane; it didn't happen by itself...

In the Jerusalem Mourning Tent For a Murdered Teen

Hundreds of Israelis visit the family of a murdered Palestinian boy in Jerusalem that has been torn by rage.

©Gershom Gorenberg
©Gershom Gorenberg Members of the family of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir receive Israeli visitors who came to share in their grief in the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat in Jerusalem. The poster in the background reads: "The Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, Jerusalem area, mourns for the righteous son of Jerusalem, murdered as a martyr..." T he air-raid silence sounded at three minutes to ten at night in Jerusalem. Two distant booms followed. Afterward, they seemed like an orchestral finale: abrupt, followed by silence, the only notes of a long day that were unmistakable in their meaning. That afternoon, I'd gone with busloads of Israelis to Shuafat, a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, to visit the family of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir. A huge mourners' tent had been set up: The ceiling was made of blue tarps; one side was open to the street; the other three sides walled with tapestries and printed banners showing pictures of Muhammad. In the pictures, Muhammad looked...

Netanyahu's Dangerous Posture on Kidnapped Israelis Could Lead to Conflagration

Photo by Tali Mayer/NurPhoto/Sipa USA via AP Images
Photo by Tali Mayer/NurPhoto/Sipa USA via AP Images A mass prayer for the release of three Jewish teenagers, believed to have been snatched from an area between the Israeli occupied West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Hebron while hitchhiking, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on June 15, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Islamist Hamas movement of kidnapping three teenagers on the third day of a massive West Bank manhunt for the missing youths. Update, July 1, 1:30 p.m. Israel time (6:30 a.m. EDT): Israeli troops and security agents yesterday afternoon found the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teens buried in open country north of Hebron in the West Bank. The manhunt for the two alleged murderers, Hamas activists from Hebron, continues. From the information released so far, it appears that the kidnappers did intend to keep live hostages. But when one of the boys dialed the police and whispered, "We've been kidnapped," their abductors killed them...

Israel Elects a One-State President

Newly elected President Reuven Rivlin may mistakenly be seen as a symbol of new and surprising support for the idea that the only possible democratic outcome for Israelis and Palestinians is a binational state. But the one-staters of the right aren't at all interested in binationalism.

AP Photo/Dan Balilty
AP Photo/Dan Balilty Israeli presidential candidates and former ministers Meir Shitrit, center right, and Reuven Rivlin, center left, hug during the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, June, 10, 2014. The Israeli parliament selected Reuven Rivlin as the country's next president to succeed the outgoing Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who brought the position international prestige. R ubi Rivlin, who was elected president of Israel on Tuesday, isn't a stereotypical hardline rightist. To start with, he's not grim. As a talk-show guest, he out-jokes the host. Besides that, as speaker of parliament during the term before this one, he regularly refused to play ball with his own Likud Party and other parties of the right. He did his best to block bills aimed against human-rights groups, the Arab minority and free speech. He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to undermine parliamentary democracy. All the same, Rivlin...

Did Pope Francis Throw the Symbolism Contest to the Palestinians?

For the head of the Catholic Church to visit a Jewish memorial and say nothing of the historical Holocaust—the Jewish victims; the role of the Church in creating in European anti-Semitism—is jarring.

AP Photo/Osservatore Romano
AP Photo/Osservatore Romano Pope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank, on his way to celebrate a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, believed by many to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Sunday, May 25, 2014. "T he Vatican treats this as a pilgrimage. We consider it a pilgrimage it with political implications." So a Palestinian official involved in negotiating the precise form of Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land told me yesterday. The comment, though, could as easily have come from an Israeli government source. The pope's two hosts agreed on this much and no more: His pilgrimage, so carefully choreographed that even the spontaneous moments were planned in advance, sparkled with symbolism. The battle was over determining what the symbolic journey would stand for. The Palestinians won: They largely succeeded in making Francis's visit part of their campaign for statehood through international...

Pages