Matti Friedman

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).

Podcast: Matti Friedman on Whether Israel Is Too Dependent on Technology

The writer joins Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver to talk about the tradeoffs that Israel’s advanced defense technology brings.

Dec. 29 2023 12:01AM

Podcast: Matti Friedman on China’s New Haifa Port

The Israeli journalist joins us to talk about how a Chinese propaganda mission led by a man known as “Chinese Itzik” has dazzled Israeli citizens.

Jan. 14 2022 12:01AM

Podcast: Matti Friedman on How Americans Project Their Own Problems onto Israel

The Israeli journalist joins us to talk about his recent Atlantic essay on how when Americans look at Israelis they see a reflection of themselves.

June 11 2021 12:01AM

The Best Books of 2020, Chosen by Mosaic Authors (Part I)

Five of our regular writers pick several favorites each, featuring Turkish denial, Jesus’s wife, coffeehouse culture, angst, WEIRDness, and Judaism straight up.

Dec. 16 2020 12:01AM

What Israel Gained from Its Russian Citizens

If victory in the Six-Day War was a mixed blessing, the Russian aliyah was just a blessing.

Nov. 30 2020 12:01AM

Podcast: Matti Friedman on the Russian Aliyah—Thirty Years Later

The Israeli journalist and author of our November essay joins us to talk about the lives featured in his work.

Nov. 19 2020 12:27AM

Israel’s Russian Wave, Thirty Years Later

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?

Nov. 2 2020 12:17AM

Medieval Jewish Society Wasn't so Law-Abiding and Chaste After All

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.

Sept. 9 2020 12:58AM

The Perfect Timing—and Perfect Vision—of Meir Shalev’s "My Wild Garden"

The Israeli garden, like Israel, is tamer than its immediate surroundings, but wilder in spirit than places that are actually tame.

June 9 2020 12:16AM

Podcast: Matti Friedman on the Last Gasp of the Israeli Left

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?

April 30 2020 12:01AM

The Best Books of 2019, Chosen by Mosaic Authors (Part I)

Seven of our regular writers pick several favorites each, featuring sieges, spies, cultural revolutions, family papers, useful enemies, new fields of inquiry, and more.

Dec. 18 2019 12:01AM

Netflix's "The Spy" Manages to Convey the Ethnic Irony at the Heart of Eli Cohen's Life

In 1960s Israel, Arabic-speaking Jews were invaluable as spies for their new country. In normal life, they were marginalized.

Oct. 29 2019 12:01AM

Podcast: Matti Friedman on How Jews from Arab Lands Have Shaped Israel

The journalist and author joins us to talk about Israel as a Mizraḥi nation.

Sept. 26 2019 12:18AM

What Really Happened at Masada?

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.

Aug. 14 2019 12:01AM

Playing Defense in Lebanon

A new book explores the changing tactics, and essential continuities, in Israel’s decades-long but mostly undeclared war against Hizballah.

Dec. 27 2018 12:01AM

Israel and the Moral Striptease

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.

July 20 2015 12:01AM

The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn't Journalism. It's Propaganda.

The Israeli NGO won international attention last week for claiming to expose IDF malfeasance in Gaza. It exposed something else.

May 14 2015 12:01AM

From Mosul to Jerusalem

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.

June 22 2014 9:20PM

Mizrahi Nation

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?

June 1 2014 9:30PM