What Israel Means to Me: By 80 Prominent Writers, Performers, Scholars, Politicians, and Journalists

Alan Dershowitz (editor)

Publisher: Wiley

As one of Israel’s staunchest supporters and most ardent defenders, Alan Dershowitz has long understood that the deep emotional pull of this ancient land and youthful state, while shared by so many, has distinct and personal meanings for each of us. What Israel Means to Me is not so much a book as a collection of love songs—each with its own theme, rhythm, and key—in which Dershowitz and many of the world’s most distinguished politicians, diplomats, journalists, artists, scholars, and religious leaders share their most profound feelings, hopes, and memories about Israel.

From Larry King, William Bennett, Ed Koch, Rabbi Harold Kushner, and David Mamet to Barney Frank, Pat Robertson, Erica Jong, and Jonathan Kellerman, the diverse group of all-star contributors pays tribute to the Jewish state, highlighting their personal connections to Israel’s history, land, people, politics, and faith.

In a passionate and brilliantly reasoned analysis of the current state of Israeli democracy, the actor/singer/activist Theodore Bikel reminds us that, in the debate over Israel’s future, it is essential that all voices and opinions be heard. While speaking from a broad spectrum of political, religious, personal, and historical viewpoints, these inspiring and heartfelt tributes demonstrate that reverence, respect, and fierce loyalty toward Israel know no ideological boundaries.

For many, love of Israel is inextricably linked with love of family. The game show host Monty Hall describes how he carries on a tradition of support and philanthropy in Israel bequeathed to him by his mother, and the journalist Leslie Gelb remembers his father standing up in a movie theater to sing along with the Israeli national anthem as he watched the film Exodus.

Morton Klein, the national president of the Zionist Organization of America, who was born in a displaced persons camp after his parents survived the Holocaust, voices what, for many, is the single most important fact about Israel: “There is now a home to which Jews can come, and which will always protect them.”

From its countless ancient, sacred, and historical sites to its bountiful orchards and fields, from the safe haven it offers to Jews the world over to the lively, often angry debates over its policies and intentions, Israel’s complex appeal, both for Jews and non-Jews, extends from body to mind to spirit. Touching repeatedly on each of these themes, What Israel Means to Me is a moving, thought-provoking volume that should be read and shared by everyone who cares about Israel.

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