Historian Benny Morris Is Born
Benny Morris at his home in the Elah Valley. Photo: Yanai Yechiel

December 8, 1948

Benny Morris, a renowned Israeli professor of history, is born on a kibbutz in Ein HaHoresh to diplomat Ya’akov Morris and journalist Sadie Morris.

Morris spends some time in the United States as a child because his father’s diplomatic duties take the family to New York. He does his military service from 1967 to 1969 as a paratrooper and is wounded by an Egyptian shell at the Suez Canal. He is released from the army four months later and begins work on an undergraduate degree in history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then pursues a doctorate in modern European history at the University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge, Morris begins working for The Jerusalem Post, for which he serves as a researcher, reporter and news editor from 1978 to 1990.

His research into the departure of Palestinians from the new state of Israel in 1948 uncovers evidence that many Arabs were expelled by Jews rather than being intimidated into following Arab leaders’ orders to leave. In 1997, Morris joins the faculty of Ben-Gurion University’s Middle East studies department. He has published a variety of books on the Israeli-Arab conflict, producing an abundance of praise and criticism from readers, politicians and world leaders. His work has aided not only in documenting the Arab-Israeli conflict, but also in revealing, analyzing and discussing the complex history. Morris says he “embarked upon the research not out of ideological commitment or political interest. I simply wanted to know what happened.”