The Arab-Israeli War of 1948—A Short History

May 15, 2020

Otherwise known as Israel’s War of Independence, or, “the nakbah” or disaster to the Arab world because a Jewish state was established, the war was fought between the newly established Jewish state of Israel opposed by Palestinian irregulars, and armies from five Arab states. Official beginning of the war is usually given as May 14, 1948, the date Israel declared itself an independent Jewish state, but the war’s first of four phases began in November 1947. Lasting for two years, the war ended with armistice agreements signed in 1949 between Israel and four Arab states.

Is Passover a Legacy Moment in Jewish History?

April 12, 2020

Ken Stein, Emory University, Center for Israel Education What are turning points or legacy moments in history? That was the focus of my zoom class at Emory for 80 students in late March when we touched on whether the June 1967 War was a turning point or legacy moment in Israeli, Jewish and Middle Eastern […]

Dayenu – From Exodus to Contemporary Israel

April 6, 2020

Sung or recited on Passover, the original Dayenu is reflective appreciation of 14 significant events specifically wrapped around the exodus from Egypt. The Dayenu presented here chronicles Jewish history from Exodus to the present day. This history can be read individually or responsively. Different moments and personalities in Jewish history could have been included. Hebrew and Spanish versions of Dayenu are available.

Using Transcripts, Interviews and Conference Proceedings to Write History

March 18, 2020

In writing history, documents and primary texts are reliably accurate. Veracity can emerge by crosschecking sources. However, if all we have is one shard of pottery from the second temple period, we must settle for it in isolation as evidence of how the pottery was constructed, its composition, use, etc. Unless of course, we are fortunate enough to have a text that describes the pottery piece, and we have the piece of pottery as evidence. When oral recollections are used to bolster the written text, subtle shades and emphatic dimensions provide colorful detail to historical writing. Unlike written records, oral evidence provides vignettes, opinions, hues, suppositions, and sentiments almost always absent in a document.

Trump Plan for the Middle East: Context and Implications

February 21, 2020

The analysis summarizes the declaratory or aspirational Trump Plan for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, outlining proposals on final status issues, and the proposed economic development package, with a hope for a two state-solution. Maps are used to show how Palestine's and Israel's borders have changed over the last 150 years. (Video or audio)

Yehoshua Porath (z’l) – Glowing Standard

December 30, 2019

From July 1971 to May 1973, we lived in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood, then only a walk across an open valley to the Givat Ram campus of The Hebrew University. No high-rise hotels there then. Lots of stray cats and schoolboys playing soccer in the street.  Prior to leaving for Israel to carry out dissertation […]

The Jordanian-Israeli treaty at 25: Geography, Location and Mutual Interest

October 28, 2019

Given the turmoil in Syria, sectarian violence in Iraq, Lebanon’s economic woes, Turkish military adventurism, and Iran’s regional mischief-making, the October 2019, US bipartisan congressional delegation visit to Amman made great sense. It emphasized that for Washington, Jordan is a critical geographic and political asset for America and, for anyone else interested in preserving some measure of regional stability in at least part of the tumultuous Middle East.

The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty at 40: Lessons Learned and Impacts Sustained

March 27, 2019

On a stormy evening on Sept. 17, 1978, with President Jimmy Carter as their witness, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stepped to a table at the White House and signed the Camp David Accords, consisting of two framework agreements: an outline for the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty and a scaffold for planning self-rule for the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, held by Israel since the June 1967 war. Six months later, on March 26, 1979, the three men gathered again at the White House to sign the peace treaty. But their path to the ceremony 40 years ago was hardly smooth.

Impassioned Zionist Max Nordau- the case for a Jewish state

December 12, 2018

Context and perspective are key elements in understanding history. Zionism emerged in the 19th century because there was a unique Jewish identity built around belief, Torah, ritual, and community concern for one another. And second, the presence of wretched anti-Semitism. Nordau gave an impassioned speech about the Jewish condition at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in the late 19th century making the case for a Jewish national home. Nordau energized the audience and the Zionist movement.

40 Years Since Camp David

September 18, 2018

Emory Professor of Contemporary and Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and Israeli Studies and Center for Israel Education President Kenneth W. Stein applies decades of document-based research, interviews and scholarship, including new insights gleaned from the study of detailed minutes in the Israel State Archives, to examine the Camp David Accords 40 years after Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin signed the agreement Sept. 17, 1978, that concluded 13 days of negotiations led by President Jimmy Carter.

The Winding Road to the Peace Summit

September 4, 2018

Forty years ago this month, President Jimmy Carter convened the Camp David summit between Israeli and Egyptian leaders to push Arab-Israeli negotiations forward in an unprecedented and intensive manner.

Reassessing Sadat, Begin and Carter

June 29, 2018

It is now apparent that distances between the Carter administration and Israel did not begin in earnest after Begin’s May 1977 election or over the settlements. Newly available materials show that from its outset, the Carter administration prioritized curbing Israeli influence in Washington.