February 16th 2015
Along with packing and planning a great itinerary, reading about your destination is a great way to get ready for traveling. These great works of non-fiction will help you prepare for your trip to Israel. Even if you can’t travel to Israel this year, reading these books will help make the sites you see that much more meaningful when you are finally able to take the trip of a lifetime.
To Build a Nation
Historian and professor emeritus at Cornell University, Benzion Netanyahu also happens to be the father of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. His most respected book, The Founding Fathers of Zionism, profiles five early Jewish nationalist leaders: Max Nordau, Leo Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Israel Zangwill, and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Their names might not all be familiar to you, but after reading The Founding Fathers of Zionism, you will better appreciate the context in which these five men devoted their lives to the cause of a homeland for the Jewish people.
Profiling the Holy City
Jerusalem is extremely important to three major world religions and has been governed by many nations over the course of its millennia of existence. Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore tells the story of this ancient city and its wars, rulers and people. Montefiore’s book will help you better appreciate the depth and the story that lies behind the stone walls of the ancient and magical city of Jerusalem.
Israel’s Most Beloved Politician
Menachem Begin was a remarkable political leader and arguably Israel’s most beloved Prime Minister, serving from 1977 until 1983. He is, perhaps, best known for signing a peace treaty with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat on the White House lawn in 1979. Yet he was a controversial and complicated man. Daniel Gordis reveals why he was such an effective Prime Minister in his biography, Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul.
Israeli Tech Innovation
Dan Senor and Saul Singer wrote Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle to answer the question of how it’s possible that, even while surrounded by enemies with whom it is constantly at war, the tiny, young State of Israel produces more start-ups than many much larger and more peaceful nations.
Both before you visit Israel and after you return, reading these books will deepen your appreciation for the land, its history and its people.