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The Promise of Israel: Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness Is Actually Its Greatest Strength

Israel’s critics in the West insist that no country founded on a single religion or culture can stay democratic and prosperous—but they’re wrong. In The Promise of Israel, Daniel Gordis points out that Israel has defied that conventional wisdom. It has provided its citizens infinitely greater liberty and prosperity than anyone expected, faring far better than any other young nation. Israel’s “magic” is a unique blend of democracy and tradition, of unabashed particularism coupled to intellectual and cultural openness. Given Israel’s success, it would make sense for many other countries, from Rwanda to Afghanistan and even Iran, to look at how they’ve done it. In fact, rather than seeking to destroy Israel, the many nations would serve their own best interests by trying to copy it.

“If you asked me, ‘Of all the people you know, who cares the most about the physical, moral, and spiritual health of Israel?’ I would put the commentator and scholar Daniel Gordis at the top of the list.”
—Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic

“A writer whose reflections are consistently as intellectually impressive as they are moving.”
—Cynthia Ozick

“Many of us assume that to be truly free, we must abandon the groups into which we were born and the identities we have inherited. But as Daniel Gordis demonstrates in his book, The Promise of Israel, the State of Israel’s remarkable history is proof that identity and freedom can coexist, that it is identity that makes genuine freedom possible. A powerful and sure-to-be-controversial work, The Promise of Israel presents a dramatic new way of thinking about both the very purpose of Israel as well as about its contributions to human beings everywhere.”
—Natan Sharansky, former Soviet prisoner of conscience and human rights activist, current Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency

“In this incredibly original and consistently provocative presentation, Daniel Gordis makes the case why Israel should and must matter to Jews and non-Jews alike, and to every country that aspires to prosperity and even more importantly, to freedom.”
—Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics

“This beautifully composed saga magnificently illustrates the historic truth that wherever Jews have gone in history, we have always followed our own way, forever belonging to and contributing mightily to world civilization and yet remaining distinct from it.”
—Yehuda Avner, author of The Prime Ministers

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