ELVIS IN JERUSALEM

Tom Segev

Nonfiction, 2001

This book re-tells the history of the Zionist dream, beginning with Theodor Herzl in GIVE YEARS and culminating in the signing the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Each of the book’s four sections opens with photos of the author standing before a different statue: of Theodor Herzl, Elvis Presley, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Gadi Manela, a soldier killed in 1968. The four statues represent, respectively, the Zionist ideal, Americanization, religious insularity and anti-heroism. Through these four prisms Segev examines the ideological maturation of Israeli society from passionate early Zionism to its more recent focus on quality of life and normalization as ways of countering the forces of ideology. He describes the influx of American culture through the media, and the country’s ambivalent response to the unexpected growth and influence of the ultra-orthodox religious community. Finally, he recounts the impact of the Palestinian uprising of 2000-2001 on the Zionist dream.

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Rights Sold to:

Germany, Siedler Verlag; Israel, Keter; Japan, Tsuge Shobo Shinsha; Turkey, Bilge Kultur Sanat Yayincilik; USA, Metropolitan Books

Reviews:

“Indispensable to anyone trying to understand current events in Israel and the Middle East.” – Publishers Weekly

“Segev’s Elvis in Jerusalem is the clearest and most compelling manifesto of the broad post-Zionist school of thought to date.” – TLS

“Beneath the rush of cyclical violence, there is a rich, conflicted culture of Israel, and Tom Segev watches it like a hawk…He navigates the struggles between religion, politics and culture in elite society and daily life.” – New York Times Book Review

“In his enlightening essay, the author traces the development of the Jewish state from its ideological beginnings to the present.” – Financial Times Germany

“Segev succeeds in making the reader understand that conflicts, however violent they may be, do not  destroy societies but create them.” – Die Welt

“Tom Segev is a precise observer and astute analyst in addition to being a stylist with the gift of vivid narration.” – Tages-Anzeiger

“Tom Segev’s Elvis in Jerusalem provides a provocative portrait of contemporary Israeli society.” – Frankfurter Allgemeine

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