Books Translated by Haim Watzman

by David Grossman

Grossman, one of Israel’s leading novelists, is also the author of three works of non-fiction. The Yellow Wind is a chronicle of a trip he made through the West Bank in 1987, just prior to the first Intifada. A fluent speaker of Arabic, Grossman was one of the first Israeli writers to portray the Palestinians in the territories with empathy and intimacy. Sleeping on a Wire tells of a similar trip among the Arab citizens of Israel. Death as a Way of Life is a collection of Grossman’s op-ed and journalistic pieces.


by Tom Segev

Segev is Israel’s most prominent non-academic historians. A talented storyteller with a penchant for upsetting conventional wisdom, he’s always worth reading. One Palestine Complete is his account of the British Mandate. The Seventh Million is his account of the relationship between the Yishuv (the Jewish community in pre-state Israel) and the Jews of Germany, during and after the Holocaust. Elvis in Jerusalem is Segev’s portrayal of the Americanization of Israeli culture–a good read, as always, but in my opinion a lesser book than his works of history.


by Tamar El-Or

El-Or, an anthropologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has taken as her subject religious and secular literacy among Israeli women. Doing her field work close to home, El-Or, non-religious herself but exceptionally empathetic, has produced a trilogy of works about women of different religious subcultures. Educated and Ignorant is an account of Hasidic women in Tel Aviv; Next Year I Will Know More portrays religious Zionist women at Bar-Ilan University. The third book, Reserved Seats, about Sephardi women in the Pardes Katz neighborhood of Bnei Brak, just outside Tel Aviv, is awaiting publication in English.


by Menachem Klein

Klein, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University, is one of Israel’s leading experts on the Jerusalem problem and has been an adviser to Israeli negotiating teams in talks with the Palestinians. Klein firmly believes that negotiation can solve all Israel’s problems with the Palestinians. I don’t always agree with his conclusions, but he speaks with authority deriving from detailed knowledge of the issues and close ties with both Israelis and Palestinians who have been involved in the peace process. Here’s my post on A Possible Peace.


by Hillel Cohen

Cohen, a young and talented historian, has produced a nuanced book on Palestinian collaborators with Israel during the Mandate period. His second book, which takes the same subject into Israel’s first three decades, is awaiting publication in English.


by Yaacov Lozowick

Lozowick amasses evidence to counter Hannah Arendt’s thesis that Eichmann and his cohorts were merely bureaucrats. He shows that they were ideologically motivated anti-Semites.

by Igal Sarna

Sarna, a journalist and novelist, is a talented writer; this book is a collection of sensitive portraits of real Israelis, most of them people who have not managed to fit into the mainstream.


by Oz Almog

Almog, a sociologist at the University of Haifa, provides an account and analysis of the subculture that was the standard, and standard-bearer, of Zionism and Israeli society in the country’s formative years.