A leading Israeli historian shatters the national myth of the Jewish exodus from the promised land.
“Israel’s Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Sand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened—hence there was no return.”—Tom Segev, Ha’aretzAll modern nation states have a story of their origins, passed down through both official and popular culture, and yet few of these accounts have proved as divisive and influential as the Israeli national myth. The well-known tale of Jewish exile at the hands of the Romans during the first century AD, and the assertion of both cultural and racial continuity through to the Jewish people of the present day, resonates far beyond Israel’s borders. Despite its use as a justification for Jewish settlement in Palestine and the project of a Greater Israel, there have been few scholarly investigations into the historical accuracy of the story as a whole.
In this bold and ambitious new book, Shlomo Sand shows that the Israeli national myth has its origins in the nineteenth century, rather than in biblical times—when Jewish historians, like scholars in many other cultures, reconstituted an imagined people in order to model a future nation. Sand forensically dissects the official story—and demonstrates the construction of a nationalist myth and the collective mystification that this requires.
A bestseller in Israel and France, Shlomo Sand’s book has sparked a widespread and lively debate. Should the Jewish people regard themselves as genetically distinct and identifiable across the millennia—or should that doctrine now be left behind and if the myth of the “Jewish state” is dismantled, could this open a path toward a more inclusive Israeli state, content within its borders? .
About the Author
Shlomo Sand studied history at the University of Tel Aviv and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris. He currently teaches contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv. His other books include L’Illusion du politique: Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900, Georges Sorel en son temps, Le XXe siècle à l'écran and Les Mots et la Terre: Les Intellectuels en Israël.
Price: $23.07 (hardcover, 432 pages)
Source: Atheo News