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

Gen. Election

I n the lobby of the Jerusalem Convention Center, glossy campaign leaflets of wannabe Knesset members carpeted the floor. Activists flowed from the hall where the Labor Party's newly chosen leader, Amram Mitzna, had pledged to order Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip upon becoming prime minister. The party convention was ending unexpectedly early, as Mitzna's overwhelming victory had persuaded backers of ex-party chief Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to drop a challenge on how to pick Knesset candidates for Israel's Jan. 28 elections. I spotted a Knesset member, a Ben-Eliezer man. "Ah," he said, cutting short a conversation with two aides and giving me a nearly credible smile. "Good to see you. I'll have much more time for you now that we'll be in the opposition." "What are you talking about?" said one aide. "They'll crawl back into the government." She meant the government that incumbent Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would form after the election. Neither she nor her boss entertained the...

In Israel's Interest?

M ore than 15,000 Israelis lined up on a single day to get new government-issue gas masks, the daily newspaper Ha'aretz reported Sept. 18. On the same page: Israel's Defense Ministry was seeking an advance on next year's budget to speed gas-mask production, inoculation of hospital staffers for smallpox was about to begin and Interior Minister Eli Yishai was preparing a special budget request to boost firefighters' readiness to deal with a large-scale attack -- a necessity, he said, given the tension with Iraq. No one doubts that Israel will face serious risks the moment that President George W. Bush orders an American offensive against Iraq. Memories remain fresh of Iraqi Scuds falling on Tel Aviv and Haifa during the 1991 Gulf War. American foreign-policy experts suggest that this time around, facing his end, Saddam Hussein might use any capability he has to strike Israel with chemical or biological weapons. Nonetheless, conventional wisdom in the United States, Israel and elsewhere...

Book Review:

The Left Behind series By Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins. Tyndale House Publishing, $14.99 each N icolae Carpathia, the man who turned the United Nations into a one-world government with himself as dictator, has just decided on genocide. In his palace in New Babylon, capital of the world, Carpathia -- alias the Antichrist -- barks instructions to his top aide. "I will sanction, condone, support, and reward the death of any Jew anywhere in the world," he says. "Imprison them. Torture them. Humiliate them. Shame them. Blaspheme their god. Plunder everything they own. Nothing is more important." The aide rushes to obey, not knowing that he's fulfilling one more divine prophecy about the final days of history before the Second Coming. But as readers of this scene in The Remnant , the Rev. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' latest novel, soon learn, many Jews will survive the new Holocaust by becoming born-again Christians. As a rabbi-turned-pastor explains later in the book, Jews need to make up...

Spontaneous Fission

I noticed it the first time one day when I took a cab downtown. I avoid buses; they blow up on occasion. Next to the Old City walls, the taxi turned left off King Solomon Street. And there, at the start of Jaffa Road (West Jerusalem's main street), a police van was parked at an angle across the asphalt and a metal police barricade left just one lane open. A cop with an M-16 rifle stood eyeballing each car that rolled by. He let us pass without stopping. Neither the driver nor I looked Palestinian. I glanced back to make sure: Yes, there was really a checkpoint framed between the stone buildings. A half-remembered picture flashed in my mind of a downtown street ending in concrete wall -- a black-and-white photo of divided Jerusalem before the 1967 war. The checkpoint was hardly as substantial as concrete. But it stood -- like a physical Freudian slip, an unintended reference to nastiness buried in memory -- no more than meters from where the armistice line once sliced the city in two...

As Children Die

M y son followed me out of the apartment and caught up with me as I leaned on the fence around the playground, shaking. "What's wrong, Dad?" he asked. He's used to a wordy father, but I couldn't find words, not then. I took a breath, slipped back on my journalist's emotional armor, went inside, and picked up the phone again to find out more about what happened to Tabarak Odeh. It was the morning of a cheerless Independence Day. We'd dropped the usual family hike in the hills west of Jerusalem because, with no fence separating Israel from the West Bank, there's no telling who might slip by the army patrols and look for an Israeli to kill. Then again, perhaps it was lack of will to celebrate that had kept us at home. I'd made pancakes for breakfast, promised the kids bike riding and stories, and taken a moment to check my e-mail. That's when my discomfort had begun. In the inbox I had found a message I'd been too busy to open the day before. A friend had passed on an appeal from the...

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