Here, Joseph Heller tells the story of the complex and often conflicting political calculations that led directly to the founding of the independent Jewish state of Israel in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust. Examining the positions of many competing parties, he explains how and why the charismatic David Ben-Gurion prevailed: by shrewdly maneuvering between radical extremes on the left and on the right, he says, Ben-Gurion managed to steer a successful middle-of-the-road policy in favour of partition. Heller also describes the vital links between the internal and external factors in the post-war Zionist movement. He places events in the context of wider Cold War calculations to explain why much of Israel's early military and diplomatic support came - surprisingly - from the Soviet Union, while the United States assumed a neutral position in order not to offend its British ally. In addition, Heller investigates early and ongoing conflicts with neighbouring Arab nations for their influence on Israel's foundation. Through research in a range of archives, diplomatic protocols, diaries and other sources, he provides both Middle East scholars and general readers with a balanced account of the historical and contemporary problems and solutions that continue to influence the region's ongoing peace process.
Joseph Heller is professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of The Stern Gang: Ideology, Politics and Terror, 1940-48, and editor of a collection in Hebrew, Zionist Politics, 1936-1948: A Documentary Record.