Power and Conscience in Modern Israel By Yaron Ezrahi 6"x9" (320 Pages)Publisher: FS&G, 1996
The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a fundamentalist Zionist partisan in November of 1995 was seen right away as a turning point in the history of modern Israel -- a result of tensions between the claims of Israel to the occupied territories and the drive to make peace with the Palestinians. In Rubber Bullets, the leading Israeli social commentator Yaron Ezrahi contends that the assassination was only the most alarming sign of a deeper rift in Israeli society: that between "collectivist" national aspirations and the ever more clamorous voices of Israeli individualism. Combining probing analysis with stirring memoir, Ezrahi tells the story of Israel's transformation from a society held together by an epic of national liberation to a liberal democracy that must make room for the many different stories of individual Israelis. As Ezrahi sees it, the use of "rubber bullets" --meant to wound but not kill --against Palestinian agitators in 1987 epitomized the new Israeli ambivalence about military power, and in chapters about family, community, and the relationships between fathers and sons in Israel, he makes clear that this ambivalence reflects a more general one between the claims of national identity and those of the self.