Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

Jammed Reception

Everyone looked at Hedy Lamarr; no one saw a tech genius. After all, she was beautiful. A new film tells her story.

AP Photo
AP Photo Actress Hedy Lamarr, along with composer George Antheil, designed and patented in 1942 a communications system that has become the underlying technology of the cellular phone. Here she is in 1941. H ad she been a man, she might have been remembered as a folk-hero inventor, the genius without formal schooling who transformed an era, a mid-20th century Thomas Edison. Instead, she spent her life in a very public form of solitary confinement: prisoner of the role of Hollywood goddess, sentenced for her beauty. The woman was Hedy Lamarr. A new documentary about her, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, is making the world round of film festivals. Wanting a release both from ever-fiercer summer heat and from politics, I went to the Jerusalem screening. The air conditioner coped with climate change. The escape from politics was less successful—unless you leave gender, immigration, and identity out of politics. Here's the side of her life that was publicly visible. She grew up as Hedwig...

The First Qualification Is Inexperience

Israel's Labor Party gambles on an insurgent. It's all the rage.

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov Avi Gabbay speaks to supporters following his victory in Tel Aviv. T he upheaval finally reached Israel Monday, at least the small dusty corner of Israel known as the Labor Party. From there it might spread. Until now, Israelis have had to watch foreign news reports for the politics of insurgency, of “we're mad as hell,” of “give us anything but the people we know”: socialist Bernie Sanders nearly taking over the Democratic Party, serially bankrupt businessman Donald Trump taking over the Republican Party and then the United States, centrist technocrat Emmanuel Macron blowing away every established party and getting elected president of France. Even if the world's fashions can be a bit slow to get to Israel, they do finally arrive. Monday the Labor Party elected as its new leader an outsider named Avi Gabbay. Gabbay has only been a member of Labor for six months. If a membership card was mailed to him, it may not have arrived yet, given the state of the Israeli...

The Mysterious Case of the Ex-Prime Minister's Memoir

A police raid on a publisher may be another sign of shrinking freedom of expression in Israel.

Debbie Hill/Pool File Photo via AP
Debbie Hill/Pool File Photo via AP Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert leaves the Israeli Supreme Court in 2015. I t's a textbook mystery. I'd enjoy watching it as a film. I enjoy watching it less as fact, not fiction, when it takes place in the country where I live, especially when the victim may be freedom of the press. Last Thursday, cops raided the office of the Yediot Ahronot publishing house in Rishon Letzion, near Tel Aviv. They had a warrant to seize all documents and disks “connected to the autobiographical book of prisoner Ehud Olmert.” According to the publishing company, they took a lot more. They copied thousands of the CEO's emails. Either at the office or at the home of the editor working on Olmert's memoir, they also reportedly left with material from a book by former defense minister Moshe Yaalon, and one by journalist Ben Caspit about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The publisher is part of the media empire of the daily Yediot Ahronot , one of Israel's two...

A Dance in Riyadh, a Blackout in Gaza

Trump's unreserved support for his Saudi sycophants could make life even more miserable in the Hamas-ruled enclave on the sea.

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File
AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File Palestinians walk on a dark street next to a grocery shop lit with battery-powered lamps during a power cut in Gaza City. V iewed from close up, it makes little sense for Israel to cut the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip—which is just what the Israeli government decided to do at the start of this week. The cut will make the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Strip even worse. In the worst case, it might also lead to yet another war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Viewed from a slightly wider perspective, the move does fit into a regional pattern—a pattern that includes the crisis over Qatar, and Donald Trump happily bopping along with a sword dance in Riyadh last month. Gaza is an anomaly. It's a rebel province of the Palestinian Authority, which itself is an autonomous entity subject to Israel. Israel removed its army and its settlements in 2005, but still tightly controls access to Gaza—partly to try to limit Hamas's ability to make war, partly...

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