Jews from all over the world are celebrating Hanukkah this week. Hanukkah commemorates the political and religious emancipation of the Jews from the Seleucid Greeks in Judea and Samaria from 168 to 142 BCE. To get into the Hanukkah spirit, channel your inner Judah Maccabee with the following reading list celebrating Jewish revival in the land of Israel. Or, check out the Hanukkah viewing list.
The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 by Gershom Gorenberg. A well-documented deep dive into the revival of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria in the period immediately after the Six-Day War. As the book explains, the re-establishment of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria was counterintuitively the brainchild of the left-wing Labor Party.
The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City by Dore Gold. The history of Jerusalem, as told by the president of the Israeli conservative think tank the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century by Sir Martin Gilbert. A comprehensive modern history of the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
The Jewish State: The Historic Essay that Led to the Creation of the State of Israel by Theodor Herzl (with an introduction by Alan Dershowitz). This essay served as the blueprint for modern Zionism and the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty that would culminate in the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World by Seth M. Siegel. How Israel’s parched topography, which is 60 percent desert, spurred it to become a world leader in water technology, including in drip irrigation and wastewater reclamation.
Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel’s Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb by Rodger Claire. How Israel destroyed Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath. Ilan Ramon, one of the participants in the top-secret mission, would become Israel’s first astronaut in space and would die tragically in the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster in 2003.
Resurrecting Hebrew by Ilan Stevans. The true story about how Hebrew was brought back to life as a spoken language in the Land of Israel by the visionary Eliezer Ben Yehuda in the late 1800s.
The Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Sir Martin Gilbert. A very comprehensive atlas detailing the modern Jewish-Arab wars and Oslo Accords-based peace initiatives.
The Source by James Michener. In this gripping novel, fiction titan James Michener uses a modern-day excavation of an archeological site in Israel to illustrate the long history of the Jews in the Land of Israel.
Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. A thorough investigation on how a resource-deprived, constantly besieged Israel was able to become the economically dynamic powerhouse that it is today.