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

Why They Don't Like Tzipi Livni

It might just have to do with her pronoun.

“Why do you hate us?” a West Bank settler leader shouted at Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition in Israel's parliament. The outburst came during a meeting between settler leaders and the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The committee, chaired by a member of the ruling Likud Party, convened at the settlement of Ofrah, following a terror attack there last week in which seven people, including a pregnant woman, were wounded. (Her child, prematurely delivered after the shooting, died.) Before the outburst, Livni had objected to the settler representatives' demand to expand settlements, supposedly as a way to provide greater security. “I don't hate [you], but I'm angry,” Livni answered. Her voice did not sound angry. She sounded definite, calm, and completely unperturbed as she told people what they don't like to hear. In the same meeting she told them, We're all here together, hurting. The pain of terror attacks tears all of us up. .....

The Allegation: Netanyahu Wanted the Best Image Power Could Buy

By allegedly subverting the free press, he showed why it is so essential.

After Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel from the United States as a young man, he worked for a time as a marketing executive for a furniture company. Around the time he came back to Israel, he also changed his name back to Netanyahu. In the States, he'd rebranded himself as Benjamin Nitay. It was easier for Americans to pronounce. Marketing and branding were the specialties that Netanyahu brought to his next career, in politics. He treated image-massaging not as a tool, but as a political philosophy. This week he came a step closer to a possible prison term for that philosophy. Early on, Netanyahu developed a doctrine that Israel's poor standing internationally wasn't caused by its policies. Rather, the problem was a strategic failure to sell itself well to foreign audiences. Most of all, though, Netanyahu marketed Benjamin Netanyahu. He worked hard on his speaking style, especially in front of television cameras. He learned to insert jokes, to toss in a line about American sports...

Airbnb Quit the Settlement Business. If Only Israel Would.

The Netanyahu government response to the company pulling out of the West Bank is insane, incompetent, or both. 

An old friend from America who's a tour operator came to Jerusalem and I went to meet him. His tour group was staying in a hotel in the center of town that I'd never noticed because, in the past, it was probably a down-on-its-luck apartment building or home to small offices of lawyers, accountants, and companies of indistinct purposes. Converting it to a hotel made sense, my friend said, because even in the November off-season, every hotel room in Jerusalem is full. Tourism is roaring. So are short-term rentals of apartments and of rooms in them. A 2017 survey of tourists in Tel Aviv found that half were staying in Airbnb or similar accommodations. Young friends tell me of Jerusalem university students making the rent by going home to mom and dad on weekends and renting their apartments to tourists. Then again, the rent is likely higher because some landlords are moving their properties from yearly leases to nightly rentals. Now Airbnb is in the middle of a political ruckus in Israel...

Netanyahu's Saudi Fantasy

Like Likud leaders before him, the Israeli prime minister thinks he can redesign the Middle East.

Perhaps because he was at a conference in Bulgaria, just a few hundred miles up the Black Sea coast from Istanbul, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got around to publicly commenting last Friday on the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamil Khashoggi a month earlier in the Turkish capital. “What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous, and it should be duly dealt with,” Netanyahu said. The first part of that sounds fine. The second part sounds like he was talking about someone being pulled over for DUI, rather than about a brutal murder carried out by agents of the government of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Both parts belonged to the lip-service clause, after which Netanyahu got to his point. “Yet ... it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable.” Read that in light of the report the day before in The Washington Post that Netanyahu (...

Apropos Those Bombs: Netanyahu Says He Had Nothing to Do with Rabin's Assassination

The more a leader stokes the hate, the less he can claim that he couldn't have imagined the results.

“If the campaign of incitement and vilification against anyone who disagrees with your views does not stop, blood will be spilled here. ... There is a deep division and you, elected leaders, have the power to end it.” Those words were spoken in Hebrew at the beginning of this week. They were not intended as a comment on the bombs that had not yet been discovered in the mail in America. Unintentionally, though, they provide commentary on the responsibility for violence by the supposed lone extremist. The words come from Noa Rothman, granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin. She was speaking at the state memorial ceremony for the prime minister who was assassinated 23 years ago. The “you” to whom she referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present to hear her, and more widely to his political camp. Netanyahu and his loyalists were terribly offended. Quite a few reporters, more practiced at “balance” than at the pursuit of truth, colored their...