About this title:
In the books first essay, ''The Ben-Gurion Magnes Debate, Jewish State or Binational State,'' Professor Heller juxtaposes David Ben-Gurion and Judah L. Magnes as pivotal adversaries speaking to the primary problems of Zionist ideology and identity. He chooses the mythic personification of the State of Israel, the new nation's sturdiest founding father, its first commander-in-chief, first Prime Minister, and first Minister of Defense, David Ben-Gurion, to represent the Zionist position of a country just for the Jews. On equally matter-of-fact pragmatic grounds, Heller selects Ben-Gurion's foremost critic, the founding embattled Chancellor and President of the Hebrew University, Judah Magnes, to represent the bi-nationalist proponents of an Arab-Jewish joint entity that had not the remotest chance of acceptance by either Arabs or Jews. Conversely, the high expectations, moral fervor, and utter candor that imbue the Ben-Gurion-Magnes discourse, including joint interviews arranged by Magnes with Arab intellectuals that all failed, as conveyed by Heller, capture the essence of the Jewish-Arab dilemma and the beguiling authenticity and universalism of the Zionist vision at its most imaginative. Heller's companion essay, ''Israel's Borders in Historical Perspective: The Security-Demography Dilemma,'' provides a vivid running historical account and analysis of Israel's infra-structure, its borders and non-borders, its population densities and non-densities, its defenses and non-defenses in the face of the continual besiegement from the first day of its existence. Understandably, every young Israeli still remains conditioned to regard herself or himself to be a soldier on leave.
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