Return to Zion


Return to Zion

The History of Modern Israel

Eric Gartman

384 pages
13 photos, 4 maps


November 2015


$32.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

November 2015


$32.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

November 2015


$32.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The history of modern Israel is a story of ambition, violence, and survival. Return to Zion traces how a scattered and stateless people reconstituted themselves in their traditional homeland, only to face threats by those who, during the many years of the dispersion, had come to regard the land as their home. This is a story of the “ingathering of the exiles” from Europe to an outpost on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire, of courage and perseverance, and of reinvention and tragedy. 

Eric Gartman focuses on two main themes of modern Israel: reconstitution and survival. Even as new settlers built their state they faced constant challenges from hostile neighbors and divided support from foreign governments, as well as being attacked by larger armies no fewer than three times during the first twenty-five years of Israel’s history. Focusing on a land torn by turmoil, Return to Zion is the story of Israel—the fight for independence through the Israeli Independence War in 1948, the Six-Day War of 1967, and the near-collapse of the Israeli Army during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 

Gartman examines the roles of the leading figures of modern Israel—Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yitzchak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon—alongside popular perceptions of events as they unfolded in the post–World War II decades. He presents declassified CIA, White House, and U.S. State Department documents that detail America’s involvement in the 1967 and 1973 wars, as well as proof that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity. Return to Zion pulls together the myriad threads of this history from inside and out to create a seamless look into modern Israel’s truest self. 

Author Bio

Eric Gartman is an intelligence analyst for the United States Department of Defense who has lived and studied in Israel and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East.


"Gartman's writing is particularly effective at making the reader feel as if he were present during meetings, where one could cut the tension with a knife. . . . His account will satisfy anyone who wants to take it one step beyond what we already know about Israel and focus on the human element of its struggles."Daniel Schere, Baltimore Jewish Times

"A thorough, proficient overview that quietly hums a pro-Jewish tune."—Kirkus

"Readers interested in a concise history of Israel, especially those who believe in her right to exist, will appreciate this book."Laurie Unger Skinner, Library Journal

"Return to Zion is an insightful work of scholarship which explains the struggle for a Jewish state in an innovative way."Washington Book Review

"This book is written in a popular style and based on impressive research. The work succeeds as both an overview and as a reference source."Libby K. White, Jewish Book Council

"A seamless look into modern Israel's truest self."Dov Peretz Elkins, Jewish Media Review

"This book deserves its place in the lexicon of Comprehensive modern Israeli histories."Laura Schutzman, Association of Jewish Libraries Review

Return to Zion is a very good overview of the history of Israel. For laypersons and scholars alike, they will get a very good picture of the evolution of Israel done in a readable way and filled with insights.”—Ambassador Dennis Ross, author of Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama

"This is a very readable history of Israel and an excellent look at what happened and why it happened."Amos Lassen

“Highly readable and engaging; a persuasive effort to explain the story of Israel—what happened and why. New data from declassified U.S. documents are welcome and illuminating.”—Daniel Mandel, ZOA Center for Middle East Policy and author of H. V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: No Master but God
1. A Pillar of Fire on the Road to Zion: Beginning of the Return, 1881–1896
2. An Eye toward Zion: The Zionist Movement Ascendant, 1896–1918
3. It Is Good to Die for Our Country: Tension under the British Mandate, 1918–1933
4. The Great Catastrophe: Jews Flee Nazi Germany while Palestine Erupts, 1933–1939
5. An Indifferent World, Cold and Cruel: Palestine and the Holocaust, 1939–1946
6. Nothing Can Keep Us from Our Jewish Homeland: End of the British Mandate, 1946–1947
7. The Darkest Moment of Our Struggle: War between the Jews and Arabs of Palestine, 1947–1948
8. We Shall Triumph! Israel’s War of Independence, 1948–1949
9. A Heavy Burden: The Jewish State Fights to Survive, 1949–1957
10. Masada Shall Not Fall Again! Years of Growth and Consolidation, 1957–1967
11. To Live or Perish: The Jewish State Faces a Hostile Ring of Nations, May–June 1967
12. Israel’s Golden Summer: The Six-Day War and Its Aftermath, 1967–1970
13. We May Be in Trouble: Buildup to Surprise, 1970–1973
14. The Destruction of the Third Temple: The Yom Kippur War and Its Consequences, 1973–1977
15. Nation Shall Not Lift Up Sword against Nation: Camp David Accords, 1977–1981
16. The Most-Televised War in History: The Lebanon War and the Intifada, 1982–1992
17. Enough of Blood and Tears! The Oslo Peace Process, 1992–2001
18. The Third Way: The Second Intifada and Beyond, 2001–2014
Conclusion: Why Masada Did Not Fall

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