"The first childhood memory I have of my father is linked to the destruction of empires--the collapse of a world order that had once seemed eternal."
So begins Avraham Burg's authoritative and deeply personal inquiry into the ambitions and failures of Israel and Judaism worldwide.
Born in 1955, Burg witnessed firsthand many of the most dramatic and critical moments in Israeli history. Here, he chronicles the highs and lows of his country over the last five decades, threading his own journey into the story of his people. He explores the misplaced hopes of religious Zionism through the lens of his conservative upbringing, explains Israel's obsession with military might while relating his own experiences as a paratrooper officer, and probes the country's democratic aspirations, informed by his tenure in the Knesset.
With bravery and candor, Burg lays bare the seismic intellectual shifts that drove the country's political and religious journeys, offering a prophecy of fury and consolation and a vision for a new comprehensive paradigm for Judaism, Israel, and the Middle East.
About the Author
Avraham Burg was born in Jerusalem in 1955 to one of the most prominent families in Israel. His father, Dr. Josef Burg, was a Holocaust survivor who escaped from Germany to Palestine in September 1939 and went on to lead the National Religious Party and serve as a minister in the Israeli government from 1948 to 1988. His mother Rivka was a seventh-generation resident of Hebron and the daughter of the local community rabbi. Avraham Burg first took on a public role during the first Lebanon war in 1982, when he was a leader of the antiwar protests.
He went on to serve as adviser to Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a member of the Israeli Knesset, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization, and the speaker of the Knesset, among other public positions. Since his voluntary retirement from public life in 2004, Burg has become an outspoken leader of the Israeli left wing. He is the author of numerous books, including (in English) The Holocaust Is Over and Very Near to You. He lives in Nataf, just outside Jerusalem.
"In this book Avrum Burg addresses issues that affect
us all beyond the confines of simple national, religious, and individual
concern. He invites us to take part in the most important flight of all-the
flight towards a better future. His views are compelling and I am hopeful such
a future is possible if we all make an effort, sincerely and with wisdom. I
appreciate the author's hard work for putting his concerns into words."—His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
"In this thoughtful, poignant, and unflinchingly
honest memoir, Avraham Burg inspires us to think anew about Israel's place in
the world and in our hearts. A man who manages to balance clear-eyed pragmatism
with a profound commitment to human rights and civil liberties, Burg is an
inspiration for all who care about justice and peace."—Ayelet Waldman, author of Kingdom of Olives and Ash and Love& Treasure
"A leftist Israeli activist delivers a singular sermon
explaining what needs urgent repair in the Jewish democracy... A heartfelt
synthesis of a coming-of-age story, a political jeremiad, a memoir, and a
"The former speaker of Israel's Knesset gives his own
take on his country's history and the quagmire it now finds itself in as
Zionism and Jewish identity evolve to meet the new realities of the 21st
century."—New York Times Book Review