Matti Friedman is the author of a memoir about the Israeli war in Lebanon, Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War (2016). His latest book is Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel (2019).
Five of our regular writers pick several favorites each, featuring Turkish denial, Jesus’s wife, coffeehouse culture, angst, WEIRDness, and Judaism straight up.
If victory in the Six-Day War was a mixed blessing, the Russian aliyah was just a blessing.
The Israeli journalist and author of our November essay joins us to talk about the lives featured in his work.
Three decades ago, a million emigres from Eastern Europe arrived in Israel, increasing its population by 20 percent almost overnight and changing its culture forever. What’s their story?
A new book rescues the period from the jail of nostalgia and didactic parables about righteous men, turning it into something like The World of Our Fathers meets The Wire.
The Israeli garden, like Israel, is tamer than its immediate surroundings, but wilder in spirit than places that are actually tame.
Israel’s Labor Party—the political organization that erected the governing structures of the country—has now been reduced to a mere three seats in the Knesset. What happened?
Seven of our regular writers pick several favorites each, featuring sieges, spies, cultural revolutions, family papers, useful enemies, new fields of inquiry, and more.
In 1960s Israel, Arabic-speaking Jews were invaluable as spies for their new country. In normal life, they were marginalized.
The journalist and author joins us to talk about Israel as a Mizraḥi nation.
The desert fortress has become a powerful symbol of Jewish resistance. A new book examines the evidence to see how much of the story, including the famous mass suicide, is true.
The author of Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel joins us in the studio.
A new book explores the changing tactics, and essential continuities, in Israel’s decades-long but mostly undeclared war against Hizballah.
Self-flagellation, if performed at the behest of someone else, with money from somewhere else, is no longer just self-flagellation. Israelis would do well to remember this.
The Israeli NGO won international attention last week for claiming to expose IDF malfeasance in Gaza. It exposed something else.
By winning wars and becoming sovereign, the Jews of the Middle East have inverted the regional order of things, and been spared the fate of other native minorities.
Long shut out of the country’s story, Middle Eastern Jews now make up half of Israel’s population, influencing its culture in surprising ways. Who are they?